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Wilber-Clatonia School Board, Dist 82

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  • Candidate picture

    Chris Cerveny
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Bradley T Kalkwarf
    (NP)

  • Russell D Schuerman
    (NP)

  • Cory Skleba
    (NP)

Biographical Information

How can your school district improve its use of technology, including broadband access, to foster better equity and educational outcomes?

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in your school?

As a school board member, how do you best advocate for your district's teachers and students in preparing students for the 21st century job market?

Occupation Power Plant manager for Nebraska utility
Education Wilber-Clatonia High School Southeast Community College Associates degree Peru State College Bachelors degree
Current Public Office, dates held Wilber-Clatonia Board of education Jan 2000-current
Past Public Office, dates held None
Military experience None
Volunteer experience Wilber Volunteer Fire Department Wilber Methodist Church, council
Address 1639 County Rd 2200 Wilber Ne, 68465
Marital Status Married
Age 54
A challenge for rural schools is that many remote locations do no have access to quality internet service if any at all. So while we can provide technology for students to take home where appropriate, that does not guarantee that they will have the access to use it. We will continue to look for opportunities on the local level such as providing hot-spots, extended wireless outside of the building, and promote the use of local resources (library etc.) while also working with our state senators in promoting the need for quality internet service to rural Nebraska. I also support the continued use of technology in the classroom in particular with the high school teachers using similar or the same platforms as are used at the college level. This has helped students with a smoother transition from high school to advanced education or the work environment, and was also a step up when students were moved to on-line learning the last school year.
Over the last few years we have worked to improve security of the buildings though the use of technology, secured and centralized entrances, as well as classroom safety procedures and drills. During non-pandemic situations we promote the interaction of parents in the school and classroom, but that also has to be balanced with safety and student achievement in mind. Student safety is a focus not only in the school but also in the home environment. We will continue to engage in student learning such that they are aware of their surroundings, and have a good understanding of what is appropriate and acceptable in society. We are fortunate that our law enforcement is located very near our facility, and go out of their way to be visible and active in our building and at activities. I would support a full time officer on site if needed, but at this time I believe our students, staff, and community are in alignment with the expectations of a safe and quality learning environment.
As for teachers I support the continued use of peer learning, as well as external courses and personal development. By having a mix of new as well as seasoned staff, and providing them scheduled times to exchange ideas and attend workshops, allows them to continue with their development in order to bring new techniques and ideas into the classroom. For students I am an advocate of continued expansion into the trades and non four-year degree curriculum. I myself worked up through the trades and understand the need for students whom are qualified to move into the agricultural, and blue collar/trade areas. The district is fortunate to have had the opportunity to expand its course offering in the agricultural area through the generous gift of a local patron, and I am hopeful that additional opportunities can be developed either though the use of technology or partnerships with other local manufacturing and commercial businesses.
Occupation Kalkwarf & Smith Law Office, LLC, Wilber, NE
Education Oxford High School, Oxford NE, B.S. Business Administration - University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Juris Doctorate - University of Nebraska College of Law
Current Public Office, dates held N/A
Past Public Office, dates held N/A
Military experience N/A
Volunteer experience Wilber Area Chamber of Commerce, Teammates, St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, Friends of Music, Wilber-Clatonia Booster Club, Nebraska State Bar Association, Crete Area Healthcare Foundation, Wilber Community Foundation, Wilber Clatonia Post Prom
Address 223 N. Harris St. Wilber, NE 68465
Marital Status Married, 3 children
Age 53
Many schools have had to deal with this issue and I feel that some deficiencies were exposed when schools had to go to distance learning. Wilber-Clatonia has been proactive in looking for solutions and has implemented a one to one chrome book availability for students in grades 3-12 at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. That helps to solve one piece of the problem. Internet access is the more difficult piece. Resources are available to assist in funding of hot-spots for students who do not have broadband access and they should be utilized. Although this seems to mostly be a socioeconomic issue, they are not the only ones being affected. Rural access to internet continues to be a problem across the country and I know many of our federal elected officials continue to address it. School board members should continue to advocate also so that every student, no matter who they are or where they live, are given the same educational opportunities as their classmates.
I believe there are two main safety issues that face our students and staff today. The first is the health risk posed to them from COVID-19. Wilber-Clatonia has done an excellent job of taking a proactive approach by involving administration, staff, students and community members to develop a four phase plan based upon risk levels. All of this was done for the specific purpose of ensuring the safety of students and staff. I would applaud the administration for the well rounded approach. The second is the safety issues to students and staff due to the behavioral and mental health needs of some students. Priority should be placed on making sure that the mental health needs of the students are being addressed and that the appropriate training is being provided to staff to recognize and deal with these needs to better protect all.
After having my first child graduate from Wilber-Clatonia Schools this year, I feel that I could provide some insight into what is working well and where there may be some room for improvement. As with anything in the world today, technology and interpersonal skills are two of the most important criteria that need to be addressed as part of our students’ educational process. As part of the curriculum development, we should not only look at how our students perform on testing, but how they interact with peers, teachers, staff, administration and the community and also how they are able to navigate technology needs should be just as important. Pulling from every student’s strengths no matter what they may be and developing leadership opportunities based upon those strengths will help to ensure our student’s success and not just that of those who are successful academically.
Occupation Owner/operator Schuerman Welding Inc.
Education Graduate of W-C High School Associates Degree SCC, Welding Tech
Current Public Office, dates held 1.5 Terms, W-C District 82 Board of Education to present
Past Public Office, dates held 1 Term, W-C District 82 Board of Education, early to mid 90's. 19 years, Clatonia Township retiring in 2010.
Military experience None
Volunteer experience Long-time member Gage County Board of Variance. Long-time member Gage County Township Association, Retired. Clatonia Rural Fire Board. Clatonia Rescue Squad, Retired. Clatonia Volunteer Fire Dept. Retired Clatonia Cardinal Club member.
Address 7441 SW 114th Rd Clatonia, NE 68328
Marital Status Married to Betty (Germer) Schuerman 45 Years
Age 66
Our district is quite spread out east to west with substantial areas not having adequate broadband access. That said, I believe that our district needs to advocate to our legislative representatives or anyone else in a position to push for increased coverage, to make it their priority. Covid 19 has served to heighten our awareness to the importance of adequate broadband access throughout the entire district, because distance learning options must be available to all of our students.
In our Covid 19 Pandemic era, student and teacher safety has taken on another facet, that being medical health safety. I have complete confidence that our administration is doing everything possible to keep students, teachers and patrons as safe as possible. We must remember that we are dealing with very precious cargo here, and that the guidelines and rules keep changing for our administrative team, sometimes daily. That said, we need to remind ourselves to keep our expectations high, but add a heavy dose of patience because as yet, no playbook has been written for this pandemic era.

With regards to student and teacher safety, our administrative team does an excellent job of implementing new, and reviewing existing policies and procedures meant to be proactive rather than reactive. The district also maintains a close relationship with the Saline County Sherriff's Department.
First of all, I recognize that the cost to educate our students is significant and am quite aware where the majority of the money to pay for this education must come from. i.e. property taxes. Therefore, I feel that my main job as a board member is to put students first, and teachers, administration and support staff right behind them while being as fiscally responsible as possible. My best tools to do that are to keep abreast of 21st century job market needs and district needs by keeping myself as informed as possible. Techniques to keep myself informed include being openminded and approachable, using my listening skills, reading relevant periodicals, attending seminars and again, putting the kids first. I know that I have stated the "kids first" mindset a couple of times, and I will always stand by that, but fully supporting our top notch administrators, teachers and support staff in whatever capacity I can as a board member is my preferred method to advocate for our district.
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