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EM school board candidate: Mark Cedarblade

ELK MOUND — Four candidates have filed nomination papers for three positions on the Elk Mound Board of Education in the April 1 election: Tim Sivertson (incumbent); Mark Cedarblade; Kelly Holzer; Patrick Rhude.

Mark Cedarblade was the first of the candidates to return a questionnaire sent out by the Colfax Messenger.

Bill Moore and Jim Holte, who have both served on the Elk Mound Board of Education for 15 years, decided not to run for re-election.

The 49-year-old Cedarblade is a resident of 355th Avenue in the Elk Mound area, has lived in Elk Mound for 16 years, and is employed as a merchandiser for Mason Companies, Inc.

His family includes his wife, Shelly, and two daughters, Hannah and Sophie.

Here are Cedarblade’s answers to the questionnaire:

1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Elk Mound Board of Education? As a resident of the Elk Mound School District and as a parent of two students that attend school within the system, I am keenly aware of the highest level of education they are receiving. I would like to see this level of education continue as we try to prepare our children and students for the competitive nature of the future. It is my hope that by becoming an active member of the school board, I can bring new ideas, potential solutions to challenges and life experiences that can add to the discussion and broaden potential for all students.

2. What aspects of your background make you particularly suited for serving on the school board? I was raised on a 280-acre farm in Pepin with five siblings. At a very young age, we learned the value of hard work by taking care of beef cattle, hogs, and crops. In addition, I worked at a neighbor’s farm and assisted with milking cows and chores. After graduating from Pepin High School, I attended Chippewa Valley Technical College and graduated with a degree in Marketing.

Upon my graduation from CVTC, I worked at Menards for 25 years, gaining experience as a merchandiser, buyer and project manager. Currently, I work at Mason Companies, Inc. as a Merchandiser. In this position, I have been a key member of the team that implemented a new successful business venture. I have worked directly with over 100 suppliers to help capture sales levels far above projections. I know the value of working together as a team to accomplish goals — something that is critically important to a successful school board.

On the personal side, I have been married to my wife, Shelly, for 20 years and we have two daughters, ages 14 and 12. I have been involved with both of my daughters through their school activities and have served as a youth basketball and softball coach. We enjoy attending Peace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire and I am part of the hospitality team that serves communion and assists with worship.

3. What issues do you see as being the most important for the Elk Mound school district and why? School districts today face many challenges and areas of concern. One of the most important factors is the financial aiding of our district. Currently, we receive a significant amount of our funding from the state. However, if the enrollment decreases, we will receive less money from the state. We should be proactive with finding additional funding or addressing shortfalls now, rather than reacting to a negative situation as it occurs.

I would like to see our district continue to grow. Our school board and its members need to be an advocate for our schools, support and encourage teachers, and ensure our reputation for excellent education is held intact.

4. What issues do you hope to bring to the Elk Mound Board of Education or what issues would like to see addressed by the school board? The Elk Mound School District is a wonderful place for children to grown, learn, and prosper. As a member of the school board, I would like to ensure that our educational system continues to prepare students for college, the workforce and their future lives.

5. Other comments? I am excited about the possibilities of becoming an integral part of the school board. My personal experiences, employment history, and work ethic make me an excellent candidate for the position. With a conservative, practical and ethical approach, my goal is to invite conversation, proactive ideas, and sound judgment to school board discussions and decisions. Because my own children attend the district, I have a deeply vested interest in seeing the district succeed and prosper well into the future. Because of my deep willingness to learn, my analytical nature, and relationship-building approach, I hope to bring an environment of cohesiveness, community and common sense to the school board.