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GLENWOOD CITY — Danielle Unruh is a candidate in the April 2 election for the Glenwood City Board of Education.
Unruh, 34, and her husband, Rob, have a son, Lane (age 7); a daughter, Riley (age 5); and a son, Cam (age 5 months).
The Tribune Press Reporter sent out questionnaires to the candidates in the spring election.
Here are Unruh’s answers:
• What is your occupation? Development and Product Quality Manager at Third Wave Systems
• What is your educational background? Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota Major in Mechanical Engineering. Bachelor of Science from UW- Eau Claire Major in Physics and minor in math.
• What experience do you have as an elected official? None.
• Why did you decide to run for the Board of Education? I’m the type of person that enjoys being involved and helps out when I can. Since my oldest started 4K, I’ve been a member of the Glenwood City Parent Teacher Connection (PTC) chairing the Grant/Scholarship committee. I also assist with running the Summer Rec program for T-ball and Coach Pitch teams. I have found it rewarding to give my time to help students and the community, and I believe I can do this even more as a member of the School Board. I had the opportunity to work with the school board for one night on strategic planning. It was great to witness how well they all worked together. This experience furthered my desire to be on the board and confirmed the belief that I can help students as a member of the board.
• What makes you particularly suited to serve on the Board of Education? I am employed at Third Wave Systems, a software development company that makes NC optimization and FEA analysis software for machining. I have been with this company for 10 years and currently manage the Development and Product Quality teams. My teams are responsible for researching, developing, and testing. In my 10 years working for the company I have learned how to be a good leader, breakdown problems, work in cross functional teams, handle challenge, listen to opposing viewpoints, hold effective meetings, and make critical business decisions. I have experience strategizing, determining gaps, and making large process/policy improvements. I am a driven and dedicated person that is solution oriented. I believe all of these experiences and skills from my current job will make me a strong board member.
In addition to my work related skills, I have various other life experiences that will help me relate to students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Growing up, I attended school at Melrose-Mindoro, a similar sized public school in Wisconsin. From this experience I know the benefits and challenges that our student population faces. I want all students at Glenwood City to enjoy their school experience and walk away prepared for life. I wouldn’t be an engineer today without the influences and opportunities I had growing up at my school. After high school, I attended college and spent two semesters as a teacher’s assistant. In this position I taught calculus labs, graded homework, and held office hours. I feel like this experience gave me a small glimpse into some of the challenges teachers face. Over the last 4 years, I’ve had children in the Glenwood City Elementary. This has allowed me to interact with teachers, staff, and administration. I had the opportunity to interview art teachers as a parent representative. This gives me some hands on exposure to the school and school policy. Finally, in my current job as a manager I create procedure, hire employees, and set goals. I believe this allows me to relate to administrators. Having life experiences that help me relate to students, parents, teachers, and administration should allow me to understand different viewpoints and be a good board member.
• What do you believe to be the biggest challenges or issues facing the school district? There are three things that come to mind: 1) School Safety is a challenge for all schools in this day and age. We want to prevent events like school shootings and also prepare ourselves for these situations (similar to how we approach fires and tornados). 2) Open Enrollment allows students from other districts to elect to come to our school and also for students within our district to attend elsewhere. Currently we lose more students than we gain. We want to make Glenwood City the type of school that people want to attend. This means living by our motto “Every student, every day”. We have an opportunity to change this gap so we stop losing more students than we gain. 3) We need more children interested in STEM fields. We have a current shortage in technology fields (more jobs than applicants). This is predicted to grow more over the next decade. Getting more individuals into STEM will set them up for good future careers with a strong job market. As a female engineer, I personally have a passion to see more women in the STEM field. The same percentage of boys and girls are interested in science and math in kindergarten, but that statistic drops as girls get older. We want girls and kids to stay interested in technology fields. This starts with our schools.
• What do you hope to accomplish serving on the Board of Education? As a board member, I would love to help with any of the three opportunities/challenges that I mentioned; however, my primary goal is to make the school better for our students.
• Other comments? None.