(West Fargo, ND) -- The newest member of the West Fargo School Board isn't quite ready for his time to end, and has a few ideas to help continue the upward trajectory of the district moving forward.
Former Deputy Communications Director for Governor Doug Burgum and current policy and outreach employee for the Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota chapter of The Nature Conservancy Mark Staples says one of the key pillars of his re-election campaign is emphasizing student representation.
"We have a really unique opportunity to elevate student voice and make sure that people are listening to the students, and they're having a seat at the table," said Staples. "It's an opportunity with the district administration and the school board to actually having our finger on the pulse of the area, and helps us know what our students care about and know how they are experiencing our district." Staples added that prioritizing continuously building on the 'student experience' is key for the future of the district.
The West Fargo native is also looking to tackle what some call communication issues with the board and parents in the district, something he says can be done by looking for a 'single representative' in charge of connecting with them.
"We know a lot of the large districts around the country have dedicated community liaison to work full-time and part-time," said Staples. "People that work on behalf of the district can speak to parents if they aren't feeling connected. A community liaison can bring those people together where a board member like me, who has kids, work and other things can only play a limited role in that. A seven number board can't reach every single person in the community."
Staples also says he realizes despite the positives, teacher morale and retention are crucial for West Fargo Schools to continue to be the envy of the state. That includes proper compensation, but doesn't end there.
"Wages are important, but it also goes beyond that in what other factors are affecting teacher well-being," said the current West Fargo School Board member. "Some of that is making sure that we have continued investment in our facilities across the district. Whether it's Harwood elementary looking just as good as Horace elementary, looking just as good as Deer Creek and so on. We have to make sure that our facilities are just as nice for teachers to work." Staples adds other issues the board can tackle to improve teacher experience include lightening workloads and keeping consistent systems in place.
To find out more about Mark's campaign, or all your June 2022 election information by clicking here.