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Campbell County School Board of Trustees Candidate Questionnaire: Meldene Goehring

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Election season is well underway and County 17 has sent a list of questions to each candidate who has filed to run for office in contested races.

These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. All candidate responses submitted to County 17 are republished as they are received. County 17 solely made minor edits to the responses, for clarity. Minor edits may include correcting punctuation, capitalization or spelling.

Below, get to know Meldene Goehring, who is running for a spot on the Campbell County School District Board of Trustees:

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  1. Please introduce yourself and describe your educational and employment history. Please include your name and hometown along with highlights of your past involvement in the Campbell County community.

My name is Meldene Goehring, and I am running for the office of Campbell County School District Board of Trustees.

I have a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, and I retired from Campbell County School District with 24 years of service in the following areas:

  • Six years in Human Resources-I have knowledge of recruiting staff; teacher certification; and employment laws.
  • Eleven years in Finance-I am experienced in education funding, oversight of budgets, and monitoring of capital construction budgets. I was also an active member of the Crisis Management Team during this time.
  • Seven years in the Superintendent’s office working with the administration and the Board of Trustees-I acquired a broad knowledge of education law and the statutes governing the duties and powers of the board, including open meeting laws. I prepared for, attended and recorded minutes of multiple types of school board meetings. I responded to a wide variety of community, parent, student and staff concerns and inquiries.

On a more personal note, my family moved to Gillette when I was six years old, so I grew up here and attended school in Campbell County. I have been married to my husband, Bruce, for 43 years. We have three children who attended school in Campbell County, and we currently have grandchildren attending school in Campbell County.

2. What prompted your decision to run for school board? What do you have to offer the community as a board member? What do you believe your role is as a board member?

The chief reason I am running for the school board is that I believe our children deserve the most excellent education we can give them. Student education and well-being are my main focus. My 24 years of service with Campbell County School District has provided me with experience and knowledge in the business operations of the school district. I am very familiar with the challenges of funding, budgeting, staffing and the duties and powers of the board as detailed in Wyoming State Statutes 21-3-110 and 21-3-111. This experience will be beneficial as a board member helping CCSD navigate challenges and continue to advance education for our students.

As a school board member, I will make myself available and listen with an open mind to all points of view from staff, students, administration, community and other board members. I believe collaboration, compromise and due diligence research are vital to making the best decisions.

3. How do you propose Campbell County School District attract and retain quality educators and other staff, given employee shortages? How can board members help provide an environment in which employees can thrive?

To recruit and retain the very best teachers and support staff, Campbell County School District needs to position themselves as the place where everyone wants to work. Addressing salary schedules will help the District recruit staff by being competitive in the labor market. Retaining quality staff is vital to maintaining a stable learning environment for students. The District needs to foster an environment of open discussion, trust and appreciation between all staff, administration and the board. Developing strong supportive relationships will go a long way in making staff proud to be part of Campbell County School District for the long term.

4. What does a successful school district look like?

A successful school district is one where all students and staff feel safe, supported and accepted. The school district should be welcoming to students, parents and the community. They also need to communicate with staff, students, parents and the community to build trust and deflect rumors and untruths. A successful school district prepares students to be positive contributors to society. All students should show advancement in their learning, whether by providing interventions or more challenging curriculum.

5. What does the school district administration do well?

Campbell County School District administrators take on challenges daily and make decisions when there is no simple or perfect answer. Rarely can they make everyone happy, but they face issues head-on and work within the law and District policy to do what is best for students and staff.

6. How has education impacted your life?

Education enabled me to have a career that I loved and contributed to a comfortable living for my family, as well as being able to help those in less fortunate situations. It has given me confidence and the ability to stand up for myself and what I believe. I have been able to be a role model for my three children who now hold master’s and doctorate degrees.

7. What advice would you offer parents of school-aged children to empower students in their learning?

My best advice to parents who want to empower students in their learning is to set a good example by letting them see you reading and learning. Help them find the resources to learn about things interesting to them. Let them know that learning is a valuable lifelong pursuit that can be fun and exciting.

8. What lessons did our school district community learn from the COVID-19 pandemic? How will you help the school district’s efforts to recover the academic losses associated with the pandemic?

Campbell County School District learned they were capable of more than they ever thought possible. They were put in a position to educate students in a remote environment with no “best practices” to follow. They learned to be flexible in an environment where the rules changed quickly. One of the biggest things they learned is how much can be accomplished when everyone works together in the best interest of the students. Every single department was involved in providing education to students under challenging conditions.

We were all reminded how important our schools and in-person learning are. Remote learning caused stress on families and businesses because of the lack of childcare, quarantines, parents trying to be teachers, etc., which led to multiple issues including financial and mental health. For many students, school is their safe place, and they struggled without the support of their school family.

Having students physically present in the classroom is the best learning environment. Remote learning caused some students to experience academic loss. The District will need to continue to provide interventions for those students.

9. Should the school board promote more community involvement? If so, how? If not, why not?

The school board should always be willing to hear community concerns and inquiries. It is beneficial to include members of the community on District committees because of their professional or personal knowledge of the committee focus.

10. Is there anything else voters should know about you and your perspective?

With budget limitations, it is important that spending be prioritized to obtain the most benefit to students. I support 1) Providing a safe environment for students and staff, including protection from external threats and bullying, and by maintaining procedures for mental health services and suicide prevention; 2) Recruiting and retaining excellent staff; 3) Equipping students and staff with the tools they need to be successful and 4) Encouraging innovation with technology and best teaching approaches.

Campbell County School District is an amazing resource for our community and will continue to advance and provide an excellent education for our students. Thank you for allowing me to share information about myself. I would very much appreciate your vote.

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