Q&A with Sioux City School Board Candidate Shaun Broyhill | Education

Caitlin yamada

SIOUX CITY – Shaun Broyhill is making his fourth candidacy for the Sioux City School Board.

Broyhill won a seat on the board in his first try in 2013, but, before his first meeting, he resigned from the board, citing a 120-day prison sentence for breach of probation on a charge crime committed in 2002 in northeastern Nebraska.

He then lost in the 2017 and 2019 elections for the non-partisan school board. He also failed as a Republican candidate for an Iowa House seat in 2016.

Broyhill, 42, is a senior software engineer at Wells Enterprises in Le Mars. He holds various degrees, including a doctorate in educational psychology from Regent University. A native of Sioux City, he has a child in the district and a graduate.

The Journal posed a series of questions to the nine candidates vying for three vacant school board seats. Below are Broyhill’s answers to the questions selected for the print edition of the Journal. To see additional questions and answers for all applicants, visit siouxcityjournal.com

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Why are you a candidate for the school board?

I am from sixth generation Siouxland and am proud of our community. I love the region, our citizens, and I want to do everything to make us successful. It starts with our children – I have worked tirelessly to help our community succeed beyond the classroom through several educational programs that I fund and support.

However, when I see our students grappling with the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic as our board and administration focus on other programs, it leads me to believe that as a district, we fail our students. I want to bring a renewed focus and vision to the board to stop focusing on graduation rates, but instead focus on building the skills students need in the real world, which requires a master’s degree. reading, writing and arithmetic.

What are the strengths of the neighborhood? What are some of the weaknesses?

I believe one of our greatest strengths in the District is that we have great teachers and support staff who genuinely care about their students and their success. Yet it also ties into one of the biggest weaknesses we have as a district – we lead these precious people by having a grossly overblown bureaucracy with too much administration. Too much emphasis is placed on policies and procedures in place to promote personal initiatives or programs, or by administrators attempting to dictate how our teachers teach in the classroom. We need to start cutting back on fat and rebuilding the confidence of teachers and staff and letting them do what they do best. As the front line for our students, only they know the best approach on a child-by-child basis, and we need to empower our valued staff.

What are the main points you hope to cover?

There is one main point that I hope to address as a board member: we need to stop focusing on graduation rates and return to focusing on helping our students to succeed beyond graduation. For too long, we have evaluated the performance of our administration on the number of diplomas issued.

Recently, our district ranked 288th out of 330 districts in Iowa with almost 50% non-proficiency levels in reading, writing, and arithmetic. We need to reverse this trend and start holding our superintendent and administration accountable for these results. We have to put their feet on the fire when they don’t succeed. We need to work with the administration as a council and bring the main goal of educating our children back to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. If we are not successful at this then as a board we are failing our entire community.

What specific skills or experiences qualify you to serve as a member of the school board?

I have three different skill sets that qualify me to be a member of a school board.

1. I have received graduate studies in educational technology and psychology, both at masters and doctoral level. At lectures, I have presented original research on effective ways to implement technology to students to increase performance in reading comprehension and math.

2. I have served on several boards of directors, notably as co-chair of the board. This experience as a board member of large organizations, including one that spanned 39 counties in Iowa, will help me be an effective board member.

3. I have worked professionally in highly technical and managerial positions, managing budgets over $ 10 million. This will help me be an effective board member by establishing board leadership and helping to create an effective budget with the board each year.

What do you think are the roles and responsibilities of the board?

The role and responsibility of the board is to set the vision and goals for the district, and then to set the standard for the achievement of those goals and that vision to the superintendent and district administration. The board is the voice of the community, and it should relay that voice when setting vision, goals and setting standards.

As a board, we also need to ensure that we hold both the superintendent and the administration (through the superintendent) accountable in evaluating and overseeing these standards. When the board sees variations from these goals and standards, it is their responsibility to provide additional clarification, guidance and direction to ensure that the superintendent and administration realign themselves to the vision and goals.

Finally, the board is responsible for establishing a financial budget for the school district and being good stewards of the community’s tax dollars.

What do you think of the current board of directors and the way conflicts are handled?

As a parent and a member of the community, I have been concerned with the way conflicts have been handled in recent meetings. We have had several meetings regarding hot topics that can be trigger points for many members of the community. I don’t think it’s the role of a board member to scold or insult a speaker or community member at these meetings, and unfortunately this has been the case for several board members. directors at these meetings.

I believe that everyone in our community has the right to speak to council, and if that language does not threaten violence, their voice must be heard. Board members should not pick on speakers just because they have a different point of view. And board members need to understand that people are passionate about what they talk about and convey their emotions, and not respond to these speakers with adversity.

How can schools meet the learning needs of diverse students?

Teachers have a huge challenge with the wide range of languages ​​spoken by students and members of the community today. We cannot expect teachers to learn to communicate in up to 40 different languages, and we cannot prevent our students from having to create a program for 40 different languages.

When working with students who speak languages ​​other than English, we need to make sure that we have staff available to help these students be able to conduct their studies in English. This can be done through various methods such as tutoring or group study program with the ultimate goal of getting students to become proficient in English. This needs to be done so that our teachers can stay focused on teaching what is needed, while ensuring that no student in the class falls behind in the material due to the need for teachers to create. multilingual support for courses.

How do you plan to communicate with teachers / parents / community members / students?

I think as a board we need to find better ways to communicate with the community and as a unified group. Not everyone communicates in the same way – for example, some people prefer communication by email, while others by mail. Regardless of the method, I think we need to go above and beyond and make sure that constant communication is established with the community on agendas, meetings, decisions and more when it comes to the board. administration. Not all parents have the time to research and research various board meetings and decisions, so I would like to push for communication to be communicated to the community at large through various channels whenever the board has business to ensure as much transparency as possible.

What do you think are the current challenges facing public education in our State? In our country?

I think one of the big challenges both nationally and state level is that we are trying to centralize and standardize education with systems like the common core and forget that no two children are the same. Different states and localities may have different educational needs, and by trying to standardize our education, those needs disappear.

COVID-19 has also posed a significant challenge to our education system, and this has forced us to adapt to ensure that our children are not left behind afterwards. This again comes down to assessing needs as a district – we need to make sure that our primary focus of educating our children remains our top priority and that we don’t succumb to ideologies or agendas that cause us to lose sight of us. this priority.

What roles, if any, should districts take on in addressing societal issues such as poverty, hunger, mental health issues or drug addiction?

The primary focus of school districts must remain on the education of its students. While in the classroom, the school should ensure that it provides a safe space for a child to reach their academic potential. Many issues are hot topics in today’s political world, but it is important that as a district the administration, teachers and all school staff remain non-partisan and instead encourage thought. critical to allow students to formulate their own opinions and ideas. on social issues.

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