The newest East Central school board member feels welcome and ready to go.
Angie Presley, 40, is excited to get to work with fellow board members. She applied for the position when a vacancy opened in 2020. She said the board notified her in September that she was chosen to fill the position. She was sworn in in November.
“I’m the first new member in a long time,” Presley said. “I’m kind of a novelty.”
Presley also works full time as a business analyst for Nemadji out of Bruno.
The school board is made up of seven members and one non-voting member, the superintendent, said Andrew Almos, East Central School District superintendent. He explained that the board consists of community residents who are interested in influencing the direction of the educational system. While residents are welcome to apply to become school board members, current school staff are not, due to a Minnesota law.
There is also a high school student board member representative, Almos said. Students in grades 10-12 are encouraged to participate.
Presley said she feels it’s important for at least one board member to also have children in the school. Presley and her husband, Tim, have three children in the East Central school district.
She said she was surprised at the large learning curve.
“There is a lot of information and a lot of work,” Presley said. “There are so many moving parts, and then add COVID-19.”
The school board has two primary responsibilities, said Almos. They set district policy and govern the school system. Board members attend one regular board meeting each month. They are also assigned to at least one committee. Most committees meet every other month and meetings last several hours.
“Committee work is meant to study issues on a deeper level and provide recommendations to the entire board for decision making,” Almos said. “Committee meetings are not decision making meetings. They are meant to inform a core group of members with in-depth knowledge on various topics.”
Presley appreciates the hard work the board members put in over the years.
“We have a very solid school board at East Central Schools,” Almos said. “They bring unique perspectives from our communities and work to build consensus in decision making.”
He added that the board’s goal is to provide the optimum educational experience for the students as well as spend taxpayers money wisely.
“The board has done a good job looking to the future,” Presley said. She said she agrees with the direction the school board members are going. She is interested to see if the school implements changes due to lessons learned during COVID-19.
“We were forced to think outside of the box,” Presley said. “I’ll be interested to find out what we have learned and what changes we can apply going forward. I think it can be a good thing.”