Dean Perry

Dean Perry
Buffalo, MN

How long you have lived in the district? 
Four years, with my wife's family living in the district for close to 50 years

Family: 
Married to my wife Molly (Zrust) for 20 years;  with three children: Ben who is a 7th grader at the middle school, Ellie who is a 3rd grader at Discovery, and Charlie who is 5 and attending pre-school.

Occupation: 
President of a Community Bank in Cokato, MN

Community or School District Involvement: 
Over the past fifteen years I have  been involved in several community volunteer positions, including serving as the Chairperson of the Park Commission and Economic Development Authority in the community we formerly lived in Chisago County.  Currently, my community involvement includes being an active member of the Buffalo Covenant Church, Buffalo Youth Sports coaching, the President of the Cokato-Dassel Rotary Club,  and President of the Cokato Economic Development Authority.

Qualities you will bring to the school board if elected:

The primary qualities that I will bring to the school board if elected include  common sense leadership abilities, extensive expertise in fiscal management, with a solid personal foundation based upon strong moral and family values.

During the past twelve years I have been the President of two community banks.  This professional background in the private sector, with fiscal oversight and annual budget preparation of organizations with over $100 million in assets, should prove to be beneficial as our local school administrators and staff wrestle with the challenges of the current fiscal uncertainty and various funding issues.  A thorough understanding of financial management is essential in the economic times in which we currently live.

Additionally,  having the opportunity to serve in various leadership roles in my career has impressed upon me the importance of strategic planning and establishing clear objectives as the primary keys for any successful organization.  A proactive, forward thinking approach with clearly defined strategic priorities and measurable goals are essential to long term, sustained success.  If elected, it will be a priority to ensure that the school board continues to emphasize a dynamic planning process to attain exceptional performance in educating our children.

What do you believe is the most important issue facing education today?

It is my opinion that most would respond by stating the most important issue facing our school district centers on funding issues at the federal and state level.  With over 600 employees, our school district is the second largest employer in the City of Buffalo, with a 2011 - 2012 operating budget of $66 million.  Being able to successfully educate 5,800 students, at ten different locations, is a tall order under normal circumstances, and requires an even higher level of expertise given the current funding uncertainties.

While the present fiscal uncertainty is a very important issue, and one that will require steady financial leadership until the economy recovers, from my perspective, the most important issue facing education today centers on the human element in two key areas. 

First, our school district must ensure that it is attracting and retaining the best and brightest  teachers and administrators to educate our children.  History has proven that economic downturns tend to be cyclical, but the one constant in the lives of our children is their teachers, principals, coaches, and school administrators.  The primary strategic objective of our local school board must address the retention and recruitment of outstanding educators.   

The second key human element centers on parental involvement in the education process.  Studies have shown that the most successful students and the highest performing school districts have strong support and encourage vital input from parents within the district. The communities of Buffalo, Hanover, and Montrose have a strong history of supporting outstanding education.   Continuing to place a high priority on providing a vehicle for parental input is a key to the continued support from the 32,000 people living within the BHM school district.

Through being committed to these two human components, we will be very successful in attaining the district's mission of "making a difference by preparing ALL students for a successful future in a changing world".