2022 School Board Candidates | Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Schools
Vote 2022
September 15, 2022

2022 School Board Candidates

Get to know the candidates before the November 8 Election

November 8, 2022 Election

The 2022 General Election takes place on November 8 with many important representatives being decided by voters. There are three open seats on the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School Board with seven candidates including one incumbent member running for re-election. The top three candidates will serve a four-year term guiding the direction of our school district beginning in January 2023. Early voting begins September 23 and Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.

In order to allow all voters to make educated decisions at the polls, the district has provided the following candidate feature. Each candidate was asked to answer several questions in their own words. Answers have been edited for formatting and clarity.

(* Denotes Incumbent)

Get to know the 2022 School Board Candidates

Barrett Chrissis

City of Residence: Buffalo

How long you have lived in the district: 20 years

Family:  Our oldest attended K-12 in the district and our youngest is in 7th grade.

Occupation: Police Detective and Substitute Teacher 

 

Why do you want to serve on the BHM School Board?

Service to others has been my life and I love our school district. I was lucky to have been adopted from a Duluth orphanage by a combat-wounded WWII veteran who taught me a lot about public service. On my days off from police work I’ve had the privilege these past five years to substitute teach K-12 for our district and it’s been a total joy. I also taught percussion for BHM Schools’ Community Education Program for 10 years. I believe my unique background of experience and education will ensure that I support, promote and enhance our district’s mission.

 

What qualities will you bring to the school board if elected? 

I will bring decades of various board experience including the MN Children’s Justice Act Task Force and the MN Police & Peace Officers Association. Also, evidence-based public policy analysis and leadership from a Master's of Public Affairs Degree awarded by the University of Minnesota as well as listening, communication and relationship building skills from over three decades of law enforcement experience. Finally, a background in education, having developed curriculum and trained law enforcement and other disciplines statewide plus five years of substitute teaching for our district.

 

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

The lens I will view all issues through shall be Safe Schools. Through that is the issue of preparing our children for a changing world given the challenge of teacher recruitment and retention facing our nation. I believe we must invest in the best teachers, faculty and staff we can reasonably afford if we are to continue to honor our mission of providing a high-quality education accessible to all students.

 

Why do you believe BHM Schools is the place to dream, believe and achieve? 

Those words resonated with me deeply when I read them on a folder in preparation for my first substitute teaching assignment with the district five years ago. Our district’s motto is “making a difference” and I see evidence of that every day through the works of our residents, businesses and institutions in Buffalo, Hanover, Montrose and the surrounding townships. Together with these stakeholders, we will continue to make a difference for children to dream, believe and achieve. My first sub assignment was a kindergarten class by the way; I went straight to bed after an early supper that evening!

 

Brad Elo

City of Residence: Buffalo

How long you have lived in the district: Since 1986

Family: I am a 1993 Buffalo High School graduate, and have three children; a 2021 BHS graduate, a senior and a junior attending BHS.

Occupation: I’m an executive for a large software company that specializes in data science, advanced analytics, and business process optimization. I also serve on multiple Buffalo area community non-profit boards; 877 Scholarship Foundation and Buffalo Arts Council.

 

Why do you want to serve on the BHM School Board?

It’s about our community’s kids, first, foremost, and always. I am a product of the school system I seek to serve. I am a member of our community. I am running to serve, support, and strengthen our school community - for ALL. There are people who seek to use school board membership as a platform to advance a radical agenda – my manifesto is to ensure that our children’s schools are the best they can be. Partisan tomfoolery has no place in our schools.

 

What qualities will you bring to the school board if elected?

My strengths are creativity, energy and passion for innovation, and creating partnerships of goodwill and respectful engagement. I believe these attributes will serve our children, the school, and the team of people it takes to be successful. I bring practical real-world experience, the capability to thoughtfully navigate change, and to deliberate on all points of view to make the best possible decision.

 

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

My campaign is focused on 5 key priorities:

  1. Equitable, real, meaningful opportunity for every student matters, and is the foundation of Dream, Believe and Achieve. Too many are attacking that foundation, I aim to shore it up.
  2. School Safety: Making sure school is a safe space is a top priority.
  3. Preparing our children for the future, we’re falling behind.
  4. 877 School Board is a non-partisan entity, let’s keep it that way.
  5. Improving transparency & evidence based decisioning.

 

Why do you believe BHM Schools is the place to dream, believe and achieve?  

A Place to Dream, Believe and Achieve are BHM values that are grounded in equity. Equity means that as leaders, faculty, administration, and community members, it is imperative that we continue to create and sustain an environment where each individual can be successful without regard to socio-economic status, race, gender and identity. 

A school system succeeds when all participants have the supportive community, accepting peers, strong and appropriately protective/challenging leadership they need to be successful. My commitment is to embrace student equity and advocate for all our children.

Angie Greig

City of Residence: Buffalo

How long you have lived in the district: Since 2004

Family: My daughter attended Hanover Elementary, BCMS and now BHS.

Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant

 

Why do you want to serve on the BHM School Board? 

I want to represent the parents of this community. I want transparency and accountability for academics. 

 

What qualities will you bring to the school board if elected?   

I am a think outside the box type of person and I feel I can step back and assess a policy from several different angles. This is how I work and why I am one of the best at what I do. Thinking outside the box allows a person to assess an entire situation in all aspects.

 

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

I believe that parents are essential to quality education and engaging parents by inviting them in and giving them choices. Children look to their parents for guidance if they see them engaged in their schools and education, then they will be engaged as well. 

 

Why do you believe BHM Schools are the place to dream, believe and achieve? 

I believe that schools should first promote achievements because achievements promote pride in oneself. I think that BHM schools help kids achieve through innovative teaching strategies that open the doors to the "Anything is Possible" mentality. When one believes in themselves and they feel anything is possible as dreams are unlimited. 

 

Matt Hoffman

City of Residence: Buffalo

How long have you lived in the district: 11 years. 

Family: I have three children in BHM schools in 10th, 7th and 4th grade.

Occupation: Pediatrician at Stellis Health Buffalo

 

Why do you want to serve on the BHM School Board?

I think that our schools and teachers are doing a great job and I want to do what I can to support them to continue that work. Moving a child from a Kindergartner to a responsible, respectful, successful adult is a huge task, requiring the cooperation of many people. The most important thing most of us will do in our lives is help the next generations make this world a better place than it is. In my career, my goal has always been to help my patients and their parents achieve this. Being on the BHM school board would provide an opportunity to do this in a different way.

 

What qualities will you bring to the school board if elected?

Being a pediatrician, I have learned how to attentively listen and cooperatively solve problems and issues. I believe that also gives me a unique and useful perspective on students and the problems they face, along with the needs they have for success in life. I am a level-headed person who believes respect, common sense and hard work are important attributes for us to have as board members and to instill in our children.

 

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

We struggle with many things, including teacher retention/recruiting, funding, and cooperation amongst all those at the table. But much of it seems to come down to trust. Trust that we are all doing the best that we can, while understanding any person’s best may need guidance from others with knowledge and experience to be even better. Trust from teachers that administrators and parents are behind them. Trust from students that parents and teachers are doing what they can to help them succeed in life. Trust from parents that schools are trying to do what is best for students. But, I also know that trust does not just happen, it is earned. That happens through communication, cooperation and outcome monitoring on shared goals.

 

Why do you believe BHM Schools is the place to dream, believe and achieve? 

Children deserve the best from everyone in their lives. In BHM schools, we have a great group of faculty, staff and administration doing amazing work to further the lives of the students in their care. With our three kids, we have seen firsthand that BHM schools embrace students where they are and work really hard to make sure each student is not only successful in academics, but in gaining life skills, and making connections with others. All of this makes it possible for our children to have infinite opportunities after their time here.

Bob Sansevere

City of Residence: Buffalo

How long you have lived in the district: Eleven years

Family: My wife, Mary, and I have five children. Three have graduated from Buffalo High School. I now have a 13-year-old in the middle school and a 16-year-old at the high school. I wouldn’t want them in any other school district.

Occupation: Broadcaster 

 

Why do you want to serve on the BHM School Board?

I joined the board in 2016, replacing someone who moved out of the district. It has been a wonderful experience. I spent eight years on the Orono City Council and have found my six years on the school board even more rewarding. As a city council member, you often make decisions about whether someone’s fence is too high or if they can build an out building. As a school board member, everything, every decision, is about what is best for our children.

 

What qualities will you bring to the school board if elected?

Experience, as the lone incumbent, and a passion to serve my community. When I was younger, like many other idealistic young people, I wanted to do something to change the world. As I got older, I realized the importance of having an impact in your own little corner of the world. That is the reason my wife and I did foster care for 16 years, the reason I spent eight years on the Orono City Council, the reason I have been on the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose school board since 2016, the reason I joined the Buffalo Rodeo board of directors, and the reason my wife and I started Enchanted Hollow Foundation, whose mission is to support and care for vulnerable horses as well as offer camp and riding scholarships to children and people of all ages with special needs. I care about community. I care about kids. 

 

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

There are many issues facing education, including a misconception that many school boards need an overhaul. Since I joined the board six years ago, I confidently and proudly can say the people serving on the BHM school board make decisions that are best for students and their families. That said, one of the biggest issues facing education in Minnesota is the inadequate amount of funding from state and federal agencies. 

 

Why do you believe BHM Schools is the place to dream, believe and achieve?

It is that place because of the desire, determination and pride of the students, staff, teachers and school board. 

 

Sheila Smude

City of Residence: Buffalo

How long you have lived in the district: 26 years

Family: My husband and I have two 6th graders, Connor and Emma at BCMS. Nathan is a 5th grader and Maya is a 2nd grader at Northwinds. Nova and Malachi are 4th graders in the Quest program at Parkside.

Occupation: Educator

 

Why do you want to serve on the BHM School Board?

I am an educator, mom and citizen who is passionate about her community and taking an active role in making it flourish. I have always been a fierce public school advocate and believe strong schools make a strong community. My passion for education and love for this district made running for school board an obvious choice. With my own children having many more years of schooling at BHM and hopefully my grandchildren too, I knew now was the right time to run to help ensure District #877 is strong now and into the future. My goal as a school board member is to be a positive voice for ALL students and make sure they have every opportunity to get a well-rounded, high-quality education so they are ready to take on the world!

 

What qualities will you bring to the school board if elected?

As an educator, I have a unique perspective to bring to the school board. Along with full-time classroom teaching experience, I have also been a District #877 Summer School teacher and served on the district's Community Teaching and Learning Council. I have held numerous leadership roles throughout my lifetime that have shaped me into a creative collaborator and clear communicator. I am a genuine team-player, life-long learner, active listener, and detail-oriented go-getter. I am committed to serving with integrity, diligence and transparency so our staff and students can excel!

 

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

I believe the most important issue facing education today is teacher support and retention. The past two years have been overly demanding on our teachers and staff as they have pivoted over and over due to all that is happening and changing in the world around us. There is a very real national teacher crisis happening as more and more teachers leave the profession because of the mental strain and lack of support. Our district has some of the most committed and caring teachers I have ever encountered, and I have been a part of numerous school districts around the country! They truly love our students and go above and beyond their job description. They deserve our full support when it comes to compensation, maintaining their prep time and professional development, getting the supplies they need and trusting them to do the job they are trained to do. I want to make sure our district is a place where top-notch educators and staff want to work and build their career, because excellent classrooms are built by excellent teachers.

 

Why do you believe BHM Schools is the place to dream, believe and achieve? 

I have experienced BHM schools as a place to dream, believe and achieve as a student, educator and parent. My husband and I both graduated from Buffalo High School and our experience in the district was exceptional! Our educational and extra-curricular opportunities truly prepared us to go into the world equipped to be successful and achieve our dreams. The staff and teachers in District #877 believe in you in a way that you can’t help but believe in yourself. We have been delighted with our children’s education thus far and how they have been challenged, encouraged and supported to be all that they can be.

 

Tim Zbaracki

City of Residence: Hanover

How long you have lived in the district: Three years but my wife and her family have lived in the district for more than 30 years.

Family: We are expecting our second child in the coming weeks and our children will be in the school district.  

Occupation: Veterans Service Representative

 

Why do you want to serve on the BHM School Board? 

I want to serve on the BHM School Board because I care about the quality of education for our children.  

 

What qualities will you bring to the school board if elected? 

I led diverse groups of professionals while serving my country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through compassion, loyalty, integrity and dedication, I was able to produce results and foster relationships that ensured troops made it safely back home. I learned the true meaning of service while overseas and I will continue to provide that level of leadership while serving on the BHM School Board.   

 

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

Academic proficiency and declining graduation rates.

 

Why do you believe BHM Schools is the place to dream, believe and achieve? 

BHM Schools encompass communities that are great places to live and raise families, which makes BHM Schools the place for students to Dream, Believe and Achieve!

 

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