|Left to right: Joe Slavin, Katy McElwee-Stevens, Katie Schwartz, Michelle Witte, Sharon Van Leer, Ron Kath, and Tracy Brunnette.|
A seven member School Board governs District 833. Board members are elected at-large on Election Day in November of odd numbered years. The superintendent of schools is an ex-officio member of the School Board, and there are three non-voting student representatives. Board meetings are typically held twice each month on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the District Service Center (7362 E. Point Douglas Rd. S., Cottage Grove). The public is welcome to attend these meetings. Board meetings are also broadcast on Cable TV Channel 15 (aired several times between meetings), and also web streamed.
The District 833 School Board operates under a policy governance structure in which the School Board’s primary duty is to set policy and the Superintendent’s duties focus on managing the implementation of these policies.
The Board has five primary responsibilities: district governance and policy development, operational oversight, governance policy implementation, superintendent relations, and public engagement. The Board sets the strategic direction for the district by articulating the mission, vision and core values of the district and by outlining the goals and results expected that support the mission. They work to develop policies that support continuous improvement. Once the policies are identified, it is the Superintendent’s responsibility to effectively implement the policies and manage the everyday operations that provide a quality educational experience for every student.
Parents and community members frequently ask School Board members to answer questions and to help solve problems. Since one of the Board’s responsibilities is public engagement, these contacts and questions are important. The difficulty with such contacts can be that the question or problem usually is a management issue and not a policy issue. When those questions arise, the Board member will direct the person to speak with the Superintendent or the appropriate district staff member so they can follow up on the concern.