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Candidate profile: Sharon Van Leer

Sharon Van Leer

Age: 67

City: Woodbury

Family: Husband, Rev. Thomas; six adult children

Education: Associate’s degree (accounting), Century College; bachelor’s degree (business administration), Metropolitan State University

Occupation: Multicultural affairs specialist at William Mitchell College of Law

Sharon Van Leer has been surrounded by education for more than 20 years and surrounded by children for even longer.

Those two components, she said, have prepared her well to run for District 833 School Board.

“I have the time to really hone in on the things that I think will add to the School Board,” Van Leer said.

She named technology, safety and quality education as her chief issues for running.

“We must continue to offer innovative, quality education,” Van Leer said.

She said she is supportive of technological strides in – and out – of the classroom. That, she said, includes support for a bully-reporting app that is poised to go live through East Ridge High School.

The app draws a critical link between technology and safety. Van Leer said school safety must be shored up in order to prevent violent and dangerous incidents.

“We need to be proactive,” she said. “We need to be able to know that these kids are in trouble. We’re on the right path, I think, but we need to keep moving.”

Van Leer also called for better district communications to alert parents to offerings like the International Baccalaureate program and district events.

“We’ve got to figure out through technology how to get the information out,” she said.

Van Leer said she’s supportive of all three referendum questions on the Nov. 5 ballot. Question No. 1, she said, “is an extension to maintain what we already have,” while she believes the second question will pave the way for smaller, more effective class sizes.

She said Question No. 3 has her support in order to provide learning space in the district’s growing areas.

The district’s iPad movement has her backing because of the expanded learning opportunities the devices afford. She hopes it’s the beginning of things to come in technology.

“That’s what we need to do – connect,” Van Leer said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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