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Vote for Spring Lake School Board Members | News

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Vote for Spring Lake School Board Members
Vote for Spring Lake School Board Members

From: http://springlakeschools.org

On Tuesday, November 6, registered voters will be going to the polls to fill two four-year seats on the Spring Lake Board of Education currently held by Lisa Ashcraft and Dennis Devlin. We encourage all registered voters in the district to exercise their right to VOTE.

Lisa Ashcraft (Incumbent)

Lisa Ashcraft is running for her fifth term on the Spring Lake Board of Education.

Background: Lisa lives in the Village of Spring Lake. She is employed by Chase Bank. She was the manager of the Spring Lake office for 15 years and is now manager at the downtown Grand Haven office. Lisa has two children, Rebecca and William, and two granddaughters, Cailinn age 7 and Claudia age 3. She graduated from Spring Lake High School in 1973 and received a Bachelor's of Science degree from Western Michigan University with a major in Business Education. While working for the bank she received a graduate degree in Community Banking through Bank Administration Institute in Wisconsin.

Lisa has been very active in school activities since her children both attended Holmes Elementary. She has served on the Spring Lake Board of Education since 1996, served on the Finance and Personnel Committees, and assists with the Hessmer Scholarship Committee. She has held all officer positions, including president from 2005-07. Lisa is currently president of the Central Business District Development Authority and treasurer of the Rotary Club of Spring Lake.

Comments: I have been lucky to have been raised in this great community. I raised my children in Spring Lake with both graduating from Spring Lake Schools. And now have a granddaughter attending Holmes and another granddaughter attending in two years. I have seen Spring Lake Schools grow into a great school system.
Serving on the board for 16 years and living in the community has given me knowledge of the history. I have family members who are teachers, giving me the insight into the views of educators, different philosophies, and expanding opinions. Being a grandmother of a 7 year old is a whole new perspective in evaluating how our education process works. I am fascinated with the technological changes and opportunities we are bringing to our schools. School funding and budgeting has been a priority for several years. I have a strong financial background and budgeting experience. As a district we have to look at every expenditure and how it affects the education of our students.

Giving our children the best education that a community can give them – that is our #1 priority!

Dennis Devlin (Incumbent)

Dennis Devlin is seeking re-election to a second term on the Spring Lake Board of Education.

Background: Dennis and his wife Judi have three grown children living in the area. All were educated through Spring Lake Public Schools. He taught history at Grand Valley State University from 1977 to 2008. He also held administrative positions as Department Chair, Honors Program Director, Freshman Seminary Director, and many others. Dennis graduated from Texas Western College and received graduate degrees from the University of Chicago.

Dennis has served as the Board Secretary and was a member of the Board Finance and Policy Committees.

Comments: Running for re-election for another four-year term on the Spring Lake School Board was not a difficult decision. When I first ran for the Board in 2008 I had just retired from teaching and administrative service at Grand Valley State for thirty years and was hoping to find something where I could contribute to the local community and schools by using my experience as a professional educator. Most school boards – ours included – are composed of a variety of individuals representing different areas of expertise and a range of opinions, a beneficial situation that reflects the interests of the wider community. It seemed to me four years ago, and still does, that it is a good idea to have a board member with some direct knowledge about education, someone who has actually been involved in the process for a time and is familiar with curriculum, teaching, staffing, and the implications of financial decisions for education.

While the Superintendent is the executive officer of the district and runs the daily operations, when it comes to such issues as policy decisions and the future direction of the schools he needs to seek the approval of the Board. It is helpful to have a Board member with some background in education who can ask questions about curriculum, staffing, policies, programs, evaluations and related issues, along with questions about the potential effects of financial decisions on these issues. It is also helpful to be able to ask the teachers and administrators similar questions. My background in education is very helpful in knowing which questions to ask, evaluating the answers, and helping to determine which direction or action would be most beneficial to our students and to helping the Spring Lake district maintain its standing among the top ten in the state.

These past four years have been very challenging ones for the Spring Lake Schools. As a result of the economic and financial problems in the nation and in Michigan, and the ways Washington and Lansing have dealt with them, our schools – including Spring Lake – have received considerably less money for operations. Additionally, Spring Lake at the same time had recently hired a new superintendent, a situation which always requires a couple of years for the new executive officer to become completely familiar with the district, its staff, community and culture. In the past few years some very difficult decisions have had to be made by the Superintendent and the Board, but as a group I believe we have stepped up and made ultimately the correct and necessary ones given the challenging times. While our budget surplus has declined along with the money we get from the state, we have managed to reduce costs in many areas while not making any serious cuts to the curriculum, programs, or staff – and Spring Lake remains one of the top ten school districts in Michigan and our students should continue to benefit from this.

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in the events of the past four years and to have had a hand in dealing with the difficult issues facing our schools, and restructuring them for the future. I believe my background in education has helped in making the decisions which have hopefully allowed us to weather the storms of the past four years and be stronger in the future. I am familiar with the challenges of the past four years and how they have been dealt with, and consequently with where it seems the district is now heading.

I look forward to continued service on the Spring Lake School Board to help finish the work I and other members of the Board, along with the Superintendent and staff, have begun.

Curt Theune

Curt Theune is running for a seat on the Spring Lake Public Schools Board of Education.

Background: Curt is an involved community member. He has lived in the district for 27 years and is a graduate of Spring Lake High School. After graduating from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice, he continued to give to the Spring Lake community. As a law enforcement officer, he has been able to serve the community in his profession, but has also volunteered his time. He is the Past President of the Spring Lake Schools Foundation, Past President of The People Center and a parent volunteer throughout the district. He and his wife Susan have two Spring Lake students.

Comments: With continual state cuts to public education, we must maintain or strengthen the academic excellence of Spring Lake Public Schools. I will provide an open ear and be a vocal encourager of Spring Lake Public Schools teachers, support staff, and school district. We must bridge the gap between the school district, community, parents, and students. I want to hear from you. I will be your voice.

Being visible throughout the community, I provide opportunities for people to share their concerns and praises for Spring Lake Public Schools. I want our district to continue to improve their academic excellence. We will achieve our high standard of excellence with the latest educational techniques and technology.

The State of Michigan has demonstrated their influence over public education. With those cuts, we must explore additional avenues of funding in order to keep Spring Lake Public Schools atop the state and country. Plus, in these challenging times, morale must be kept high. I want to encourage high morale. School personnel need to hear and see acts of support.

Education is an investment. I am ready to invest my time.