In just a few short months, Edina voters will be able to weigh in on four open seats on the school board.
The election will be held Nov. 5. All school board seats are at-large, meaning the entire school district will be able to vote for each seat.
Early each week, Patch is running a profile of one of the candidates. Today, meet David Golstein, a lawyer and non-profit boardmember with three children enrolled and graduated from Edina schools.
Name: David Goldstein
Which neighborhood do you live in? Countryclub
Website, Facebook page or other contact information: GoldsteinforEdina.com; https://www.facebook.com/goldsteinforedina
unique perspective, experience or expertise would you bring to the school
board? Edina is very fortunate to have a high performing school district,
excellent administrators, a hardworking, collegial Board of Education, and
excellent working relationships between staff and the Board. This positive
environment is something which should not be taken for granted. I am running
for the Board because I believe in the importance of maintaining these
positives while working together to meet our challenges and to continue to
improve our schools.
My qualifications for this position include:
I have lived in Edina for over 20 years and am very familiar with the Edina schools. My oldest son, Jonathon, graduated from EHS in June and is now going to Luther College. My son, Ben, will be a senior this year and my daughter, Anna, is entering 9th grade at Valley View Middle School. All three went to elementary school in Edina.
I have been practicing law in Minnesota for over 25 years, counseling private and public employers with regard to regulatory compliance, human resources, risk management, and dispute resolution. In the past my clients have included public school districts and I continue to represent institutions of higher education. I believe that my training and experience will make me a useful resource to staff and a valued contributor on the Board.
For over 10 years, I have been a member of the board of Twin Cities Rise!, an innovative anti-poverty organization that offers a comprehensive work skills training program for low-income adults in the Twin Cities area. The combination of work skills classes, Personal Empowerment, one-on-one coaching, and internship opportunities result in placement in full time, living wage jobs. http://twincitiesrise.org I served for a number of years as TCR!’s treasure and chair of the Board’s audit and finance committee where I had significant responsibilities for budgeting and audit. These experiences will be helpful in dealing with the complexity of public school budgeting.
I currently serve on the board of the Twins Community Fund, which enriches local and regional communities by providing resources for the healthy development of children and families through an association with baseball, softball and the Minnesota Twins. This allows me to combine my love of baseball and the Twins with my commitment to kids and our communities. http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/min/community/min_community_fund.jsp
I serve on the governance committees for both TCR! and the Twins Community Fund. My experiences in board governance will be of use in my service on the Edina Board. In addition, I have a long track record as a hardworking, collaborative, contributing board member.
For over 15 years, I have been coaching youth sports, including boys and girls t-ball, soccer, basketball, and baseball. I love working with kids, get along well with young people and care about them.
For nearly 10 years, I have been a participant in a speakers program sponsored by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador As part of this program, I have given scores of talks and demonstrations about the space program and the solar system to well over a thousand elementary students throughout the metropolitan area. For this work I received an Ignite Award from what is now the Edina Community Education Community Volunteer Program.
I served as the legislative liaison for Normandale Elementary and when our schools were facing significant budget cuts, I engaged in citizen lobbying at the Capital.
I also have a long history of contributing to the community. For example, my pro bono legal activities have included work with the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (assisting businesses owned and managed by ethnic minorities), the Midwest Minority Supplier Development Council, the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, JUSTice for Kids, and the Volunteer Lawyers Network.
I began these comments by saying that Edina is fortunate to have such great schools. But really this is not a matter of luck. It is the commitment and foresight of our community, of parents, teachers, and administrators, and of our school board over many years that accounts for the excellence of our schools.
With my training, experiences and values, I believe that I would be a good steward of this invaluable community resource.
the top challenges facing the Edina School Board? First,
I believe that our public schools are essential to our success as a democracy.
It is in our schools that people from different backgrounds and holding
different beliefs come together and discover the very basic things that we have
in common as neighbors, as members of the same community, as Americans, as
people. Going to school together we learn to respect different views and to
appreciate our different backgrounds. The ability to engage in civil political
discourse – an essential skill in a democracy – begins in our schools.
Public education’s ability to fulfill this essential role is being challenged, I think, by the proliferation of alternative sources of education: charter schools, web based and for-profit programs, home schooling. To some degree, these alternatives reflect an understandable preference for individually tailored experiences over the messier interactions that occur in wider society. Nevertheless, I think our public schools offer the best opportunity for balancing the tension between meeting individual needs and coming together as a community. Because I see public education as being under fire and because I believe in its essential importance, I believe that addressing the challenges to public education from those who question its continuing relevance and importance is a primary role of the Board.
Second, and much less philosophically, all of our schools are constrained by the obligation to satisfy a variety of federal and state requirements while operating within ever tighter budgetary constraints. Finding ways to reflect our community’s values, to serve our students, and to improve our performance while working within these constraints is extremely challenging. As a board member I will work to identify creative solutions to these problems and will lobby for legislative relief or assistance where appropriate.
Third, we live in a period of great technological, social, and economic change. Approaches to education that worked in the past may be insufficient tomorrow. We need to figure out how to best teach a generation with problems and opportunities that are very different from those faced by their parents. As a board member, I will support the structuring of our schools and their programs so as to offer each child options that are consistent with his or her strengths and that allow all of our children to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that lie ahead.
does a school board member play in helping raise academic achievement for all
students and close the achievement gap? First, the Board
plays a very important role in making sure that the district is collecting the
proper data and analyzing it appropriately. Talking broadly about an
achievement gap is not very helpful. It is necessary to understand the areas in
which we see gaps, to identify the impacted groups, and to try to understand
the reason for the gaps.
Having spent a great deal of time through my board service with Twin Cities Rise! working to solve issues relating to generational poverty, I believe that at least some of the achievement gap is related to the challenges and stresses that afflict those living in poverty. Through wellness programs, free and reduced price meals, and other support services, our schools are able to address some of the causes of the achievement gap.
Employing a diverse staff that can relate to students coming from different backgrounds and meaningfully address student problems and concerns is another way to help address the gap.
Again, looking to my experiences with Twin Cities Rise!, I think it important to develop programs that help all of our students to feel “empowered”, that is to provide them with a belief system that enables them to manage their emotions, thinking, and behavior to achieve positive long-term life goals. At the same time, we should have (appropriately) high expectations for each of our students and expect each one to take personal responsibility for meeting those expectations. Returning, to the prior question regarding challenges, it concerns me that we live in a culture where it is sometimes hard to get people to accept responsibility. However, I think our schools must look to students and their parents to be accountable for the wise use of the resources the District provides.
As the Board monitors the implementation of the Next Generation of Edina Public Schools Strategic Plan, as well as in the ordinary course of the Board’s business, there will be many opportunities to review and influence efforts to meaningfully address achievement gaps. I believe this to be a very important issue. As a board member I will expect staff to continue to work hard on this issue and to make progress in closing the gap.