Leland files for fourth term on Albert Lea school boardPublished 6:42am Sunday, August 12, 2012
Bill Leland, 53, lives in Albert Lea with his wife, Pam. They have two children who both graduated from Albert Lea High School, Alexandra and Joe.
Filing for the Albert Lea school board closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday; there is no primary election. Four seats are up for election, three of them are four-year terms and one is a two-year term. The Tribune is profiling all the candidates, and so far incumbents Linda Laurie, Kim Nelson and Leland have filed for four-year seats. Two other Albert Lea residents, Julie Johnson and Jenny Edwin have also filed hoping for four-year terms. Incumbent Jeshua Erickson has filed for the two-year term.
The following is a profile of Leland. Look to the Tribune in future editions for profiles of Johnson and Edwin.
Bill Leland has served three four-year terms on the Albert Lea school board and is hoping to serve a fourth. He’s also a past president of the statewide group Schools for Equity in Education, a current trustee for the Minnesota School Board Association Insurance Trust and a current delegate for the Minnesota School Board Association Delegate Assembly.
and works as a Realtor with Kenneth Leland Realty. He also teaches confirmation at Grace Lutheran Church and is active in church activities as well. Leland said he wanted to run again for school board because he fully agrees with all the recent changes the school board has made and he wants to see them through.
“The board has asked the administration to do a lot of hard things over the last three or four years,” Leland said. “A lot of people think the administration came up with this, but a lot of this is board directives.”
Leland said he spent time considering whether he should run again, and also said it’s not an easy decision.
“I don’t think I’ve missed one scheduled meeting since I’ve been a member so I take it very seriously,” Leland said.
He said he’s really only running because his focus is about the children and making sure their time in school is the best it can be.
“One thing I’m adamant about is people with personal agendas don’t belong running for school board,” Leland said. “You’re dealing with kids’ lives — you can’t goof around for one second of their time in school.”
Leland was the board’s chairman until January when he stepped down. He said after three years in the position he felt it needed some fresh blood. He also said he doesn’t think of himself as a teacher of the other board members even though he’s been on the board so long.
“The diversity we’ve had on the board is one of its greatest strengths,” Leland said. “If I was trying to teach people we would lose that diversity.”
He does consider himself somewhat of a historian of the board and is able to talk about past choices the board has made. But again, he said he doesn’t try to bring a lot of history to the table because he would rather hear all the board members’ opinions.
Leland said he strives to talk to students as much as possible to get their perspective on things happening in the schools.
“I just really enjoy working with kids,” Leland said.