Ehrhardt: New ideas liven school board

Published 9:26 am Friday, October 1, 2010

Editor’s note: Over the next three weeks, the Tribune will profile candidates running in the Nov. 2 general election.

Current Albert Lea School Board member Sally Ehrhardt is running unopposed for a full-term school board seat in November’s election. She has been on the board since January of 2007.

Sally Ehrhard

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Ehrhardt is a real estate agent with Kenneth Leland Realty in Albert Lea. She has a 15-year-old son, Andrew. Her hobbies include cooking, reading and craft work. She also walks a few miles each day. Ehrhardt is also a member of the Freeborn County Family Services Collaborative Governing Board, and has plans to start volunteering by helping students with reading.


Ehrhardt said a hot-button issue on the school board is standardized state testing and that the district needs to help students improve their scores.

“The board is trying to assist teachers in any way we can,” Ehrhardt said.

She said working on the board right now has been exciting because there are quite a few new administrators in the district. She said she’s excited to see any changes that may come of new ideas. She also said she thinks Superintendent Mike Funk has strong leadership ability.

“He has some ideas he’s bringing to our district that will result in positive changes,” Ehrhardt said.

Standardized testing

Ehrhardt said she’d like to see testing for children be based on the child’s individual growth.

“I think to force all children to be at the same level at the same time is next to impossible,” Ehrhardt said.

She mentioned that the district currently is teaching students to take tests, not how to think or achieve individual goals.

“It’s a sad reflection of the current state of education in Minnesota,” Ehrhardt said.

New technology

Ehrhardt said part of the excitement she feels on the board is all the different technology available to students.

“There are students with special needs who can communicate with iPads in ways they couldn’t before,” Ehrhardt said.

She also mentioned the pre-kindergartners who were using iPods to help with the transition from home to school. Ehrhardt said letting children use technology makes learning more exciting. She said she thinks not all education should be fun, but there should be an effort to make some learning fun for students.

“It’s another learning tool,” Ehrhardt said. “It doesn’t take the place of a good teacher or parents helping kids with their homework at home.”


Ehrhardt said she feels strongly that activities outside the classroom can make a big impression on students. Some students may only enjoy school if they get to participate in the activity of their choosing like music, plays, sports and clubs.

“Kids gain so much by being on a team,” Ehrhardt said. “They gain self-awareness and realize their strengths and weaknesses.”

She said she will always remember when a few students came to a school board workshop. One girl said if they took away her music she would have nothing at school to look forward to.

“I hope we can long continue to afford to offer them,” Ehrhardt said.