Former school board member looks to return and put focus on education

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Twenty years after joining the board first as a write-in candidate, Dennis Dieser has thrown his own name into the mix again for the upcoming Albert Lea school board member election.

Dennis Dieser

Dieser said the district is financially strong thanks to emphases on grants and community partnerships, which have enhanced opportunities. Communication has improved between the board and community, he said, but still needs to receive emphasis, as it will become more and more critical for the community.

“An informed public allows for continued dialogue,” he said.

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Dieser noted dialogue is especially important when discussing inclusion.

“The community demographics are changing,” he said. “It will be important for the district to continue dialogue with other community agencies effectively working with all students and families.”

The referendum allowing updates to Hammer Complex, passed in May, will address many facility issues with greater student access to extracurricular activities and increased safety, he said.

Community partnership will also be important in helping the district help students and families experiencing poverty.

“These collaborations are key, as this is a community issue,” Dieser said. “We must be open to new ideas and partnerships ensuring everyone has a voice — students who go to school hungry struggle to learn.”

According to Dieser, helping families also means addressing transportation needs.

“Many families are limited with little or no transportation,” he said. “This causes non-participation by students in extracurricular activities because of no transportation.”

Participation — and increasing participation — is also part of the conversation regarding state test results. Dieser said families need to understand the importance of state-required tests. Increasing the number of district students taking the tests will allow for a more accurate assessment.

“The district must continue to work with students and families to ensure all students take the required tests,” he said.

Dieser cited the quickly changing technology landscape as another challenge for the district.

“The district will need to stay ahead on the technology curve and not fall behind,” he said.

Furthermore, the district will be challenged in its attempts to attract and retain teachers.

“Our community is still in need of new businesses,” he said. “We need to continue to engage our teachers in the community and recognize that they are a valuable asset.”

Dieser said his prior experience on the board would help him get up to speed quickly should he be elected. He is involved in several other boards, which he said makes him a good resource for sharing information and listening to issues.

“My purpose for running is to be a servant leader, give back to the community and ensuring quality education for our youth,” Dieser said. “Now that my children are grown, I have the opportunity to give back. The youth are our future. Our educators work hard amongst all of the challenges to influence our youth every day.”

Dieser is the executive director of Albert Lea Family Y.

School board members will be elected Nov. 6. There are four seats to fill.


Dennis Dieser is facing Mark Ciota, Kim Nelson, Dave Klatt, Brian Anderson, Kalli Rittenhouse and Jill Marin for the school board. See Ciota’s Tribune election profile here. See Klatt’s Tribune election profile here. See Anderson’s Tribune election profile here. See Marin’s Tribune election profile here. See Rittenhouse’s Tribune election profile here. See Nelson’s Tribune election profile here.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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