School board treasurer makes run for another term

Published 8:40 pm Monday, October 8, 2018

According to the Albert Lea Area Schools school board treasurer, there are opportunities for both continuity and change on the school board and within the district.

Mark Ciota

Mark Ciota is running for his third term on the school board. He said the school board’s biggest challenges are student performance in some areas on standardized tests, student opt-out rates on state tests and being able to provide curriculum and services in the many languages and culture of the Albert Lea student population. He also cited space constraints due to crowded buildings. Ciota said he sees the Hammer Complex project, a $24.62 million project to update high school athletic facilities and add gym space at Halverson Elementary School, addressing many facility needs.

According to Ciota, the school board’s role in addressing test performances is to continue supporting teacher and administration work on the issue.

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Teachers should have competitive salaries and enjoyable work environments for the district to attract and retain teachers, he said.

“The challenges of recruitment and retention of teaching professionals are the same I see for other professionals: housing, community activities, local opportunities for spouses, etc.,” he said. “The district can participate in enhancing these issues when able.”

Ciota said the district can continue to make programs and services available to assist students living near the poverty line.

“We are so fortunate the (Albert Lea) Education Foundation assists many students,” he said.

The laundry list of successes for the school board and Albert Lea Area Schools, for Ciota, include the district’s graduation rate, its work improving relationships with local business, curriculum development for students who are not college-bound and its fiscal management.

In the wider community, the school board should be willing to listen and evaluate what decision is best for students, Ciota said.

He said his experience serving on multiple boards and committees gives him experience compromising, “if needed,” to move an issue forward, and his work with fiscal management, administration, human resources and board/management relationships play into his role on the school board.

“I have learned and continue to learn about the complex workings of a public school district,” Ciota said. “I am open to listen and meet with individuals. I am a product of public education, my daughters were educated in the (Albert Lea) public schools and I want to see (Albert Lea) public schools exceed in all areas.”

Ciota is CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin.

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


Mark Ciota will face off against Brian Anderson, Dennis Dieser, Dave Klatt, Jill Marin, Kim Nelson and  Kalli Rittenhouse. See Anderson’s election profile here. See Klatt’s election profile here. See Marin’s Tribune election profile here. See Rittenhouse’s Tribune election profile here. See Nelson’s Tribune election profile here. See Dieser’s Tribune election profile here.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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