Thursday, October 30, 2014


Cien Asoera Elkhart School Board candidate at large 10/22/12 (Photo Supplied) (AP)

Douglas Weaver Candidate Elkhart school board at large. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

Dorisanne Nielsen (Photo Supplied) (AP)

Sue Daiber (Photo Supplied) (AP)

Carolyn Morris (Photo Supplied) (AP)

Daniel Boecher (Photo Supplied) (AP)
Six on Elkhart School Board ballot

Posted on Nov. 2, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

There will be a new face on the Elkhart School Board after this election.

Three men are running for the at-large seat being vacated by longtime local educator Bob Minichillo. Three incumbents are also running unopposed to maintain their seats.

Cien Asoera, Daniel Boecher and Douglas Weaver are the three running for the at-large seat. Unopposed incumbent Sue Daiber is on the ballot for district A, unopposed incumbent Dorisanne Nielsen is on the ballot for district C and unopposed incumbent Carolyn Morris is on the ballot for district D.

CIEN ASOERA

Running for at-large seat

Occupation: Financial advisor at Edward Jones Investments

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD?

As a parent of two Elkhart Community Schools students and a recent Elkhart graduate, “it was imperative that I try to get involved,” Asoera said. “My passion has always been the development of youth. They are key to the success of our entrepreneurial community continuing to thrive well in to the future,” which is why he is also an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy as well.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE LARGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR SCHOOL CORPORATION?

Asoera said that he thinks the largest challenge is “the ability for parents to have a choice of schools.”

“With school funding dollars following the student, it is imperative that our school system address this issue aggressively,” he said. “Elkhart Schools had two students last year named Wells Scholars (a full-ride scholarship to Indiana University), and yet the community perception is that the system lacks in it’s ability to effectively educate it’s students. This leads to lower enrollment over time and hence a larger funding issue down the road. We have to be more proactive in this area.”

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BRING TO YOUR SCHOOL BOARD?

“I think that I have tremendous thought leadership and interpersonal communication skills,” he said. “I think those skills coupled with my business and community involvement background as well as having students in the school system currently, will allow me to have a tremendous impact.”

DANIEL BOECHER

Running for at-large seat

Occupation: Assistant vice president/commercial loan officer for Lake City Bank in Elkhart

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD?

“I see the school board as one of the most important public roles in our community,” Boecher said. “The quality of our schools is the largest determining factor for our quality of life. Economic development, property values, public safety, arts and culture and the tax base are all impacted by the actual and perceived quality of our school district.” A father with young kids, Boecher said he has a limited number of hours to devote to public service, but wants to invest his time where it can have the largest positive impact.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE LARGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR SCHOOL CORPORATION?

The issue facing Elkhart Schools and every school district nation-wide is “being able to continually adapt to the changing demands of a hyper-competitive global economy,” he said.

“We cannot continue to teach kids for the jobs that existed 10 years ago,” he continued. “This recession has taught us that we have to work harder to add value to the years our kids are spending in our schools.”

Students with only a high school diploma are finding it increasingly difficult to raise a family on what would be considered a living wage, he said. “We don’t need every student to go on to college but every graduate needs to walk out of high school with some type of demonstrated skill that will be valued by the marketplace.”

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BRING TO YOUR SCHOOL BOARD?

Boecher had been chairman of the steering committee for the Horizon 2.0 education initiative, which explored the needs and goals of education in Elkhart County. Through that work, Boecher explained that he spent many hours researching best practices at school districts across the county.

“While affirming the tremendous strides” made at Elkhart Community Schools, especially through the last five years, he said, “I want to encourage an attitude of continuous improvement in the way we teach our children. I also have a vested interest in helping move our district forward as I’m raising my daughters in ECS. He has also worked for local government in the past and, as a loan officer, is responsible for assessing financial statements on a daily basis, which could also apply to the financial responsibilities of the school board.

DOUGLAS WEAVER

Running for at-large seat

Occupation: Purchasing manager at Pencco Inc.

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD?

Weaver said that, since 2005, he has been pleased with the educational opportunities Elkhart Community Schools has offered his three children.

“In Elkhart, as with many school systems we have reached a critical juncture, of revenue, expenditures and regulations that make it extremely difficult to grow and maintain quality school programs and infrastructure,” he said. “Going forward it will require the close participation of the school board, administration, teacher, parents, students and the community at large to carefully manage every educational resource.”

On the school board, Weaver said he would be “committed to an educational program that continues to improve (and) push for higher academic boundaries with realistic goals that result in lasting skills, lifelong learning and successful outcomes for every student.”

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE LARGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR SCHOOL CORPORATION?

“In recent years, the state legislature is the larger challenge,” Weaver said. “The legislature has implemented school funding cuts on two fronts with caps and school voucher programs with little understanding or a thought process for the long term negative effect on public and private school systems as well as local property values.”

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BRING TO YOUR SCHOOL BOARD?

Weaver said he brings 15 years of practical business and hands-on operational experience in large and small corporations, plus 20 years of purchasing management, cost savings, commodity and capital contract negotiations experience. “As school budgets are stretched,” he said, “every dollar counts to maintain a quality educational system.”

SUSAN “SUE” DAIBER

Unopposed incumbent for district A

Occupation: Store manager of The Picture Show in Elkhart

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD?

“I am running for the school board because I believe children want to succeed,” Daiber said. “They are our future and I will maintain programs in our schools that provide our students with the tools they need to do so.”

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE LARGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR SCHOOL CORPORATION?

“The largest challenge facing our school corporation is the false perception of who we are and what we offer in a diversified school system,” she said.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BRING TO YOUR SCHOOL BOARD?

“I will continue to help our school board change this perspective with my positive, never-give-up attitude,” Daiber said. “I am a thankful mother that volunteered in our schools and witnessed the struggles children and teachers face. I will fight for their needs and applaud their successes.”

DORISANNE NIELSEN

Unopposed incumbent for district C

Occupation: Retired high school teacher

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD?

“Education has been the regular focus of my life outside the home forever,” Nielsen said. With experience already on the school board and as a teacher, “as long as I can, I’d like to contribute,” she said.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE LARGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR SCHOOL CORPORATION?

“Many of them come back to money,” she said.

The district faces the challenges of working to maintain or increase enrollment numbers, as well as “meeting the needs of needy families as well as meeting the needs of advanced kids,” Nielsen explained.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BRING TO YOUR SCHOOL BOARD?

Nielsen said she brings a background in education, with a focus in language arts, that contributes to her knowledge of school issues and interest in policy writing. She also has an understanding of school finances from her work on the school board, she said.

CAROLYN MORRIS

Unopposed incumbent for district D

Occupation: Works at Meijer Supermarket

WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD?

“I’m concerned about the children,” Morris said. “I want to be sure they get a good education.”

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE LARGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR SCHOOL CORPORATION?

Morris said that funding is the major challenge facing schools. Property values have been decreasing, which means less money goes to the school system, while many people also can’t pay what they’re required to because of local financial hardship, she explained. If the schools don’t receive money to work with, it’s difficult to maintain and expand school programs.

“That causes a great deal of harm to our kids,” she said.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BRING TO YOUR SCHOOL BOARD?

Morris said that as the only African-American on the Elkhart board, she brings an interest in being sure all children succeed, including those in minority groups.

Her primary goal, though, she said is to be “sure all the kids get an equal opportunity for a quality education.”