Please give a background of yourself and why you are running for school board.
Friends called me Lucky Lee and students called me Mr. T.
The first 10 years of my adult life, I served six years in the Army National Guard, taught math at Stephen, Minn., owned and operated Lee’s Clothing in the new Argyle, Minn., mall and raised and broke horses on the edge of town. I was one busy guy.
1976 — I sold my store at a nice profit and invested in a 400-acre farm on the shores of the Lake of the Woods. My registered polled Hereford herd gained lots of state and national recognition. I raised foundation seed wheat for the University of Minnesota. I was president of Bethany Lutheran Church and served over 20 years on the Lake of the Woods county fair board and seven years on North Star Electric Cooperative. Both the fair and electric co-op were in financial trouble when I got on the board. With my idea of putting up all new steel buildings and renting them out in the winter for boat storage and the co-op to get a Direct TV franchise, both the fair and co-op are in great financial shape and profitable.
1980 — I was named outstanding young farmer for the state of Minnesota and in 1995, my wife and I were named Farmer and Homemaker for the state of Minnesota.
All my years in Minnesota I did free math tutoring in the winter.
1999 — I left my profitable, beautiful farm, cattle and lifelong friends behind and came to Nevada to be closer to my son and daughter and six grandchildren.
2002 — I was encouraged to teach again at age 56. I took the challenge and retired after 14 years teaching math in Churchill County School District. These were 14 of the best years of my life. I love this community, its churches, its value, wonderful families and your wonderful children. One day I was explaining to a class some of my wise financial decisions. A hand went up and the student said you must be really rich. I responded, “Yes, I am, but not in money because I am quick to help family or anyone in need. I am rich in family and friends like you.”
I have a lot of experience in business and education, but I think my biggest assets are my math skills, my dedication to preparation and planning, and I try very hard to be a good listener both in the classroom and public.
I have been blessed and I want to show my gratitude as a school board trustee. I love the Greenwave. I bleed green. I believe I could have a positive influence on this school district.
The state is in the middle of changing the funding formula for Nevada’s schools. Will this change be more beneficial for Churchill County Schools or should the state have more give and take when dealing with individua school districts?
I am very concerned school districts and states are going to face serious financial problems due to the pandemic. At this time, I need to learn more about this. I feel it is going to take team work with local officials and state officials in the coming months. There is not enough information now to be able to comment on.
The school district has outsourced food services. Would you be in favor or not in favor if the school board wanted to extend outsourcing for janitorial services and transportation?
I always would first consider the effect on students and employees. I would have to research this carefully to see how it might affect out local economy and employees. I would put our local people first.
If and when the coronavirus pandemic has disappeared, should the school district retain both online and in-person instruction?
I would like to see mostly in-person learning. You can be an intellectual giant, but if you have no social skills you will probably fail in life. Character is so important.
Would you favor the continuation of the partnership between the school district and Western Nevada College by expanding more programs for high-school level classes?
I believe we have great facilities that should be utilized. Any partnership with Western Nevada College should be a great benefit to our students and not affect our enrollment.
School districts across the state have experienced problems in hiring staff and then keeping them in the rural setting. As a trustee, what would you do to help Human Resources attract more educators and keep them in Churchill County?
I did not think that was a problem in Fallon, but I would be open to all ideas.
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of our current school system?
I think we have great facilities, many great dedicated personnel at all level, great community support and good support of the press. Our greatest weakness is learning to compete in harmony with competition from charter schools and colleges.
What is the one biggest change, issue, improvement you would like to see occur or would you advocate for during your term on the school board?
I would like to see education at the high school level to be more relevant to the work force. I would like to see competition make us better at what we do. Competition should make us all perform better. We have many positive things happening in the district outside of sports. I would like to see a weekly report to the newspaper reporting positives in our schools. It might be a dedicated bus driver, a dedicated janitor, a dedicated teacher who will never be recognized our student achievement. The negatives are easy to see. Let’s dwell on positives. This is how you compete.
What is your opinion about communication between the board and the staff, visiting schools, and how much opportunity would you have to spend observing and talking to staff at school sites?
I am already working on setting a schedule for a monthly contact with each group of employees and observing each school and facilities.
How would you proceed if your opinion is different from the rest of the board – would you be willing to stand your ground, build a coalition, or go with the flow?
I believe in being well informed. I am more than one vote. I believe I can influence others. I always stand my ground unless you can show me I’m wrong. I believe in representing the voters’ view.
What would your support level be for maintaining or improving the Career and Technical Education programs at the high school and middle school?
I am a big believer in career and technical training. College is not for everyone.
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