Austin School Board candidate: Carol McAlister
Occupation:Financial analyst at Mayo Clinic.
Family:Husband, Jack McAlister; five children (Eric, 26, as of Oct. 24, Ryan, 24, Aron, 22, Emily, 17, and Evan, 14), who have all been enrolled in Austin Public Schools; and one granddaughter (Josey, 4).
Favorite activities:I love spending time with my family, volunteering my time and participating in church activities and Bible study. I enjoy any activity that my children are involved in: hockey, football, baseball, golf, dance, cheerleading, orchestra and choir.
Previous public office, volunteer activities or professional activities that might help you in office:I served on the Wee Learning Center Board of Directors (preschool education) for 12 years and have volunteered in numerous capacities in Austin Public Schools. I have worked in research at Mayo Clinic for 23 years, so I am accustomed to analyzing data and strategically looking "outside of the box" for solutions. My professional responsibilities have included: developing and managing a $12 million budget; identifying cost savings, efficiencies and reductions; researching proposals and funding opportunities; grant writing; and keeping abreast of federal and state regulations.
What are the biggest issues facing Austin Public Schools now and for the future?
• Needed improvement in test scores to address the achievement gaps.
• Financial constraints and the uncertainty of the state’s future budget for education.
• Mental, emotional and chemical problems facing students.
How will you work to improve the environment of Austin Public Schools?
I will work diligently to balance the interests of taxpayers, parents and staff to provide the best education for our students by analyzing data, asking questions and making strategic decisions.
What makes you stand out as a strong candidate?
I take the public's trust seriously. I am committed to make decisions that reflect the best interest of students and the entire community. My slogan is "For Kids and Community."