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Spring Grove School Board candidates focused on community

SPRING GROVE — With four candidates vying for three spots on the Spring Grove School Board, the voters will be selecting from a pool of individuals focused on the small community in their own way.

With a son in elementary school, Brad Hernandez said he's invested in Spring Grove's future for the long haul. As such, he hopes the board will spend time asking questions of the students and the community to help guide the decisions it makes.

"I think it is important for the school board members to be involved with the students and staff on a frequent basis," Hernandez said. "Ask questions and obtain a better understanding of the day-to-day operation of the school to strategize short- and long-term goals."

Being involved in the school is all part of Shannon Schuttemeier's life. Treasurer of Spring Grove Athletic Boosters and a member of the school's Music Boosters, Schuttemeier said she has already been part of an exciting time on the school board.

"We have implemented a one-on-one laptop program for our seventh- through 12th-graders," she said. "We have added iPads to all of our K-6 classrooms." Making strides in technology is all about giving the students opportunities and options. That includes Smartboards in classrooms and a STEM program.


"I will also continue to make fiscally responsible decisions so Spring Grove schools remain sustainable and viable indefinitely," she said.

The computers in the middle school and high school are an achievement of which Kristy Folz is particularly proud. While not an incumbent, Folz did spend 10 years on the school board in the past.

"That was one of my pet projects," she said, referring to the computers. "I worked very closely with the technology. That's what they are going to use when they grow up, and that's what they need to learn."

Folz said her top issue today is consistency within the district. While the school board does a good job generally, she said, there are instances when not everyone is treated the same.

"Students must be disciplined the same," Folz said. "Teachers must be hired and fired equally."

That said, the school has done a fine job of turning out young adults who are ready for life.

"I just want to make sure our school continues to excel," she said.

While Thomas Trehus does not have any children of his own, as an uncle he said he is concerned about education for today's students.


Trehus, a former staffer for Sen. Al Franken, said he hopes to work at the local level where real changes are made in government.

"I want to continue to provide current students with the opportunities I was afforded at Spring Grove Public Schools while examining what we can do better to improve outcomes," he said. "Education policy and our entire economy is going through a major changes, SGPS needs to remain ahead of the curve."

Preparing new students for school and offering more after-school and extra-curricular programs is vital, Trehus said. And the school should offer a healthy environment, from the food it serves to the safe environment it provides.

Kristy Folz

Age: 44

Residence: Spring Grove

Education: Hillsboro, N.D., high school

Occupation: Manager at Napa Auto Parts and Spring Grove Ambulance


Family: Husband, Paul, and three children

Political experience: 10 years of previous Spring Grove School Board experience

Brad Hernandez

Age: 43

Residence: Spring Grove

Education: Associate's degree in network security, bachelor's degree in computer science, masters in information security and assurance

Occupation: Metro Ethernet Operations, CenturyLink in La Crosse, Wis.

Family: One son


Political experience: None

Top issue in the race: Focus on the students

Shannon Schuttemeier

Age: 42

Residence: Near Spring Grove

Education: Graduated from Kee High School, Lansing, Iowa, cosmetology degree from Winona Tech College

Occupation: Self-employed cosmetologist and an accountant for De Su Holsteins LLC

Family: Husband, Bruce, three sons


Political experience: None

Top issue: Fiscal responsibility

Thomas Trehus

Age: 24

Residence: Spring Grove

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, University of Minnesota

Occupation: Project administrator at Minnowa Construction, Inc.

Family: Single


Political experience: Former staff in the office of Sen. Al Franken.

Top issue: Electing an independent school board

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