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Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Monday, October 24, 2011

School Board Voter Guide: Linda A.Cohen

What previous educational experiences do you have? Where did you go to high school and college? What kind of degrees have you obtained?

Washburn High School, co-valedictorian; Wellesley College, graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a chemistry major; Master's degree in the History of Science from Harvard University; Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota. I think education can be life changing for young people--mine was--and I want to make sure that each Wayzata student has options and possibilities, based on a superb education.

What professional experience do you have?

I have been a teacher, administrator, chair of an extensive business-education partnership and then switching careers a psychologist--both therapist and working on organization development. I believe my extensinve experience in both education and psychology can bring expertise to the district and to the functioning of the board. I have first-hand knowledge of how important an effective teacher can be--and so will continue to encourage the outstanding professional develpment that our district already has.

What do you see as the greatest strengths in our district?

The greatest strength is perhaps the cooperation and collaborative approach of all the constituent groups:  parents and guardians, faculty and staff, administration and board, students--I will work tirelessly to see that those relationships continue.   Another great strength is our financial  stability despite difficult times, because of very prudent financial management by the board and administration--I'll work to continue that.

What do you see as the most pressing problem in our district?

Our greatest strength can become a weakness if we don't attend to it--so paying attention to all our constituents is very important.  We also need to address some facility issues, some buildings our at capacity.  We are looking at facilities now.

What specials strengths do you believe you would bring to the School Board?

I believe because of my life long interest in education--serving for close to 12 years on the Wayzata School Board and now also serving on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, currently as Chair of the Board of Regents--that I bring a lot of experience, expertise, and a somewhat unique perspective around education--in combination with my professional background in education and psychology --and that I would add a broad and deep understanding of many aspects of education.  I would utilize them in my deliberations to make the Wayzata school district even stronger and more excellent than it already is.

What do you see as the School Board member's role and responsibility in the effective administration of schools?

It is a Board member's role to "govern" and not manange the district.  That means to set policy, strategic direction and emphasis, approve budget items and be financially responsible, to hire and evaluate the Superintendent.  It does not mean to run the operations of the district, but to encourage the very able leadership team to do that.  I think because of my experience on many boards that I clearly see the distinction between governance and management.

If elected, what is the first issue you plan to address?

Ways to make an excellent district even stronger.

Anything else you would like to volunteer?

It would be my great pleasure to continue to serve the Wayzata Schools and our community for another term and to utilize a lot of my educational knowledge. It is my goal to have each and every student in the Wayzata schools have an excellent education.

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