Name: Greg Ingle
Occupation: Retired family physician Prairie City
1. Please introduce yourself and explain why you are running for school board.
I’ve lived my entire life excepting one year in Prairie City graduating from Prairie city Community Schools in 1971. I then attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa for three years followed by the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (now Des Moines University) receiving my doctorate in osteopathic medicine in 1977.
In 1973, I married Maggie and our 50 years of marriage has been blessed with two sons and 1 daughter as well as 7 grandchildren all of whom attended or are attending PCM and live in the immediate vicinity.
In 1978, I completed a rotating internship at Des Moines General Hospital and then began solo family practice in Prairie City in 1978 converting the old Samson floor covering store into my clinic. That business grew to at one time having six different clinics in addition to Prairie City with 30+ employees before paring back down to just Prairie City. So over time I’ve headed multiple corporations and served multiple times as Des Moines General Hospital Chief of Staff.
Having previously served on the Prairie City Community School’s Board of Directors and now having served over 10 years on the PCM Board, I continue to see the need for measured and wise decisions as schools find themselves under pressure from multiple arenas. Hopefully, my experience will continue to be beneficial to the school and the community which has been so good to me and my family.
2. What’s the best quality of PCM Schools? What can we improve on?
Prairie City Monroe schools finds itself very blessed with good facilities and a strong tradition of striving for excellence. Our relatively small class sizes hopefully allows for more individual attention and control in the educational process. We have personnel who really do care about childrens’ education. Our location 20-30 miles from the state capital lends itself to new people and opportunities to move into our communities.
All school districts can improve and are forced to change with time, circumstances, and politics. PCM is no exception. While obviously as a doctor I strongly support a curriculum preparing for college, I do fear we have not done as much as we should to prepare folks just for life in general. College is increasingly a huge expense with little return in actual job preparedness. We need to be equally proud and dedicated to all students who put in the effort and grow as human beings. Who’s to be honored more: the student who naturally and easily does something well or the student who works extremely hard to attain a comparatively lesser level of achievement?
We need to offer more programs for students to be exposed to the various trades for them to be able to determine their own aptitudes and interests earlier so as to be able to prepare for those opportunities.
3. What challenges do you see in public schools and how do you propose to address them?
Schools are being challenged with financial concerns primarily due to uncertainties of revenue and ever changing levels of state and federal funding with the accompanying never ending regulations of what specific moneys can be spent for. We have experienced these hard times and made the tough decisions in the past. While we are now in an excellent financial condition, we need to remain controlled and steady in managing our finances. I personally do not want any of those decisions to be hurried or feel pressured in financial decisions.
Schools tend to become communities unto themselves. We must remember that while our job is to provide the best total education we can to our students, the community, parents, and taxpayers are our ultimate customers. They must be respected and communicated with as our controlling stockholders. The school is not an island unaffected by fads, trends, the economy, or even politics. For success, all parties have to be carefully considered.
4. Where would you like to see PCM grow?
We need to continue to educate all fringes of the student spectrum: from college bound to special needs and from brilliant to challenged.
We also need to explore ways to educate our children and give them opportunity to dream, to think, and to communicate. They need to know how to make conversation with someone. They need to know how to express their views without disrespecting an opposing view. They need to develop a belief system that will help guide all subsequent life decisions.
We need robust and innovative vocational programs.
I believe we should continue to upgrade and maintain our facilities with an eye to all students and factors including possible changes in education itself. Our priorities should be set in advance and followed unless new factors arise.
5. What is a parent’s role in the education system?
While I know it can be very frustrating for educators when a small number of parents are totally disengaged, it is important that we not forget that we are a school designed to educate students. Those students are in no way ours, or the state’s, or the nation’s. They are their parents’ children and parent have the right to interact with and control what their children are taught and exposed to. We cannot expect parents to engage if they feel decisions are predetermined despite their opinions. They ultimately pay our bills and provide our clients (students).
Society and the government have continued to add responsibilities to our school personnel in addition to teaching many times without accompanying funding. We find ourselves involved with peoples’ finances, physical help, mental health, etc.. In my opinion while the school should assist at times they are inadequately equipped to be first in line in many areas. Their job is education.
We need to make the communication between parents and the school open, honest, and easy. In some ways board members are the parents’ and public’s ombudsman carrying their concerns, fears, and worries to the school when they are unwilling or unable. All concerns should be addressed promptly for all parties with a reasonable resolution acceptable to all.
6. What other school issues are you most passionate about?
I am a conservative and believe the fundamental beliefs and truths our community, churches, state, and nation were founded on are still appropriate, well worth defending and teaching our students. Fringe beliefs should be tolerated and not discriminated against in the school setting. On the other hand, they should not be elevated to be a central theme or issue if they really are fringe. A minority opinion should always be respected but never artificially elevated to be equal or superior to the majority.
I do believe all need to be honest and open in their opinions. Very seldom is something being hidden positive for either or both parties involved.
I respectfully request your vote to continue serving on the PCM Board of Education with some measure of the Board experience and hopefully accompanying wisdom benefitting all.