Name: Brent Fridley
Occupation: Client Technology Development Supervisor
1. Please introduce yourself and explain why you are running for school board.
I grew up in Hampton, Iowa and graduated from Hampton-Dumont high school in 1999. I then attended Central College and graduated in 2004. I have worked at ITA Group for the past 15 years and am a supervisor in our client technology department. My wife Stacy and I have lived in Prairie City for the past 16 years where we raise our three kids. All three are currently in the PCM school district with one in elementary, one in middle school and one in high school which gives me a unique perspective as a parent with a child in each school .One of the main reasons we moved to Prairie City was because we believe in raising our kids in a school district that provides a quality education with small class sizes while also allowing them the opportunity to be involved in various activities. This has certainly been our experience at PCM and we absolutely love being Mustangs!
I’m running for school board because I want PCM to be a model school district that other districts want to emulate. I feel we have some positive momentum building toward this objective and if I’m elected, I would look forward to serving on the school board to help guide us toward this goal. I believe our students deserve the best education we can provide.I also believe they deserve to have opportunities to flourish in fine arts, athletics and organizational clubs. Serving your community is something I’m passionate about and this would be another great opportunity for me to continue doing this.
2. What’s the best quality of PCM schools? What can the district improve on?
There are many qualities I could list but I think one of the best qualities I see in the PCM school district is the amount of pride our students, parents and faculty have in our schools. It’s always amazing to me to see the number of people from the community that volunteer their time to support fundraising opportunities for schools or clubs, attend athletic events and fine arts performances.
One area I think we can improve is the educational opportunities we provide our students. I’d love to see PCM expand the programming offerings for middle school and high school students.Specifically expanding the choices or enhancing opportunities for exploratory or elective classes like computer science, foreign languages, robotics, industrial technology and family and consumer science. I think it’s important to set our students up for success in whatever their next step beyond high school is and I feel we can do this by exposing them to courses or programming that gives them experiences in areas they are passionate about.
I also believe we need to improve our facilities. I’ve been fortunate to serve along with other community members on a facility committee over the past couple years.This has provided me insight into several areas we need to improve in order to meet the needs of our students and staff. I’ve had the opportunity to tour our facilities, as well as many other school districts to see what innovative ways they are utilizing spaces to meet the needs of students.Part ofPCM school district’s current strategic plan includes providing and maintaining state-of-the-art facilities and this is an area where we can certainly improve.
3. What challenges do you see in public schools and how to you propose to address them?
One of the biggest challenges is the changes in school choice. I firmly believe public money belongs in public schools and it will be interesting to see how these changes play out from a fiscal standpoint over the course of the next several years. Because of recent open enrollment legislative changes, public schools now also have to be prepared to handle both new students enrolling at any point in the year or leaving during the school year. I feel this puts even more emphasis on making sure PCM is a school of choice for students and parents in our area.
4. Where would you like to see PCM grow?
I’d like to see all of our PCM schools Iowa School Performance profiles be at the High Performing or Exceptional rating. As of now all of our schools are below the High Performing level but I think it’s well within our ability to meet this goal if we continue to work together as a district team.
5. What is a parent’s role in the educational system?
I believe parents play a vital role in education and their involvement is an important piece of their student’s success. I feel parents are part of the education team and input from parents should be valued and considered when making decisions. I also believe parents should be advocates for their children’s education needs and can do this by working with teachers and administration but it should be a collaborative effort. At the end of the day, parents should be informed about how decisions are made and how their input is considered when making decisions for their child’s education.
6. What other school issues are you most passionate about?
Along with what I’ve previously mentioned, I am passionate about developing and executing on both short term and long-term plans. There has to be collaboration with all stakeholders to make this happen.That includes the community, student’s families, teachers, staff and administration. I also think it’s also very important to make fiscally responsible decisions when executing on the plan while ensuring stakeholders are informed of key initiatives through various forms of communication. Overall, I want to help provide the best educational opportunities in our area, setting our students up for success and preparing them for life beyond PCM.