Name: Derek Dauel
Occupation: Development coordinator, York County Development Corporation
Q: What prompted you to file your candidacy for a seat on the York Public Board of Education?
A: The York Public School District has been a big part of my life. My mother has been employed with York Public Schools for the last 20 years as a paraprofessional. My brother and I both graduated from York, in 2006 and 2010, respectively.
I have served three years on the York Public Schools Foundation and during that time I have learned not only about the Foundation but also about the Board of Education. I have taken opportunities to sit down with both present and former board members to learn about the purpose and function of the board. I believe this is another avenue for me to continue to help a school district which has given me so much.
Q: What skills, talents, experience and abilities do you possess which would be positives in the role of being a school board member? Please include your educational and vocational background, as well as involvements.
A: I believe one of my main skills that would be beneficial for this role is that I am an active listener. I strive to listen first so that I understand all sides of an issue and then add verbal input when I have a viewpoint that will be beneficial to share. I am an effective communicator when I need to explain my views or to be a facilitator to help move along the conversation. I think this is a very important skill to possess when interacting with both other board members and members of the public. I also believe I work well in groups which will be necessary to help ensure the continued success of the York Public School’s Board of Education.
Some pertinent experiences that will help me in this role are being a current board member for the York Public Schools Foundation, the York Association of the United States Bowling Congress, the Nebraska Chapter of Delta Upsilon Housing Corporation, Renewed Horizon in York (foster care/adoption/family services) and York Young Professionals. Additionally, I am the current treasurer of the alumni advisory association for the Nebraska Chapter of Delta Upsilon.
Also: York High School graduate (2010); University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate (bachelor of journalism, 2015); expansion consultant, Delta Upsilon International Fraternity; Development Coordinator, York County Development Corporation; TeamMates program mentor; York Young Professionals member; York Sunrise Sertoma member; Elks Lodge #1024 member; York Gun Club member.
Q: What do you want to see for the present – and in the future – for the York School District?
A: In the present for York Public Schools, I would like to see the continued success of our students, teachers, faculty and administration. I believe we have one of the best schools – top to bottom – in the state and I would like for us to keep pushing to remain the best. We have developed programs that cater to our students’ interests and learning experience. We have phenomenal staff with tremendous passion that are helping our administrators make those programs a reality.
For the future, we need to keep empowering our teachers to push the boundaries of our students’ learning experience. We need to keep providing our teachers with the tools they need to best educate the young minds of our community. We need to continue expanding education to children in the Pre-K age group. For every $1 invested into high quality childhood education, society gains nearly $7 in economic returns; it’s our best investment. (First Five Years Fund, ffyf.org).
Q: Do you feel the school district has been financial sound, fiscally responsible and are there improvements to be made?
A: Yes, I do believe the school district has been financially sound and fiscally responsible. As we saw from both our past and present superintendents, YPS has been a leader in terms of transparency of public school finances and explaining the reason for budget cuts over the years. I support the past decisions of our current board and its members, Superintendent Dr. Mitch Bartholomew and all of the YPS faculty and staff.
Q: This past year has been a challenge for all school districts, to say the least, due to COVID-19. Do you believe the district has adequately responded to this unprecedented situation? Do you think some things could have been handled differently? What do you think school districts should plan for into the future, as the pandemic continues?
A: I believe the school district adequately responded to this situation. The district has been and continues to be very forthcoming and transparent about the decisions being made, which is all we can ask for in a situation that is so fluid. I believe our school district and our administrative team did the best job they could handling this and I would not have asked that they change anything. I believe our school district should continue to follow the lead of the Four Corners Health Department. I believe if we listen to our local experts, we will continue to remain in a good place as the pandemic continues, without sacrificing the health or education of our students and staff.
Q: What are the most positive aspects about children being educated in the York School District?
A: I believe one of the positive aspects about children being educated in the York Public School District is the teachers. When I think back about my own experience, I have memories at every level of different teachers. Memories of teachers caring for me when they heard a relative died. Memories of teachers and coaches pushing me to try harder because they saw what I couldn’t. Memories of teachers and coaches telling me what I needed to hear, not necessarily what I wanted to hear. Our teachers and faculty are what make our school district what it is.
Another one of the positive aspects about children being educated in York Public Schools is the support our students get from our community. I believe this support teaches our students passion. I say passion because I don’t know what else you call it when a community lines the sidewalks as wrestlers, actors and actresses, mock trial-ers or footballers leave town for a state competition. The support our students receive from our community members is something that makes me proud to be from York, Nebraska.
Q: Are there any specific projects you feel should be undertaken in the near or far future?
A: I believe that the board needs to continue expanding education for our children in the Pre-K age group. I believe that the first five years of a child’s development are crucial to their success over the next 13-plus years of school, which feeds into their potential for success the rest of their adult lives.
Q: If elected, what would you like to see accomplished within the school district in the next four years?
A: I have no agenda coming into this campaign. I want to see the continued success and growth of our community and school district. I believe the board needs to continue to support public schools, I believe the board needs to continue conversations with the legislature to fix the funding issue that continues to hang over public education and I believe the board needs to continue exploring programs and strategies that will continue to make York Public Schools one of the best districts in the state.
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