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District 833 School Board candidate: Steve Lagoon

Name: Steve Lagoon

Age: 54

City: Cottage Grove

Occupation: Substitute teacher; part-time work for Delta Global Services at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Family: Married 32 years, six children, two still at home.

How do your skills or experience set you apart as a candidate?

I have taught in many Twin Cities and western Wisconsin school districts, including public, charter, and private Christian schools and in inner city, suburban, and rural schools. I have been a special Ed and classroom teacher at every grade level and have taught at every school in the South Washington County School District. These experiences have provided me with a unique insight that will prove invaluable for my service on the school board.

What do you believe the school board can do to narrow academic achievement gaps?

To begin with, children need a safe and orderly learning environment to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, we have a growing problem of disruptive, disrespectful, and even violent behavior that is poisoning our classrooms. This diverts the energy and focus of teachers away from their primary mission of teaching.

We must impose greater discipline and accountability for such behavior, taking back the classroom for the success of our students.

We will improve the educational results of all students, and make great progress in closing the achievement gap, by holding all students to high expectations and then giving them the tools to achieve excellence.

Is the budget and school funding the biggest challenge facing the district?

Of course school budgets are always important, and I intend to be the taxpayer's watchdog, ensuring that their tax dollars are not wasted on frivolous diversions.

But I believe that biggest challenge facing our district is the epidemic of out-of-control behavior in our classrooms. I believe we need to take back our classrooms, no longer tolerating behavior that disrupts the ability of teachers to teach and children to learn.