Meet the School Board Candidates

Mary Nelson 

Name: Mary Nelson 

Bio: I am proud to say I’ve spent my entire life in the community. I am from the graduating class of 2002. I am married to Royce Nelson whom is the class of 2000. We have 2 children Emma (5th grade) and Roger “Bubba” (1st grade). I am recently medically retired from the UW Hospital and Clinics after 20 years, spending the last 10 years of my career in the American Family Children’s OR. Our family owns and operates Nelson Beef Farms LLC which has been a part of this community since 1938 as a family owned farm. I’ve been active in this community as a coach for the last 7 years. I’ve coached so many kids in T-ball, coach pitch, soccer, basketball and flag football. I’ve spent the last 5 years teaching church school and once again find myself actively involved in my kids local 4-H club which happens to be the same club I was active in. I’m also apart of many other activities in this community. 

Why are you running for a seat on the Mount Horeb Area Board of Education? 

Nelson: My efforts as a board member would center on serving all of the children in the community making an all-inclusive atmosphere for all children. 

Which qualities, skills and/or experiences make you the right candidate for the job?

Nelson: I’m hard-working, dedicated and driven. I believe I have what it takes to give back to make this school district even better than what is was Pre-COVID. I also bring a fresh perspective to what should be a well-rounded, community-minded School Board.

The past two years have been difficult for everyone, including children and teens in the Mount Horeb Area School District. What has the school district done right during the pandemic, and what should it do differently moving forward?

Nelson: No response. 

The physical toll of the COVID pandemic is clear and fairly easy to quantify. The long-term developmental, psychological and emotional damage caused by the pandemic (and the steps taken to try to fight it) are much harder to gauge. But it’s clear that people – particularly children – are increasingly isolated and fearful, and that learning outcomes have suffered, in Mount Horeb and across the country. How can the school board balance the risk of physical harm from COVID with the amorphous problems the fight against the pandemic can cause?

Nelson: No response. 

The local school district includes about 2,500 students and serves eight communities. It receives $30 million in funding annually, and receives 40 percent of the local tax bill. Talk about the current state of school funding, and your vision for its future? 

Nelson: No response. 

What, as you understand them, are the responsibilities of a local school board member? What is the scope of your responsibilities if elected? Local issues? County issues? State issues? National ones? 

Nelson: Support a responsive and receptive school board that is supportive to parents, staff, students, and the community at large, encouraging an open dialog and weighing all the facts before making a decision. 

Who are school board members elected to represent? With the complexities and problems of the pandemic thrust upon everyone in a way that was maddening for pretty much everyone, the community debated whose interests the school board should be looking out for, particularly because those interests do not always run in tandem. Students? Teachers? Parents? Taxpayers? 

Nelson: No response. 

What can the school board do to promote and protect local government transparency?

Nelson: No response. 

How do you define Critical Race Theory and what do you feel its role, if any, should be in the classroom?

Nelson: No response. 

If elected, what are your top priorities? 

Nelson: Support the creation of a long-term vision for the district, mapping a course that provides the necessary opportunities students need to reach their full potential. Support the board in establishing and maintaining a structure that supports this vision, empowers the staff, and provides leadership. 

What are the school district’s biggest challenges in 2022 and beyond? 

Nelson: Ensuring we have enough mental health resources available for students, staff and our community. Growth and expansion.

What role can/should local schools play in addressing mental health issues in the community? 

Nelson: Providing individual and group counseling. Evaluation and assessment. Crisis prevention and response such as suicide assessments and child maltreatment. Violence Prevention and Intervention. Conflict mediation. Social emotional learning standards, etc. 

What are the school district’s biggest challenges in 2022 and beyond? 

Nelson: No response. 

What are its greatest opportunities? 

Nelson: No response. 

Three years ago, the Mount Horeb Area School District completed work on $38.5 million in building expansions and upgrades approved and paid for through a voter referendum. It was the largest successful referendum in district history, and future referenda are currently in the works. What role should these ballot measures play in funding the district going forward? 

Nelson: No response. 

What is the district currently doing well? 

Nelson: No response. 

In what areas could it improve? 

Nelson: Increased funding for schools and educators; Improving student performance and ensuring students have the Opportunities for the higher education institution of their choice; Expanding special education; We need to have better communication between our school board and everyone in the system and community. 

In a very crowded field of candidates, what message would you like to make sure voters hear about you and the job you would do on the board if elected? 

Nelson: Working together we can all share in the knowledge and satisfaction that we have provided the educational needs of all children, and have built a district where students, parents, teachers, and staff feel they are welcome and that they belong.

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Mount Horeb Mail

114 East Main Street
Mount Horeb, WI

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