Voters guide: State College Area Board of School Directors

All candidates were asked to respond to the following question:

What are your three top priorities for this position?

State College Area Board of School Directors

Term: Four years


Amy Bader

Date of birth: Feb. 3, 1972

Education: 1994, Temple University, B.A.; 1995, Temple University, M.A.; 1999, University of Pennsylvania, VMD.

Occupation: Photographer

Qualifications: Five years practicing small animal veterinarian; four years small-business owner; 2.5 years board member of nonprofit preschool. Concerned citizen with three children in the district.

Answer to question: 1. To work in collaboration with the board and administration to maintain the school district’s mission in providing a quality education for our children during the phases of the high school project. 2. To maintain a fiscally responsible budget while completing the high school project, as well as ongoing capital improvements. 3. To continue to critically evaluate our curriculum andmethods of education to ensure our district provides a stellar education to our students.

Gretchen Brandt

Campaign website: Brandt-for-State-College-Area-School-District-Board-of- Directors/843268662376608?fref=ts

Date of birth: Dec. 20, 1973

Education: 1997, University of Colorado at Boulder, B.A; 2000, Central Michigan University, M.P.A.; 2000-2006 graduate work in political science (American politics) at Penn State.

Occupation: Stay-at-home mother; accredited La Leche League leader

Qualifications: Visiting assistant professor, Bucknell University, 2006; master’s in public administration, 2000; grant writer for the city of Cadillac, Mich., 2000.

Answer to question: 1. The education of students — That the district continues to provide a top notch, future thinking education that enables students to compete in a global economy. 2. Transparency and open communication — That the district is open to citizen and parent input and makes decisions accordingly. As a board member, I would consider myself a representative to constituents in the district, and am prepared to communicate constituent input to administration. 3. Safety of students — That students are safe both physically and mentally and feel connected to their school and the adults who work in that school.

Amber Concepcion

Date of birth: March 25, 1979

Education: 1997, State College Area H.S.; 2001, Penn State Schreyer Honors College, B.A. political science; 2007, Georgetown University, M.A. government; doctoral student, international relations, Georgetown University, six years.

Occupation: Web development business, Concepcion Design LLC.

Qualifications: Board president, current; board vice president, two years; board member, four years; parent of three children in SCASD.

Answer to question: As a board member, my priority is to support the school district’s mission, “to prepare students for lifelong success through excellence in education.” The board can support this mission by setting high expectations for our educational programs, through careful multiyear financial planning for sustainability, and by providing appropriate facilities for our students and staff. Looking down the road to anticipate needs in these areas is an important component of a board member’s role, as is promoting community engagement in key decisions related to the district’s future.

Daniel Duffy

Date of birth: Nov. 2, 1949

Education: St. Joseph’s University, B.S. psychology, 1971; Penn State, M.S. school psychology, 1974; Penn State, D.Ed. school psychology, 1983.

Occupation: Retired school psychologist

Qualifications: School psychologist for 26 years. Pennsylvania Department of Education affiliated program specialist and consultant, nine years. President, Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, one year. Harris Township Planning Commission, one year.

Answer to question: First, the construction program for the new high school should ensure the least disruption in programs, while providing attention to safety. Construction is bound to produce noise, but there is no room for error in assuring everyone’s personal safety, 24/7. Secondly, we need to review the renovation of older schools while also implementing past plans that provide facilities needed by our scholastic athletes. Finally, we must fund our public schools responsibly. Our schools help build productive and fulfilling futures for our children, serve as a kickstarter for our local economy, and are a loom for our community’s social fabric.

Laurel Zydney

Date of birth: Jan. 30, 1962

Education: Public schools K-12 (DC, TX, NY, Germany); 1982, Yale, B.A./history.

Occupation: Homemaker

Qualifications:COMMUNITY: St. Andrew’s Church; WPSU Folk Show (DJ); Congregation Brit Shalom; PSU Women’s Club (newsletter editor); SCASD BOARD: elected 2011; Culture, Climate, Learning subcommittee; Facilities subcommittee; School Safety CAC; Intermediate Unit representative; Children: SCAHS 2003 & 2007; MNMS.

Answer to question: My priorities are to ensure SCASD offers every student a range of academic and extracurricular opportunities to learn, explore, be challenged, enjoy, and is proactive in evaluating student needs and parental wishes to provide programs that will ensure parents will choose SCASD; use district resources efficiently to provide excellent learning environment for students and work environment for employees and consider financial impact of decisions on community; and be a liaison between district and community — students, parents, district employees and other citizens — so decisions and strategic/long-range planning focus on student needs and reflect public input and priorities.