JB Samuelson, 52, Auburn
Seat – DeKalb Central School Board overall
education — Lebanon Senior High School, Lebanon, 1985-1988; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, 1989-1992 Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
Work/Career Experience — Guardian Industries, Auburn, 1992-2006, process engineer, expansion project manager, shift supervisor, operations engineer, area manager; Hendrickson Truck Suspension, Kendallville, 2006 to present, Maintenance Manager, Extension Project Manager, Maintenance Manager, Operations Manager.
spouse/children – Susie Samuelson, wife, 51; Jacob Samuelson, son, 23; Emily Samuelson, daughter, 19.
hobbies — I enjoy watching and attending all kinds of sporting events.
Volunteer/Community Leadership — Coached various athletic teams at multiple levels at DeKalb High School and DeKalb Middle School; coaches in the Auburn Little League; coaches in the Auburn Girls Softball League; Committee Chair DeKalb Show Choir Invitational, four years.
Why are you running for school board?
I am running for school board because I want to give back to the community and school system something that has been so beneficial to me and my family.
What makes you the better/best candidate for the job?
I believe I have the experience to assist in the planning and launch of the Manufacturing Academy as well as expanding the Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings to meet the needs of the region. Given the recent labor shortage in Northeast Indiana, it is imperative that we continue to develop CTE and career opportunities and encourage our interested students to stay in the area to work in local businesses and factories. The Manufacturing Academy along with current and expanded CTE/career offerings will make this path real and available to all DCCUSD students.
Targets, if chosen?
Watch the Manufacturing Academy up to full operation; contribute to the expansion of the CTE/professional offer; further developing Advanced Placement (AP) offerings to ensure that the school system gives college-going students an advantage in their typically toughest early years of college; Work with administrators and staff to ensure we incorporate the values and characteristics of the “Portrait of a Baron” into our curricula and cultures across the district from Pre-K through 12; contribute to the district in a cooperative and professional manner.
What is the biggest challenge for your school district in the coming years?
Developing the curriculum, culture and reputation to attract and retain students/families to grow the district.
What can be done at the local level to retain and attract talented teachers?
Like any business location, schools have a personality and a culture. Most people want to work in a job they feel comfortable and challenged with, with core values that align with their own. In order to retain and attract talent at all levels, it is imperative to develop our district’s culture and build individual personalities that fit the type of teachers we desire for our students.
What can be done at the local level to solve the problem of the shortage of substitute teachers?
The most obvious incentive to recruit substitute teachers is the increase in salaries. DCCUSD must be competitive in terms of payment. To reward loyalty, substitute pay could be staggered by the number of days the person worked as a substitute teacher that school year; For example daily wage + $10 for 60-90 working days, daily wage + $20 for 91-120 working days, daily wage + $40 for >120 working days. A small price to pay to ensure the availability of substitute teachers could be an incentive for commitment to the district.
Do you think our schools are doing enough to improve school safety in today’s climate? If not, what else can you do?
After attending the district’s community safety meeting in August, it is evident that the district is doing what is necessary with physical changes and safety procedures. Local law enforcement and government have worked together to ensure all DeKalb County Central schools are up to date on school safety.
How should local schools address bullying issues within their walls and online?
Bullying has no place in our or any other school system. Bullying is counterproductive to the learning environment and needs to be addressed quickly and with the discipline required to correct the bad behavior. DeKalb County Central administrators, school teachers and support staff are highly trained in recognising, reporting and stopping bullying.
The problems facing our district are real. Finding solutions to these problems takes a group of leaders working together towards solutions, board, administrators, teachers and support staff, with no different underlying agendas. Disagreeing with the group’s decisions to disagree is unproductive and no longer holds anyone or anything accountable — it disagrees to disagree and isn’t good for students at DeKalb County Central United Schools.