The County-Journal | Flashes News sent around a questionnaire for the Eaton Rapids School Board candidates. Here is the text Wesley R. Elsberry submitted for publication. This should appear in their update this week.
Name: Wesley R. Elsberry
Occupation: Data Scientist
Family: Spouse: Diane J. Blackwood, Ph.D., staff at Michigan State University; no children
Why are you running for this position?
I am running for ERPS Board of Education membership as a matter of civic service, giving back something to my community.
What makes you qualified to represent the citizens?
I have training in life sciences and computer science, through an earned doctorate, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Michigan State University. I passed the Florida Teacher’s Certification exam in 1982. I taught undergraduates at Texas A&M University and Washington State University Tri-Cities, and seniors via the Lifelong Learning Academy in Sarasota, Florida. I have work experience in two trades (surveying and photography), plus jobs in research (medical, veterinary, and marine biology), industry (aerospace, Department of Energy paragraph 16(b) military contracts, and multi-family real estate management), government (Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission research), and non-profit (public K12 science education advocacy with the National Center for Science Education (NCSE)) contexts. I have experience with “citizens for science” non-profits in Florida and Michigan, and head the TalkOrigins Archive Foundation. I bring knowledge of various legal risks that school boards may face. While at the NCSE, I was a consultant to the plaintiffs in a 2005 constitutional law case in Pennsylania, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, over the attempted intrusion of religious antievolution into public school science curricula there. The plaintiffs prevailed, and all the school board incumbents lost in the election after the trial portion of the case. See PBS NOVA’s “Judgment Day” episode about the case.
What are three key concerns facing your district and how can they be addressed?
The three that seem key to me are curriculum changes, safety issues (pandemic and risk of attack), and assuring a fair learning environment for all students (including internet access issues). Addressing these helps create ‘future-ready’ education, that is, education that equips the K12 graduate with more than basic literacy, and provides preparation for our students to be able to adapt to the changing conditions brought on by the myriad problems we are saddling them with, but also education that enables as many as possible to contribute to solving those problems. Integrated science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum approaches are a likely best path forward in support of future-ready education. Using the past and scientific guidance to identify effective responses on safety issues of all sorts makes the most sense to me. Internet access will require other levels of government beyond just the school board.
How can people learn more about you and your campaign?
My campaign website is http://wreerpsschoolboard2020.bwng.us
My life is more public than most; Google search for ‘wesley elsberry’ currently brings up 413,000 hits, and most of those are for me. Start with my campaign site, then the Wikipedia article on me, and have a look at the http://bwng.us links page. I am also on LinkedIn, Facebook, MeWe, and Twitter (@welsberr) for social media.