There are four candidates for three Minnetonka School Board positions up for election this year. This feature looks at Deirdre Keller–Zucker.
What previous political experience do you have (including other governmental positions you’ve held, whether elected, appointed or volunteer)?
I have over 20+ years’ experience in successfully leading teams, setting and achieving goals and driving consensus in the private sector. My public sector experience includes volunteering in a number of organizations to promote education, financial literacy and health.
The School Board election is unlike other political offices. It is a non-partisan position. It should not focus on the partisan issues that divide us but rather on what unites us, and that is the betterment of our children and community through education.
What other relevant experience do you have?
My work experience, school district experience and education-focused volunteerism qualify me to serve you as a member of the Minnetonka School Board. At both Dell and UnitedHealthGroup I have led teams in developing and bringing new products to market. This involved understanding stakeholders’ positions, setting objectives, creating strategies and implementing tactics all while staying within financial boundaries. This parallels the School Board position with its own set of stakeholders whose positions need to be considered when evaluating and bringing new programs to the community, all while staying within budget.
My appreciation for the complexities of implementing new programs led directly to my involvement in the Minnetonka Innovation Team. Through this work, I have had the opportunity to engage in new initiatives across the entire Minnetonka School District. The range of innovative ideas spans from Community Education and Staff Development to new learning models (flipped classroom, Vantage Program, etc.).
Equally important as my work experience is my role as a parent to elementary and middle school students. I can appreciate other parent’s perspectives on today’s classrooms because I’m going through the same thing myself. My well-rounded view of our community and our school district includes volunteering at the school (PTA, Class Parent, Playground and Talent Show volunteer), volunteering in the community (Junior Achievement, Vail Place, Feed My Starving Children, American Heart Association), and being a tax paying member of our community.
What is your occupation?
I am a Senior Vice President of Product at UnitedHealth Group in the Optum Division. My occupation enables me to focus on the mission to help people live healthier lives. My reputation is built on strong general management, financial and team leadership skills.
- UnitedHealth Group Vice President 10+ years
- Dell Inc. Marketing and New Business Development
- Toyota Motor Sales
Where did you go to school?
The public education system laid the foundation for my formal education.
- University of Michigan, MBA focused on Strategy and Finance
- University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School – Executive Leadership Certificate through UnitedHealthGroup’s Executive Development Program
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – Economics International Areas Studies
How old are you (optional)? 46
Do you have a spouse, children or any other family members you’d like to tell voters about?
My husband, Hank, and I live in Minnetonka with our two daughters, Alexis and Dana. Alexis attends Minnetonka Middle School East and Dana attends Deephaven Elementary. Alexis entered kindergarten the year the combined traditional/immersion model was introduced. With children in 3rd and 6th grade, our family experiences the benefits and constraints of the combined immersion/traditional model. As a family we appreciate the choices and opportunities provided by the new model and understand the concerns brought on by the change.
What are your campaign goals?
Build relationships across the district to best serve our children, tax payers and community.
Please share your thoughts by visiting www.Deirdre4Tonka.com or by emailing Deirdre4Tonka@earthlink.net
What issues are you most focused on?
A high-performing educational system is the foundation of a healthy, vibrant community. Our nationally ranked district is the outcome of a strong vision, determination, innovation, and sound investments.
Sustaining that excellence requires an open mind to what best serves our community and benefits our children. As a School Board member, I will ensure Sustainable Excellence by:
- Inspiring and supporting all students
- Attracting, developing and retaining the highest quality teachers, para professionals and administrators.
- Embracing child-centered Innovation
- Promoting financial stewardship
Why should voters choose you?
To sustain the
high performance expected by our community, the Board needs a firm
grasp of and experience in the changing world of education. It also
needs sound financial acumen and the ability to work in a team
environment on behalf of our community and the children we serve.
My experience, passion and volunteerism in education qualify me to serve you as a member of the Minnetonka School Board. With over 20 years of experience working in the private sector and volunteering to promote education, I have the skills and business acumen to set and meet goals in a team environment.
I bring to the board a fresh perspective given my personal experience as a parent of a current elementary and middle school student coupled with my involvement on the Minnetonka Innovation Guiding Team.
Sustaining the high level of excellence in education that we have become accustomed to in Minnetonka requires us to focus on what best serves our community and benefits our children. Taking this to heart, in lieu of campaign contributions, I’m requesting donations be made directly to your local PTA/PTO or to the Minnetonka Public Schools Foundation at http://www.minnetonkafoundation.com/ .