There are four candidates for three Minnetonka School Board positions up for election this year. This feature looks a John Holcomb.
What previous political experience do you have (including other governmental positions you’ve held, whether elected, appointed or volunteer)?
I am currently on the Minnetonka School Board serving as Director, Treasurer, Curriculum Advisor to the Vantage Program, and Board Representative to both CFAC and OPEB committees (District Finance and Retirement/Post-Employment Benefits
I have also had significant experience in civic engagement at both the state and federal level, engaging and educating lawmakers on a wide range of topics including education and healthcare. I am currently engaged with the National Governors Association on a Healthcare services project.
What other relevant experience do you have?
In addition to my current Board experience, I have been an active volunteer in the Minnetonka Schools for 6+ years, serving as a parent classroom volunteer, pancake breakfast and spaghetti dinner server in support of school functions, overnight zoo experience chaperone and forensics field trip sponsor. I have also been a Minnetonka Little League Head Coach for the last 3 years.
Outside this school district. I have led many volunteer events at underserved elementary schools around the Twin Cities metro area.
As a business professional, I am an advisor to the Dean at the University Of Toledo College Of Pharmacy. I have experience leading and working with global teams in China and India. I have also spent several years living in Florida, working in Miami and have seen first-hand the value in understanding world languages and cultures.
What is your occupation?
I am the Vice-President of Healthcare Operations for Target and have accountability for well over $1 billion in revenues and assets, for Target’s 1650 Pharmacies and 69 Retail clinics in 48 states.
Where did you go to school?
University of Toledo (Toledo, OH) — Bachelors of Science in Pharmacy, 1990
University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School of Business
- Healthcare Executive Education - 2006
- Advanced coursework in key leadership, negotiation and strategic competencies
How old are you (optional)? 46
Do you have a spouse, children or any other family members you’d like to tell voters about?
I am married to Kelly and we have 2 children, Brian (11) and Michael (11). Brian and Michael have attended ECFE, Ready Start K, Minnewashta and Excelsior Elementary Schools and now attend MMW. They have participated in many programs through Minnetonka Community Ed. As a family, we enjoy many outdoor sports and activities, including cycling as a family on the many trails around the Twin Cities
What are your campaign goals?
There are 4 things that I would like to accomplish in my campaign this year:
- Create additional opportunities to meet new parents, residents and families to understand their perspective on how we are doing as a district, what we can do better, and where we are excelling and should continue our focus. Through my current board role, committee assignments, volunteer activities, and sports coaching, I get a lot of input, but realize there are still many stakeholders that I do not hear from on a regular basis and want to make sure their voice is represented. For a list of my scheduled meet and greets in the community, please visit my website at Electjohn4tonka.com and the Events tab
- Provide insight into our strategies and goals as a board and as a district and help explain the whys and the research behind many of our initiatives.
- Share with the public how my unique vantage point of a district parent, current School Board Member, University advisor, and executive at an employer with global reach are used to help guide our district. My focus is to ensure that each student has the tools, resources and curriculum to reach their highest potential today, and we are strategically investing in programs and technology that will best prepare our students for tomorrow.
- Gain the public trust and vote to be elected on Nov 5th to continue my service to the district
What issues are you most focused on?
- Strategically, There are 2 areas that require ongoing focus as a district and where I invest my attention as a Treasurer and Board Member: financial stability, and a curriculum that meets the changing needs of today’s learners.
- From the financial perspective, I work with the administration to ensure we are able to both invest in assets that bring long term benefit to our district while also protecting us from unanticipated state funding changes.
- From the curriculum perspective, today’s tech savvy learners need the right tools and course structure to ensure that they get the most out of their educational experience. The “IPad”, “Flipped Classrooms” and “Vantage” programs are examples of ways that we are advancing tools and course options to best prepare our students.
- Tactically, I am hearing a lot from parents this fall about how the Skyward platform is causing a lot of confusion at their homes as it is not clear what assignments are truly missing vs what have not yet been entered by the teacher. This results in the system calculating a potentially lower grade for the student than they are actually achieving. I will be working with the administration to ensure that our user experience is great for our parents and builds trust in the system.
Why should voters choose you?
I am running to retain my seat on the School Board as I love what I do, and I believe that I have a lot to offer in service to our school district. More importantly, I am a beneficiary of and an advocate for the public education system. I am passionate about the results that a public school system, with great teachers and engaged parents can deliver. I believe that I bring a unique perspective to the board that encompasses the current and future needs of our education system. As a Minnetonka School Board Member, I have been able to leverage my vantage point described above to understand how our district can best prepare our kids for success in life. Through these lenses, I have guided the district to strategically balance our focus to ensure that all children in our schools have the support and resources to reach their highest potential today, while thoughtfully investing in innovative programs that will best prepare our students of tomorrow. I look forward to being able to continue that service in 2014.