There are four candidates for three Minnetonka School Board positions up for election this year. This feature looks at incumbent Pam Langseth.
What previous political experience do you have (including other governmental positions you’ve held, whether elected, appointed or volunteer)?
I was fortunate to be elected to the Minnetonka School Board in 2005 and re-elected in 2009 by our community. I have served 8 years on the Board in the roles of Board Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Clerk and Director.
What other relevant experience do you have?
From an education perspective, I have served the Minnetonka School District in many roles and have also served at the Twin Cities level as a Board member for the Association of Metropolitan School Districts. I describe this in more detail below.
Professionally, I am currently the Executive Director of Social Venture Partners, an organization dedicated to supporting non profit organizations that serve at risk youth in the Twin Cities. In addition, I have been President of Juut Holdings, Director of Innovation for Best Buy, and have held several leadership and managerial roles at Dayton Hudson. My professional experience has provided me with insight and experience in leading groups, collaborating with many people and opinions, creating and achieving strategic plans, running profitable businesses, and developing and integrating innovative solutions to grow business and organizations. All of these experiences are relevant to and have prepared me well to serve on the Board.
In Minnetonka, my experience ranges from parent and classroom volunteer to Citizens Finance Advisory Committee Board Liason to Chair of the Referendum Campaigns. Below is a list of my involvement. Through all of these activities, I have gained an enormous appreciation for the outstanding staff in our schools, great insight on the needs of our students and desires of our parents, and a significant amount of experience and understanding on what it takes to provide quality, world class education for each student in our system.
- Minnetonka School Board: 2006 to present: Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Clerk and Director
- Citizens Finance Advisory Committee
- OPEB Advisory Committee
- Excelsior Elementary PTO President
- MMW PTA Treasurer
- Chair, Quality Academics Referendum Campaigns 2001, 2002
- Strategic Planning Committee and Action Planning Team Chair
- Co-Chair, 2006 High School Graduation Party
- Tonka Pride Committee
- Minnetonka Public Schools DreamMakers Dinner Committee
As a Board member and past Chair of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) I have built relationships with the leaders of public education along with the issues and solutions facing public schools across the Twin Cities. Through this experience I have learned how fortunate we are in Minnetonka to have been able to preserve and grow our educational offering while almost every other school district in the state has had to make budget cuts resulting in higher class sizes and reduced program offerings. I have spent the past four years at AMSD, two of them as Chair of the Board. This experience provides me with great insight on educational issues in the Twin Cities along with many contacts with key educators and policy makers in our state.
What is your occupation?
I am currently the Executive Director of Social Venture Partners. www.svpmn.org. We are an organization that utilizes venture capital and consulting models to help promising nonprofits focused on at risk youth to grow. My previous experiences are as President of Juut Holdings, Inc a $28M beauty company with over 400 employees; as Director of Innovation for Best Buy; and many roles at the Dayton Hudson Corporation including Senior Buyer and Human Resources Generalist. I made the shift from the "for profit world" to the "non profit world" earlier this year as I want to spend more of my time giving back and making a difference for our community.
Where did you go to school?
I graduated from St Louis Park High School after spending my entire school experience in the Park system. I attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business.
How old are you? 54
Do you have a spouse, children or any other family members you’d like to tell voters about?
My husband Tom and I have been married for 32 years. Tom works for Allianz Life in Golden Valley. Together we have three sons, all graduates of Minnetonka High School. Danny,married to Morgan, and Michael are all graduates of St Olaf College. Tipper is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering. We are lucky parents to have all of our children living in the Twin Cities.
What are your campaign goals?
My campaign goals are to be re-elected to the Minnetonka School Board for a third time. Through meeting with community members, hearing and talking about their hopes, dreams, and questions about our District, I hope to earn their support and vote.
What issues are you most focused on?
The things I believe are most important for our schools are providing an environment where students can excel and insuring that each child have the ability to achieve their dreams. I will focus on results, innovation and collaboration.
It is important to focus on making sure that everything we do as a district delivers measurable results specifically in the areas of student academic achievement, financial management, high quality staff, and programs that meet the needs of our learners. The Board's responsibility is to insure that all resources are deployed effectively to provide a superior academic experience and results for students and return on investment for tax payers in the form of well prepared future employees.
Innovation means continually assessing the district and student needs and developing innovative solutions to strategically meet those needs through new programs, community partnerships, and careful utilization of available resources and fiscal tools to create incrementally better results. Innovation is solely for meeting current and future needs in a better manner than we can today in order to prepare our students for success in a global economy.
Collaboration is about valuing the partnerships of our community: the board, administration, staff, community groups, students and parents in order to work together to meet the needs of our students and prepare them for the future.
Why should voters choose you?
In a word, experience. I have been supporting and working for the Minnetonka School District for the past 12 plus years. I understand what it takes to create an excellent educational experience. I know how to partner with legislators, community partners, and district staff to create results. I am running for election because I want to see our immersion program fully integrated K-12, the successful buildout of the Vantage program, and I want to insure that we meet the needs of all learners in ways yet to be discovered. I am running for the Minnetonka School Board because I have passion for students, education, and our community. I love what we do and believe that I can be a valuable participant at the Board table in continuing to serve our students, staff, and community in the best possible manner.
I ask for your vote on November 5th, 2013.