Boyertown Area School District Region #1: Offers Michelle Sweisfort and Krista Arndt for School Directors
by Jane Stahl
Michelle Sweisfort and Krista Arndt bring knowledge and experience in budget, finance, and security to their campaigns for seats on Boyertown’s School Board in Region #1. Michelle Sweisfort is running for the open 2-year seat; Krista Arndt hopes to secure the 4-year seat.
“I love the Boyertown community,” offers Michelle. “I’ve lived here for over 22 years; my children are recent graduates. I am committed to keeping the school district’s reputation as one that provides all children with a quality education, and I want to make things even better. Krista agrees, noting, “When my husband finished his military deployment, we searched for an excellent school district and chose to move to Boyertown.”
“While the budget is a big issue for the district,” Michelle suggests, “it’s not been well-managed strategically. Listening to conversations with educators for years who often suggested that I should run for school board, and then listening to members of the Board bicker endlessly in conversations that seem to go in circles—in light of the many issues confronting it—motivated my interest in being involved as a Board member. There’s much to be done, and I think I have the skills, aptitude…and attitude…to help.
“My interest was triggered while following a Moms group share concerns on social media about what was happening at Board meetings. Being aware of trends and concerns that come through social media is my job as cyber security professional,” Krista admits. “When I finally made a comment and had a question about what was involved in running for a seat, it occurred to the group…and to me…that I had a sincere interest in helping in some way. My husband just laughed; he knows my need to be involved!”
“One issue is physical security,” Michelle explains. “This issue is one I see from my work in the insurance industry that requires Board attention. And while keeping budget concerns in mind, I know how to handle cost-effective training and how to acquire free programs and resources for security that can provide services to the district. I’m not sure the current Board has the awareness or the initiative to research options in this area.”
“Plus, you have lots of experience herding cats,” offers Krista, noting that Michelle’s hobby since COVID has been rescuing stray ones. “You have a calm energy about you and a willingness to listen. Listening to understand the perspectives that individuals bring to a problem, acceptance and respect for their perspectives means that we learn from each other and bring everyone’s understandings and experiences in solving the problems. Listening well helps to avoid obstacles in conversations. Michelle listens; I tend to act. We’re a great team,” she concludes.
Krista’s current career brings knowledge in interpreting the complex language of regulations, budget management, and development of business objectives. In maintaining connections with law enforcement agencies that curate and provide security programs and training for staff and students and in her involvement with an organization that develops a network to locate individuals for jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Krista brings experience and resources in additional areas of concern for today’s schools.
“I’m a hands-on learner,” she shares. “I had trouble succeeding in school, and so, I appreciate that the students’ multiple learning styles require teachers who are trained and aware of multiple approaches in their teaching.
“Plus, I’m very concerned about staff shortages, the attrition rate-- teachers leaving the field, the quality of new hires, about staff morale knowing that teachers are overwhelmed, that there are not enough teachers to cover all classes, that students sit in study halls in the auditorium because there are no teachers for their classes. Our students are losing out under these conditions. And, I suppose that decisions of the Board in recent years have underfunded the ‘maintenance’ of the budget.
“My family enjoys auto racing and especially Grandview Speedway. When we heard it was for sale, we had visions of gathering a group to save it as the family-friendly venue we enoyed,” Krista offers. “But, just like a car, financial matters require maintenance. It would appear that proper maintenance of the district’s budget—cutting corners just to be able to say, ‘we’re saving money,’ has been ‘penny wise and pound foolish.’ We’re seeing the results of that lack of long-range, big picture strategizing now and it’s painful.
“And the answer can’t be cutting programs like art and music. In visiting Boyertown’s ‘Coming Out of Hibernation’ event, I talked to students who were fundraising by face painting to support their art program. It’s great that they were doing that, but those programs and activities are valuable in fine tuning the brain; they must be supported and funded. We must do better,” Krista adds.
The women added that other areas that need work involve the fear and distrust—and false narratives—surrounding education today. “I value the relationships that I developed with my children’s teachers,” Michelle shares. “The ‘cry’ about parents’ rights makes me angry and breaks my heart that people spread narratives to distrust teachers who are known for going out of their way to make time for their students. Teachers really care for their students. Parents have always had rights. Teachers have alwayswanted parents to be involved. ”
“Saying that they don’t is just wrong; there have been privacy regulations in place for decades. Education is needed so that folks become aware of their rights. Yet, understanding the source of the fear and distrust in order to create educational programs will help in melding the valuable history of the communities and future partnerships. It takes time. And deliberate attention,” Krista adds. “We’re looking forward to bringing strong leadership and teamwork to the very important job of solving problems and being positive role models for all our district’s children.”
Both candidates pledge to bring strong leadership skills and a dedication to solving problems as positive role models and team players.
A "B Inspired" podcast episode captures Michelle and Krista discussing the issues. Find "B Inspired" on your favorite podcast platform. On Spotify: https://podcasters.spotify.com/jane-stahl/episodes/Michelle-Sweisfort-a…
More News from Boyertown
- February 21, 1904: Man Claiming Escape from Asylum for the Insane Waiting Admission to One To prevent disturbance, a man claiming to gave escaped from an asylum for the insane is housed in Berks County's jail waiting placement in an asylum.
- "Boyertown Citizen of the Year" Names 2024 Winners in 70 Year Tradition; Tickets Available for Awards Event Boyertown honors "unsung heroes and heroines," citizens who improve the quality of local life with their leadership and dedication.