Get to know the town: Lake Forest School Board candidates

Lake Forest School Board Election Information

Although Lendon W. Dennis, Jr. is currently still listed as a candidate with Kent County Board of Elections, he said he does not wish to continue as a candidate due to work and family responsibilities.

Earle Dempsey and Austin Auen are running for a five-year at-large seat on the Lake Forest School Board. Mr. Dempsey currently sits on the board after winning a one-year term last year.

Polling places include:

  • Lake Forest North Elementary School in Felton;
  •  Lake Forest South Elementary School in Harrington;
  •  Lake Forest East Elementary School in Frederica;
  • Lake Forest High School in Felton.

The polls will remain open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Absentee ballots will be accepted in person at the office of the Department of Elections for Kent County located in Dover. For more information, call (302) 739-4498.

The remaining candidates up for election for the Lake Forest School Board are listed alphabetically:


Austin Auen

Austin Auen

Name: Austin C. Auen

Age: 19

Hometown: Felton, Delaware

Occupation: Real Estate

Educational background: High School Diploma, POLYTECH High School

Tell us about your family?

“My mother is an optometrist for Halpern Eye Care, my father is a salesman for 84 Lumber. I have a sister who attends Chipman Middle School.”

What motivated you to run for the LFSD board?

“I felt the need to run a year ago when the school was (in the view of many teachers and parents) going in a negative direction, and still feel like the board isn’t acting in a manner to make things better.”

What skills, background and knowledge will you bring?

“Business background, with a plethora of knowledge of what it takes to sit on a school board and work with people since being a part of many campaigns and foundations in the past.”

What would you like to accomplish?

“A budget everyone is pleased with, along with schools parents are proud of. Simple concepts really.”

What is your vision for education in our community?

“I’m a real believer in teaching by example, so I believe that education should be a community thing, with high school students learning trades from the many talented artisans in the area.”

How would you describe an effective board member?

“An effective board member is one who is always available and open to new ideas. Period.”

How will you advance the district’s vision?

“I would boost the vision of Lake Forest by presenting bold choices to our students and teachers to step outside the box and try new methods of learning that don’t revolve around a test.”

What educational gaps or weaknesses does LFSD face?

“My weakness would be my youth, which should be a plus, but sadly not everyone may see it that way.”

What, if any, strengths can LFSD tout?

“I have many business, political, and community strengths to bring to the board.”

What would you like voters to know?

“I would like the voters to know that bringing a new voice to the board is good for the school and your children!”

Contact information:

austinauen@gmail.com

302-264-7967


Earle Dempsey

Earle Dempsey

Name: Earle Dempsey

Age: 43

Hometown: Harrington; currently live in Felton

Occupation: Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI)

Educational background:

Lake Forest graduate; BS Business Administration; Master’s of Business Administration

Tell us about your family?

“Daughter – Cassie; Sons – Cole, Case, and Coen.”

What motivated you to run for the LFSD board?

“I am very driven by community involvement – having impact in the world around me and affecting positive change and growth in my own local area. As an LFSD board member, I wish to help provide current and prospective students the same great opportunities and advantages my Lake Forest experience and education have provided me. When elected last year, my seat on the Board only had one year remaining on its term. It has been a very big year of rebuilding and change. I am motivated to run again this year for the seat’s full 5-year term because I am excited about the work that has begun and must be finished.”

What skills, background and knowledge will you bring?

“One of the greatest advantages of my background is that I grew up a Spartan and maintain close ties to the community. When I graduated in 1990, I was well prepared for my college career and for the leadership roles I have undertaken since then. I know the great history of Lake Forest and understand the community pride that has existed for decades.

“In my current role with DTI, I manage partnerships with the Department of Education, the 19 School districts, and all the Charter schools in Delaware. Additionally, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in business and IT at both Delaware State and Wilmington Universities. I enjoy helping prepare and encourage my students for their future lives in the business world. I am a very involved leader in the Delaware Volunteer Fire Service, assist with Felton Little League as a board member, and serve as an advisor for several nonprofits in the state.”

What would you like to accomplish?

“I would like to continue the task of selecting and hiring transformational leaders into our administrative leadership positions, then empower them to motivate and enrich their staff and excitingly engage their individual communities. It has been said that everything starts at the top, so my priority is to get the right people with the right skills and attitude in the right positions so we can all attain the right outcomes.

“With those leaders in place, I would also like to raise awareness of bullying and increase efforts to eliminate it from our community and schools. It is easy to say ‘stop bullying,’ but it is more difficult to educate individuals on what bullying looks like in today’s world, how to identify, prevent, or stop it, and the effective ways to respond and report it. This is not a problem Lake Forest has more than any other district, but it is one that – with the right commitment – we can all stop together for the sake of our children.”

What is your vision for education in our community?

“Providing equal opportunities for college or career readiness. Getting a good education does not simply mean providing our children with the skills and abilities to be ‘competitive’ on an application to Harvard. It means preparing our children to be productive, responsible members of their communities and society as a whole. It means providing teachers with all available resources and technology to help set our students on a path of lifelong learning. It means providing students with the best educational tools and resources to help them pursue their goals.

“For some, Lake Forest will be the very beginning of their formal education and it is important that every graduating high school student understands that he or she has the resources within the state to continue their education at the college level, if they so desire.

“For others, Lake Forest is the primary start of skill development that allows them to move into a trade or profession where they can immediately be productive and impactful. There is no blanketed right answer for all students, so it is important that we in Lake Forest recognize the need for the education we provide to meet those individual needs.”

How would you describe an effective board member?

“An effective school board member understands that the board functions as a team. Ultimately, the board works together to determine policy based on the vision and goals for the future of the district while operating within state and federal guidelines. The board must also put in place the ‘ best of the best’ administrators to carry out those policies and allow them to do their jobs with as much board support as required.

“There must be superior administrators and teachers for the district to succeed, and those that aren’t committed to being superior must be improved or replaced. An effective board member must be open-minded and willing to listen to all viewpoints, maintain patience and professionalism, and support collective decisions. Most importantly, an effective board member puts the needs of the district’s students first.”

How will you advance the district’s vision?

“There’s a saying that goes, ‘Motivated workers equal happy customers.’ In education, our customers are our students and their families. I firmly believe that the best way to achieve student greatness and successful parent engagement is through our teachers and staff. We have some truly phenomenal employees that make Lake Forest great – so we must be committed to keeping them and to finding more like them. In order to do so, Lake Forest must maintain a strong reputation hailed as an ‘employer of choice.’ We want the best of the best and the brightest of the brightest to want to be at Lake Forest. I will continue to be a strong advocate for District, community, and parental support of our great teachers.”

What educational gaps or weaknesses does LFSD face?

“Our student population is extremely economically, culturally, and intellectually diverse, with students arriving to our schools each day with a myriad of individual needs that result in personalized educational goals. Teachers strive very hard to meet these needs and accomplish their goals every day.”

What, if any, strengths can LFSD tout?

“So many good things exist within our jewel of a district: a record- setting Odyssey of the Mind program; a 1:1 teaching initiative at the high school for individualized learning; an outstanding FFA organization (whose work is vital to the agricultural lifeblood of our community), at both the high school and Chipman; an athletics program operating at the top of its game; career and technical education programs and tracks in our high school; unbelievable support and backing from our community leaders and businesses; tremendous teachers who put their heart and soul into awakening young minds; a sense of community pride that makes other districts envious.”

What would you like voters to know?

“The Lake Forest School Board meets publicly the second and fourth Thursday of each month. All community members are welcome. Thank you to The Harrington Journal for providing the Lake Forest community this coverage. Please vote May 10th.”

Contact information:

earle.dempsey@gmail.com

302-535-2120

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