Rochester Board of Education member Beth Talbert hopes to continue to draw from her experience as a teacher, administrator and parent as she runs for re-election this fall.
Talbert, a former board president who has lived in the community for more than 20 years, said she is an advocate for public education and is excited about the future of the district.
"I am excited about our vision," Talbert said. "We have everything in place, but we need to really focus it and be deliberate. I don't think we have mastered the college-readiness component yet."
Talbert is one of five candidates vying for three six-year terms on the board. Other candidates are Tom Malysz, Jeremy Nielson, and .
This week, Rochester Patch will profile all of the candidates in preparation for the
Working toward college-readiness
Talbert was raised in Owosso. She met her husband in high school; they have two daughters who graduated from Rochester Community Schools.
Talbert has been an instructor at for the past 12 years and is currently the Director of the Communication Program following 10 years working in administration.
She holds a double major in English and communication from Western Michigan University. She also has a master's degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green, which Talbert explained is much like higher education administration with a couseling component.
Her youngest daughter now attends Bowling Green University in Ohio and her eldest is a graduate of Central Michigan University.
Talbert, as a college teacher, sees the product of the Rochester School District every day. She said she believes she can offer insight into what students need to be successful in college and life.
"I have nothing but pride in what our district does but I truly believe we can be the best district in the state. We have all the pieces in place."
A board member for the past four years, Talbert has faced making difficult decisions due to reduced funding. She strongly believes that public education is fundamental to democracy.
"We are entering a time when there is no decision that won't impact people," she said.
"We have to make very wise decisions, and we need to make sure that public schools are adequately funded. I don't have a silver bullet ... that's oversimplifying something that's very complex."
Talbert added that she has spoken with Superintendent Fred Clarke about the need to pull employee groups together to solve problems.
"I think we have maxed out asking from our community," she said. "If you have a public school system where only the people with means can pay for their children to have enrichment experiences, you begin to build a public school system that is organized by the have and the have-nots.
"I really believe our community does not want that."