Candidate Questionnaire: Mary Schmidt for Natrona County school board


CASPER, Wyo – Election season is underway and Oil City News has sent out a list of questions to all candidates running for a seat on the Natrona County School District Board of Trustees.

These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. Below, get to know it Maria Schmidtwho is running for one of four available seats on the Natrona County School District Board of Trustees:

1. Who are you? (Name, origin, profession, hobbies etc.)

My name is Maria Smith. I have a degree in Sociology and Sports Management from Washington State University. I worked in minor league baseball for eight years. I’ve worked for three teams – Tri-City Pose, Lake Elsinore Storm and the Casper Rockies. I have been married for 19 years and have five children. My kids have been to private school, home school and now public school and competed in middle school and high school track and field. I have volunteered at various competitions, prepared team meals and participated in fundraisers for individual teams.

2. Why did you decide to run for the NCSD Board of Trustees and what do you hope to achieve if elected?

Over the past year and a half, as I have attended school board and committee meetings, it has become clear to me that our school district needs to refocus on higher education.

The three priorities for my tenure are:

  1. Discover the real reason teachers are unhappy and work to improve teacher satisfaction and retention.
  2. Improve communication with school staff and district parents.
  3. Focus on teaching our children how to think and what to think above all else.

3. How do you want to achieve your goals?

I will be holding closed-door meetings with teachers and staff – no administration, NCEA, WEA or principals. I want to listen, learn and, with the support of the teachers, find solutions to the difficulties they have.

I want to educate parents about all opt-in programs available to them. I will regularly make public what the district office is doing. I would like to send emails to all parents in the district to update them on curriculum reviews, meeting dates, policy adoption, debates, etc. These monthly updates are published in all available media forms. To improve internal communication with district staff, school office staff and teachers, I plan to learn more about what is currently being done and improve it constructively.

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Most importantly, I plan to facilitate the creation of a comprehensive internal curriculum for all subjects. Many textbooks purchased by the district do not meet all district standards. Teachers are left to find additional resources and essentially create their own curriculum. This can be a challenge for a new teacher fresh out of college who needs to create something on their own. This practice can create gaps in a child’s academic knowledge base as they transition from elementary, middle, and high school. Natrona County teachers at all grade levels have the talent and ability to create a comprehensive curriculum that seamlessly transitions students from K-12. This will improve student academic performance, help new teachers with expectations, and allow experienced teachers to have more internal control over how the Standards are taught.

4. What experiences qualify you as a fiduciary?

I’ve been attending school board meetings since the April 2021 mask dispute.
I attended several meetings of the Budget Committee 2022/2023.
I have attended several academic steering committee meetings.
I attended Governor Gordon’s RIDE meeting in Casper.
Educational research:
I’ve researched several classic homeschooling curricula.
I helped research, organize and put together a presentation on social emotional learning and its connections to Common Core and Critical Race Theory.
I have submitted our findings to the Natrona County School District Superintendent, Asst. Superintendent and Staff, and the Natrona County Board of Trustees, Wyoming Secretary of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder, and the Wyoming State Legislative Education Committee – House and Senate.

5. Do you think you could be a good steward of taxpayers’ money? Why or why not?

With an approved budget of $354,693,371 for a projected student enrollment of 12,600 for the 2022-2023 school year, I believe that with the proposed changes I mentioned we can reduce that budget and significantly improve academics.

6. On the issue of transparency, what is your position on ensuring that all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public participation?

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As mentioned in question 3, I will be holding closed meetings with teachers and staff – no administration, NCEA, WEA or principals. I want to listen, learn and, with the support of the teachers, find solutions to the difficulties they have.

I want to educate parents about all opt-in programs available to them. I will regularly make public what the district office is doing. I would like to send emails to all parents in the district to update them on curriculum reviews, meeting dates, policy adoption, debates, etc. These monthly updates are published in all available media forms. To improve internal communication with district staff, school office staff and teachers, I plan to learn more about what is currently being done and improve it constructively.

Most importantly, I plan to facilitate the creation of a comprehensive internal curriculum for all subjects. Many textbooks purchased by the district do not meet all district standards. Teachers are left to find additional resources and essentially create their own curriculum. This can be a challenge for a new teacher fresh out of college who needs to create something on their own. This practice can create gaps in a child’s academic knowledge base as they transition from elementary, middle, and high school. Natrona County teachers at all grade levels have the talent and ability to create a comprehensive curriculum that seamlessly transitions students from K-12. This will improve student academic performance, help new teachers with expectations, and allow experienced teachers to have more internal control over how the Standards are taught.

7. Do you know the work of the school management in recent years? Are you happy with what you saw, or are there any issues that you think need to be addressed?

Based on my experiences listed in question 4, yes, I am aware of the work of the school board in recent years. I’m not happy with what I saw. That’s why I decided to run for the NCSD Board of Trustees.

8. Should you be elected or re-elected, do you plan major political changes? If so, what would those changes be? If no, why not?

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I plan to support the families and parents of the students in NCSD #1 as part of the public education purpose. It is not the school’s job to serve the whole child. The task of the school is to educate the child. If a child has problems or needs that are beyond their area of ​​responsibility, the school can refer the family to resources in the community. At this point, it is up to the family to decide how they will respond to the child’s needs. Parents know what is best for their children.

If a district stretches its function beyond academics, it’s stretched too thin. Nothing is well done. Often this causes problems with faculty, staff and students/families. I want to focus on the basics like reading, writing and arithmetic. Once a child masters these basics in elementary school, they become a lifelong learner.

I would like to see our high schools adopt an educational model that allows for greater flexibility in career paths. For example, students may complete a required core academic curriculum in the first two years of high school. In the remaining two years, students should have the opportunity to choose which path they wish to pursue: college, CTE, or entry into the world of work.

9. Is there anything that was not asked in the questions above that you would like to comment on?

I run with Jenifer Hopkins and Renea Redding. Together we carry the worries of the parents in the district. Together we have children in elementary, middle and high school. The improvement can only begin when the three of us are chosen. If you have any questions please contact me.
[email protected]
Facebook – Mary Schmidt for the Natrona County School Board


NOTE: Questionnaires were sent concurrently to all candidates running for a seat on the NCSD Board of Trustees, and Oil City News is publishing responses in the order in which they were received. Candidate responses are edited for clarity and style only.



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