Name: John D. Guttenberg
City or town of residence: Elizabeth
Occupation: Retired U.S. Army sergeant major and U.S. Postal Service
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are you seeking this office?
To give back to the community. Elizabeth is a great community with great people living here. While in the military and while working for the post office I didn’t have time to give back as much and in the ways I wanted to. Now that I am retired I have the time to give back in more important ways. I want to do my part in keeping the Elizabeth School District strong and reflective of community values.
What makes you the best person for the job?
I don’t have children in the district, but for the last 17 years I have been involved with the schools. With the American Legion I have been chairman of the scholarship program for a number of years, creating funding to help Frontier High School students go on their fall and spring trips. Also I have promoted the Boys State and the Girls State scholarship programs with the high schools for almost a decade. I have participated in many of Singing Hills’ veterans events and various events at other schools. I wrote the procedures and safety policy for the Elizabeth High School’s sports cannon. I know how to think out of the box to solve problems. I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves to help in any way they need.
What, if anything, should be done to enhance security at district schools?
Student/teacher safety is a big issue for me. I think the district has made great security progress in the last year by having a RSO (resource security officer) at the high school. I don’t know all that has been done in keeping our schools safe. And I shouldn’t know. To ensure greatest security, some things have to be on a need-to-know basis. But when elected I will take an in-depth look into security to see if there are any improvement to be made.
What, if anything, should be done to better address the mental health needs of district students?
Children today are bombarded daily with issues that no other generation has had to face (being attacked on social media, violent video games, bullied, and active shooter drills, etc. …). I feel mental health is becoming a bigger issue. Just like adults, children need someone safe and mature that they can talk with, to calm their fears, teaching them how to cope, showing them how to use relaxation techniques and other methods to release tension before it becomes an incident.
What issue or issues must the school board make a bigger priority next year than it has in recent years?
One part of my focus will be in continuing to improve the mental health and security in all schools in our district. We need to have professionals in place to help these students and teachers, so they know they are safe, and there are people there to protect them and to talk. Also finding ways to increase the academic results within the classrooms by keeping the standard of education high, by retaining teachers, by coming up with resources to help students who may otherwise fall through the crack, by promoting community involvement in keeping our schools strong.