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School board write-in wants more global learning
MONROE - While three seats are open for the Monroe school board in the spring election, four people, including two write-ins, are looking to gain a seat.

Former teacher Lisa Hendrickson filed as one of the write-ins after talking over the idea with friends and fellow educators. At the time, no one else had stepped forward and Hendrickson said she thought she would do well because of her desire to help students reach their full potential.

"I knew it was something I would enjoy and something I would be good at," Hendrickson said, adding that friends who urged her to run expressed similar thoughts. "People will know throughout the community that ... I am a thoughtful, caring, insightful person, who is a good communicator."

She said she decided to file in February after learning board president Bob Erb had decided not to pursue another term. The three open seats will be sought by board vice president Mary Berger and deputy clerk Amy Bazley, both incumbents, Hendrickson and fellow write-in Teresa Keehn.

Hendrickson retired in 2011 after more than 30 years teaching Spanish. She began teaching for the Monroe school district in 1979, looking to create opportunities for a global approach to education. In 1994, she realized the idea of a Costa Rican exchange program for Monroe students to visit the country and for Costa Rican students to come to Monroe, living with families and attending classes within the district. She said it was modeled after the already existing German exchange program.

Her work with AFS, a nonprofit organization offering international exchange programs in more than 40 countries, has also been a part of working to enhance global learning by students.

Hendrickson champions the implementation of students having access to a Global Education Achievement Certificate, which can be added to a diploma indicating students have "demonstrated a strong interest in global citizenship by successfully completing a global education curriculum," according the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

She said she would like to create connections between other groups and the Monroe school district as a part of the board. For example, the Seal of Biliteracy awards graduating students who are bilingual or multilingual, showing proficiency through classes in more than one language. In another, a group called the Commission on Language Learning - created in response to questions from Congress by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2014 - aims to "improve access to as many languages as possible," according to the organization's website.

Hendrickson said she wants to see a better environment for educators.

"I'm very concerned about teacher morale at this point," Hendrickson said. "I want to focus on creating a really good learning climate for teachers and kids. A happy teacher makes for a better classroom."

Methods to improve teachers' well-being include encouragement of professional development, Hendrickson said. She noted that Monday early release days are a positive example of that goal.