Terri (Witherow) SchmidtTri-Central School Board - Prairie Township
Preferred Contact Information
Text at 765-860-3645
Years as Tipton County Resident?
- I graduated from Tri-Central High School in 1987.
- I then attended Indiana University-Bloomington, and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education.
- I moved to Phoenix, Arizona where I taught a few years while simultaneously earning my Master's Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University.
I have been actively involved at Tri-Central all through my kid's educational careers. I have attended many programs and activities at the elementary and middle school levels, and helped with numerous fundraisers, including the high-school bands' clean-up fundraiser at the Pork Festival. I also volunteered for four years as the bookkeeper for the girls Jr. Varsity and Varsity basketball teams. I was also actively involved with both boys' and girls' soccer teams.
My career as a teacher has afforded me many opportunities to gain leadership experience. I have been involved on many committees, including The Technology Committee, The Safety Committee, The Math Committee, and The Professional Development Committee. Each of these committees required an ability to create, present, and implement new ideas and policies.
1. What is your number one reason for wanting to serve on the school board?
I have been a part of the Tri-Central Community since entering kindergarten. I did leave the area for a while to explore Arizona, but my heart pulled me back to Tipton County. I have raised my children here, and proudly watched them grow into responsible young adults. I know the time they spent in the halls of Tri-Central, and living in our close-knit community, had a tremendous impact on the young adults they have become. Now, they have all graduated, and I have the time, desire, and enthusiasm, to give back to our community. I cannot think of a better, more important way to do so than serving on our school board.
2. What role does policy play/have in the function of the board?
In an ideal situation, the school board has recruited and hired talented administrators who create high-quality policies that bring their schools into the future. In situations like this, the school board’s role would be to approve those policies. However, school boards can create a district’s policies, and ensure that those policies are implemented if needed. School boards can also approve or deny policies that are presented to them.
3. What do you think is the biggest issue facing your district?
Our state is currently facing a teacher shortage. This makes it much more likely that a teacher could move districts for higher pay. Because of this reality, we need to find creative ways to increase our budget, and appropriate our monies to increases in teacher salary. This will allow us to retain our outstanding staff as well as attract excellent new teachers when needed.
4. If you were elected what one thing would you like to accomplish during your term?
Tri-Central has already established a STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). It could be made even better by incorporating the arts into it, making it a STEAM program. As Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is more important than knowledge”. The arts is where creativity is encouraged to surface. Many employers are starting to look at much more than what you know…they want to know what you can create with what you know. The arts program really pushes students to engage in that type of thinking, therefore, expanding our STEM program into a STEAM to include the arts would be highly beneficial to our students.
5. What legislative action at the state level would you support to improve education in our community.
I would support limiting the state's overspending on testing. The focus given to testing damages our students in many ways. For one, the limited focus of the tests (they are mainly concerned with Language Arts and Math) leads to less time spent teaching other critical areas, such as science and social studies. The emphasis put on testing causes a great deal of stress and anxiety in out students and educators. It limits the amount of creativity teachers can use to spark curiosity, and the love of learning in our students. The costs associated with the test are high. It has been reported that Indiana spent $45 million on testing last year alone. If this money were split between the state's 291 public school districts, each district could receive $154,640 to spend in ways that would be much more beneficial to our students, which should be our number one concern.