5 candidates running for 3 positions on Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees

2013-04-15T13:30:00Z 2013-04-23T15:08:05Z 5 candidates running for 3 positions on Helena Public Schools Board of TrusteesBy EDDIE GREGG Independent Record Helena Independent Record
April 15, 2013 1:30 pm  • 

Five candidates are running for three positions on the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees in the May 7 mail-in ballot election.

The candidates are scheduled to be part of a public forum Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Helena Middle School Auditorium, where they will discuss their platforms and how they plan to deal with the issues facing Helena Public Schools if they are elected.

Incumbents Libbi Lovshin and board chair Libby Goldes are running for re-election. Trustee Michael O’Neil is retiring from the board, leaving a third position on the school board open. The three other candidates are Jon Rush, Lisa Wordal and Betsy Baur.

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters on April 22 and must be turned in by May 7. The ballots come with a return enveloped and can be mailed to the Helena School District’s business office at 55 S. Rodney St. or the Lewis and Clark County Election Department at 316 N. Park Ave. Room 168. Ballots may also be dropped off in person at those locations. Questions can be directed to the Helena Public Schools business office at 324-2044 or by calling the county election office at 447-8338.

The candidates:

Jon Rush

Place of birth: San Francisco

Hometown: Helena (38 years)

Family: wife Barbara (retired teacher Helena School District, 30 years). Daughter Christina, attended Hawthorne Elementary, C. R. Anderson, Graduate of Capital High School, Montana State University, University of Dundee, Scotland, Molecular Biology Ph.D.; son Benjamin attended Hawthorne Elemen-tary, C. R. Anderson; graduate of Capital High School, University of Montana School of Pharmacy, Pharm. D.

Education: Associate of Science, Diablo Valley College, Bachelor of Science Political Science/Economics, California State University.

Occupation: Retired

Other qualifications: Former member of Helena School District #1 Board of Trustees, Current member of Gates of the Mountains Board of Trustees. Not bad looking, for my age.

Top priority if elected (less than 100 words):

Helena School District #1 is on the brink of several emergencies due to slow action or neglect by the incumbents seeking re-election. Most impor-tantly the district is under danger of losing accreditation by the Office of Public Instruction. It is currently at a classified level known as Intensive Assistance.

Ignoring previous building improvement surveys, and pleas for upgrades, has led to the closure of Central School and board discussions of other clo-sures, while $250,000 was pulled from the maintenance budget for additional meetings and planning that has continued to defer maintenance. These meet-ings have been geared toward closing other neighborhood schools while plan-ning for new construction with multiple $100 million bond levies while the district does not have operational monies to support the future expansion.

Additionally test scores at schools such as C.R. Anderson Middle School in math and reading reveal that 30 percent of the student body is at the non-performing level.

All three of these points lead to substandard education results regardless of a hardworking professional staff. I want all children in the district to be able to reach for career goals at least to the level mine did.

Contact: 442-4355

Elizabeth (Libby) Dietrich Goldes

Place of birth: Des Moines, Iowa

Home town: Helena for the past 23 years, before that, educational pursuits and my father’s military career meant that I lived in numerous states and one foreign country (Brazil).

Family: married to Jeff Goldes for 38 years in June; four grown children: John, 30, in University of Montana’s master’s of tax accounting program — undergraduate, UM; Ann, 28, undergraduate, Carroll College MSW, University of Nevada, Reno, will graduate from law school, UNLV, in May when her hus-band, Brandon Sheahan, graduates from dental school; Matt, 24, undergradu-ate, UM, will begin a doctor of osteopathic medicine program in July; and Catherine, 20, sophomore at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Wash.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of Minnesota, 1975; Master of Li-brarianship, University of Washington, 1981.

Occupation: prior to moving to Helena in 1990, worked as a reference li-brarian in the Fairfax County library system, Alexandria, Va. Other work experience includes library cataloging work at the University of Washington, administrative work in the health and human services department of the Uni-versity of Washington, and the International Student Office, Boston Univer-sity. Currently, I am in my sixth year on the Helena School Board of Trus-tees and am the chairman.

Other qualifications: Lewis and Clark Library Foundation Board; Lewis and Clark Library Board (during this time, the library renovation was under-taken); Helena Citizens Council representative.

Top priority if elected (less than 100 words): Make the long-range educa-tional plan a reality to retain our neighborhood schools in town, reduce busing time for valley students with right-sized schools, address safety and security concerns. Restructure our high schools to meet the needs of stu-dents today and in the future. Explore the idea of a shared career and tech-nology education center. Bring 21st century learning environments to all schools. I would also work to make sure public dollars are spent prudently to maximize the impact on student achievement and graduation. Support our excellent educators and staff.

Contact: libbygoldes@gmail.com; 443-0454

Website: facebook (Libby Goldes) and twitter (@libbygoldes).

Lisa Wordal

Place of birth: Lancaster, Calif.

Home town: Helena since I was 16.

Family: Eric, my husband of 32 years, is a Helena native and a graduate of Capital High. He has been in business as a professional photographer since 1979. We have raised two sons. My oldest graduated from Helena High in 2000 and just completed four years in the Navy as a dentist. He is currently re-siding in Helena. My youngest is a sophomore in high school.

Education: Graduated from Helena High 1977 with honors. Attended College of Steubenville (Franciscan University) 1978-79 Studied Philosophy and Theol-ogy; Shoreline Community College, Wash.; and completed Dental Hygiene Cur-riculum. AAS Graduated with honors 1993.

Occupation: Dental hygienist for 20 years. Employed by South Hills Dental in Helena for 15 years.

Other qualifications: President of the Montana Dental Hygienists’ Associa-tion 2009-2010; Chairman of the Board for Montana Dental Hygienists’ Asso-ciation 2009-2010; served in many other capacities as a member of the MDHA Board. As legislative chairman, I testified at the state Legislature for my profession. For several years, I was the Board of Dentistry liaison, requir-ing presentation of testimony before the Board of Dentistry. For nine years, I have spent many hours a week working with the children of our community through the ministry of Faith Kidz. I have been in contact with hundreds of children during this time. I built lasting relationships with many of them. I understand with absolute certainty the need for this district to provide a quality education for our children. I am committed to making this happen.

As a dental hygienist, I am an educator. I know how to make evidence-based decisions. As I do not experiment with my patients’ health, neither will I experiment with our children’s education. Member of the Early Childhood Coa-lition for three years.

Top priority if elected (less than 100 words): My priority will be fiscal, academic and community accountability. Every dollar should be spent effi-ciently. I know that even a few extra dollars in taxes can have an impact on many households. Our children deserve the best we can offer academically. The education they receive will determine their ability to compete in local, national and global markets. We owe them the gift of a great education. The community should feel represented by the school board. The school board is an elected entity and should be accountable to its constituency. Parents should have a voice in directing their children’s education.

Contact: lwordal@gmail.com

Website: https://www.facebook.com/LisaWordalForSchoolBoardTrustee

Betsy Baur

Place of birth: Aspen, Colo.

Home town: I have lived in Helena for 13 years and consider Montana my home. I grew up in Aspen and returned to work there as an adult.

Family: My husband, Andy, and my 9-year old daughter, Caroline.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Government from Dartmouth College in Hano-ver, N.H.

Occupation: Currently a stay-at-home mother, but previously I was the de-velopment director and program manager for the Montana chapter of an inter-national nonprofit (The Nature Conservancy).

Other qualifications: For the last three years, I have been an active vol-unteer in the Helena schools, helping students in the classroom and also organizing enhanced learning opportunities for students, such as foreign language instruction, field trips and community service. My skills include consensus building, evaluation and financial management.

Top priority if elected (less than 100 words): If elected, I will work to further the school board’s work in three main areas: Accountability: I will work to ensure that public tax dollars are spent wisely and that all of the district programs are effectively evaluated. Buildings: I am excited to fur-ther the long-range educational planning effort and to help guide the dis-trict’s capital investments to create a 21st century learning environment for all students. Curriculum: I will work with the district approve a cur-riculum that appeals to a broad range of learning styles, skills and inter-ests.

Contact: Betsy@Betsybaur.com; 461-8324

Libbi Lovshin


I have been married to Todd Lovshin since 1997 and we have one son, age 9, who is in fourth grade in a Helena Public School. I am a member of his school’s parent council. I am a Montana native (Great Falls); both my par-ents retired from teaching in the Great Falls Public School system with 33 years each in the classroom. I graduated from Carroll College with a degree in accounting.


I spent five years working in various state agencies, then spent nine years as finance director of the Lewis and Clark City-County Health Department. I am the central services division administrator for the Montana Department of Agriculture (since 2009), which entails all budgeting, accounting, human resources and technology services for the department as well as some legis-lative work. I am an experienced public finance and business leader with a strong financial management background.

Experience with boards:

I have been a Helena School District Trustee for the last two years and serve on the budget committee. I sit on the Grandstreet Theatre board of directors and have held various positions on the board including president, treasurer and chair of several committees. As finance director of the Lewis and Clark City-County Health Department, I was a staff person to three dif-ferent boards (Board of Health, Cooperative Health Center Board and Water Quality Protection District Board).

My goals:

Sound financial management of tax dollars through a transparent, strategic budget that ensures our district’s resources are targeted where they are needed most. Providing a quality environment for education, including safe, healthy buildings and classrooms.

In the Helena School District, we educate 8,000 students every academic year, and our schools are the center of our community. I am committed to each one of those 8,000 students because their future is really our future.

Contact: libbi@bresnan.net; 459-8149

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