Worthington News

Worthington school board race

Best: Experience needed to handle coming challenges


The future will bring Common Core, teacher evaluations, the state-mandated third-grade reading guarantee and new technology.

With all of those changes facing the Worthington schools in the next four years, it will be important to have school board members who understand the challenges, incumbent Jennifer Best said.

She is one of four candidates running for three seats on the Worthington school board.

"My 12 years of experience will be helpful with all of those changes going on," she said. "I want to make sure the schools stay strong."

One lesson she has learned is the importance of effecting change on the state level. She has been instrumental in working with state legislators to try to change the third-grade reading guarantee.

"It is probably what I am most passionate about," she said.

The so-called guarantee, if it goes into effect as proposed, will require that third-graders repeat that grade if they do not pass a reading test at the end of the school year.

Best said she certainly is in favor of third-graders being able to read, but she is not in favor of holding children back without input on that decision from parents and teachers.

"To tell parents of a third-grader that because of one test, their child will be held back doesn't seem right to me," she said.

Perhaps even more important to the district is the new teacher evaluation requirements, she said. Teachers will be evaluated in part based on the academic progress of their students. The evaluations are done by principals and are very time-consuming, she said. It is important that the board provide relief for principals, she said.

Also important are support for staff members as they learn new Common Core curricula and keeping up with technology, she said.

Best said all four candidates support the schools and want what is best for students, but she always has represented all stakeholders in the district.

"I feel strongly I want to do what is best for the students, but I keep the taxpayers in mind," she said.

Best also has experience as a PTA officer, levy campaign worker and trusteen on the Worthington Libraries board. She stays involved as a tutor with Project MORE and the library's homework help centers.

Best is a self-employed accountant. She is a lifelong Worthington resident. Her children, Jackie and Brandon, are Worthington graduates.