Bonneville Joint School District 93 superintendent candidates Scott Woolstenhulme and Jon Abrams met with patrons Tuesday night at Thunder Ridge High School.
The open forum saw both candidates introduce themselves and discuss their ideas, stances and promises to a crowd of about 60 people, including patrons, District 93 administrators, students and the Board of Trustees.
After a 15-minute introduction — which saw Woolstenhulme become emotional talking about his family and his time as Cloverdale Elementary School’s principal — the two candidates met with patrons in separate rooms.
While the candidates’ answers didn’t differ much — they both expressed a desire to do “what’s best for the students” — Abrams engaged with an audience he hasn’t previously worked with by using personal anecdotes.
“My worldview has gotten grayer as the hair on my head has gotten grayer,” Abrams said when asked about student behavior discipline.
Abrams spoke about his previous relationship- and leadership-building exercises as superintendent at Laramie County School District 2 in eastern Wyoming, including “giving each district employee a birthday card.”
If he’s selected for the post, Abrams will be working at a much larger district. Laramie County School District 2 had 1,053 students as of Oct. 1, 2017, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. District 93 has nearly 13,000 students.
He described a trickle-down approach to the superintendent position — letting the employees hired work out problems within their respective schools — while also preaching accountability for himself.
“When you make a mistake, you own it,” said Abrams, who later told a patron to specifically call him if they’re experiencing a problem with a school administrator.
Both candidates fielded questions regarding diversity, disciplinary actions, technology, the usage of school buildings year-round and school safety.
Woolstenhulme, who like Abrams took questions from some young students regarding when the superintendent can close school, used the meet-and-greet to talk to patrons about the systematic approach he would take as superintendent.
He noted the importance of continuing the professional learning community model — a collective-based framework that focuses on student needs, teacher collaboration and results — to help give the Board of Trustees, district administrators and teachers the same goal: helping students by growing the district.
Woolstenhulme is currently the assistant superintendent for District 93 and has been involved in gathering research on District 93’s next bond, which is expected to be introduced in May.
The Board of Trustees will announce Shackett’s successor at their next board meeting, Feb. 13.