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Getting to Know Our Newest School Board Member - Josh Norlien
Getting to Know Our Newest School Board Member - Josh Norlien 
Thank you, Josh Norlien, for graciously agreeing to be featured in an article for our school website!  

Josh was officially sworn into office at the January 5th School Board Meeting.  At that meeting, it was decided that Josh would be a member of the On-Line Schools Committee, Board Representation –Legislative Liaison, ECFE Advisory Council, and the HVED Board of Directors.
 
The teachers and staff of our Houston Public School family, and members of the Houston Community were asked, "Do you have anything you’d like to ask or know about Josh Norlien?"  


The words below, written by Josh, are his response to our questions.

"Wow! What a warm welcome I have received from district staff, board members, and the entire community, hello to all.
 
A bit of background info on myself and family, both my wife (Angela) and I are Houston High alumni, class of 1995.  Yes, we are an example of high school sweethearts that have lasted a lifetime. We briefly left the area for work and college, but upon finding out we were expecting our first child we came home to Houston.  We now live in rural Money Creek, and can’t think of a better place to raise our family.
We are the proud parents of Shelby, a junior; Julia, 8th grade; Mylee, 4th grade; Reece, 2nd grade; Peyton, preschool; and Sawyer, who is just about to turn 2 years old.  So, as you can see, I have a vast interest in our entire school district’s success.  

My background in education is purely as a student and parent. I feel the smaller school and class sizes are to our advantage for students to receive more one-on-one time with teachers and the possibility of participating in extracurricular activities, but at the same time I want our students to have a variety of class options and their interests met. I am a firm believer in the quote “If the opportunity doesn’t exist, create it.” That being said, as a board member I welcome ideas and feedback from all, students, teachers, and parents.
 
The addition of our online school, Minnesota Virtual Academy, to the district is another advantage our students have available to them. I have firsthand experience with online classes, in my case I wanted to further my post-secondary education while raising a family and working full-time. That being said I feel there is great value in classroom interaction and discussion.
 
As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This is what I hope for our students, to have every available option to dream and achieve their goals once they leave us. If its college, trade school, or the work force, we are preparing them for adulthood. They are a reflection of us and our community.
 
In response to a few questions:
  • Our student’s safety takes top priority and I feel we have come leaps and bounds over the past couple years and am confident we will continue to adjust and implement what’s needed, such as the A.L.I.C.E. program which was recently presented to the board by our local law enforcement and first responders.
  • As we all know technology is continuing to evolve at lightning speed, and we need to see what tools can help educate and prepare our kids for their future careers. I am huge fan of our Robotics program and see this as a great example of our school progressing with technology.
  • Along with the benefits of a small school comes the financial challenge as each student represents state funding. We offer open enrollment and so there is no need to be shy with our school pride, let it shine and invite others to check us out. 
  • Taxes are a necessary evil, but at the same time we don’t want to handcuff local residents and businesses.  We want to make sure their tax dollars are used wisely. There is a need to weigh the pros and cons before investing in a program or facility expense. 
I will be the first to say that I am very “green” and have a lot to learn about school operations and budgeting, but with that I look forward to digging in and taking advantage of the tools and training available to do my best.
 
Thank you for your time and I look forward to working with all of you."
 
Josh Norlien


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