Marshfield School Board Candidates: Adam wants to add school board to resume
By Mike Warren
MARSHFIELD – A former UW-Stevens Point at Marshfield associate professor and dean and current oncology researcher at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute wants to add Marshfield School District Board of Education member to his resume.
Iddi Adam is one of four people running for two open spots on the board in the April 5 spring election.
“A few of my friends talked me into it,” Adam told the audience during a Feb. 10 candidates’ forum at Marshfield High School. “And they said that these are very challenging times, and they think that my qualifications and my background would be a very good fit for the school board.
“I have experience in management. I have led boards. And my background as a scientist makes me want to use evidence-based decision-making in everything I do.”
Iddi and his wife are the parents of six children, and two of them are current School District of Marshfield elementary students.
“And this district is one of the best in the state,” adds Adams. “We have the best teachers and the best programs in my opinion, and I want to keep it that way. One of my strong suits is building bridges. I want us to take a step back from all the rhetoric and talk to each other and go to the core of the issues we want to deal with, and then find solutions. If I am lucky to be on the school board, my three main issues are ‘Is it good for students?’, ‘Is it fiscally responsible?’ and ‘Is it the best that we can find by way of evidence?’”
In answering a prepared question about encountering challenges as a school board member, Adam replied, “By nature I am a bridge builder. I like to talk to people from all walks of life. One of the challenges I see in this environment is a lot of people in different camps, and one of the challenges would be how to get people from different perspectives to work together, and I believe that is one of the strengths I would bring to the school board if I’m elected.”
The candidates were also asked about a recent series of fights at Marshfield High School, reportedly caused by online threats and bullying.
“It saddens me when I see reports of fights and violence and altercations in our schools, and I understand that part of that is because there aren’t a lot of outlets for our kids to get out there and intermingle and play. In my opinion, these are temporary issues that will sort themselves out in the long run, after the restrictions have been taken away,” he added.
“In the meantime, do we need to have policies and also programs in place to be able to put a damper on those kinds of behaviors, including more teachers and more staff in the common areas to really keep an eye on what is going on? As much as possible, I would like to see us bring back volunteers into the school. I understand that is difficult right now because of COVID restrictions. Another thing we can do is gradually remove the restrictions based on the evidence we have. I believe that, as time goes on, when they begin to loosen the COVID restrictions, it will allow students to get out more, and by doing that, we are going to see a reduction in the fights going forward.”
The candidates were also posed with a question regarding mental health issues and expanding related resources.
“I want to widen the lens a little bit and look at the problem from a wider perspective,” Adam said in his response. “If we drill down to why we have some of these mental health problems, I think we can safely say that part of the problem has been the social isolation. And, as the masking and the quarantines and COVID restrictions are gradually removed, we will have a lessening of the mental health crisis.
“Having said that, it would be good for our students to be able to access mental health counseling outside the school system because we know that our school psychologists and counselors are overwhelmed. But we have issues of insurance. However, we can have certain programs in place right now to be able to mitigate the problems.
“One of them would be to provide support in schools in the form of clubs, and also information to destigmatize mental health, so students understand that mental health is just like any other health problem.
“We also need to provide outlets where students are able to report issues like bullying.”
Adam also responded to a student’s question regarding communicating directly with students and parents “to fully understand the needs of people who are truly impacted by school board decisions.”
In his response, Adam said, “One of my proudest moments as a professor and also as an administrator in education was spending time with students in venues that were more conducive to students being more spontaneous and sharing their ideas. As a board member, I promise you this: I will make myself available to students in various forms to be able to talk with me and share their ideas and their concerns with me, and I will take their concerns back to the school board.”
In closing, Adam reminded the audience, “I’m a parent. I am an educator. I’m a scientist. I have lived on three continents. I have experience in education. I know how education works. I know the conditions that have to be put in place to make education flourish.”
The top two vote-getters on April 5 will win three-year terms on the Marshfield School Board.
To see the Feb. 10 candidates’ forum in its entirety, find the MFLD-TV 989 page on YouTube. The next Hub City Times segment will feature school board candidate, Cathy J. Gorst.