Guist announces school board candidacy
‘Fundamental change’ needed
John Guist has decided to run for Farmington School Board, in part to help ensure no other child repeats his school experiences.
Guist, 45, said he spent most of his life believing he didn’t measure up academically to peers.
He struggled to read and focus in the classroom, persistent problems he defied as he grew, and he achieved leadership positions in sporting activities, church and college.
Five years ago, at a friend’s recommendation, Guist saw a physician whose diagnoses included Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder and dyslexia.
Upon learning the doctor’s conclusions, Guist blurted out, “I’m not dumb?”
“The doctor said, ‘No, why would you think that?’” Guist said, remembering he answered, “I was made to feel that way.”
“My educational experience, was really hard,” said Guist, adding, “I never want to see that happen to a kid, not on my watch.”
As a member of the Farmington School Board, Guist would support a “transformation” of education and agrees with the district’s move toward individualized learning.
To better prepare students for their futures, Guist said Farmington should “fundamentally change the way we do school” to identify and build on each child’s natural abilities.
Guist said the district should “create a culture that inspires students, parents, and staff to aspire to do their very best at whatever it is they are created to do.”
He said too often, for a myriad of reasons, education becomes learning how to test well.
“I don’t believe that is the best we can do, nor do I believe that is what draws teachers and administrators into the field of education,” he said.
Instead, Guist said he wants Farmington students to “learn how to learn, not just spit back stuff for a test.”
Guist said he supports the leadership of Superintendent Jay Haugen and supports district plans to provide every Farmington student an iPad or similar individualized-learning device.
He also cited concerns about finances, noting that the district has limited resources and must learn how to provide a high-quality eduction with resources available to the district.
In an interview with Sun Thisweek, Guist repeatedly referred to himself as a “servant leader,” and emphasized his passion for building community.
He is active in many church activities that support the community, including a Valentines Day event giving gift bags to local business owners, and visiting with seniors at the Trinity Care Center.
Guist sees a need for the community, the school district, faith community, businesses, city and townships, to work together in building strong schools.
“I don’t think we yet know the changes or the timeline for these things to take place,” he said. “But I want to be a part of the team learning how to do it.”
Guist said he became interested in running for school board after serving on the superintendent search committee last year when the district was working to replace Brad Meeks. Haugen was hired as superintendent last June.
Several people he met through that experience, including some school board members, have encouraged him to run, and he is also serving on a committee regarding the district’s strategic action plan.
“In voting for me, you’re getting a person who’s committed to the community and families,” he said.
Guist grew up in Rosemount and has lived in Farmington since 2000. He and wife, Paige, are pastors of Farmington’s Middle Creek Vineyard Church. The couple have three children, ages 12, 9 and 8, and are expecting a fourth child in October. Guist also works with social media, web interface and blog writing for a Bloomington company.
Laura Adelmann is at email@example.com or facebook.com/sunthisweek.