School Board Candidates

Four candidates have filed for two open seats on the Ladue Schools Board of Education. The election will be Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The candidates, listed in the order they will appear on the ballot:

Marissa Rosen  |  Jennifer Growe Soshnik  |   Andrew “Andy” Cohen  |  Adam Pablo Flinn

 

 

Each candidate, at the time of filing, was asked to submit a photo, a biographical statement, and answers to two questions (word count limitations were provided). Candidates may include outside links within their biographies; however, the Ladue School District does not encourage nor discourage any reader from using these links.

A virtual Meet the Candidates Night is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at 6 p.m. (click here to access the Zoom link).

Marissa Rosen

Marissa Rosen - Board Candidate

My husband, Howard, and I have been proud residents of the Ladue School District for the past 11 years. Our children have been a part of the district since Kindergarten and now attend LMS and LHWHS. My leadership within the Ladue School District started with being President of Old Bonhomme PTO and continued as President of the Ladue Middle School Parent Association. My current role as President of the Board of Directors of the Ladue Education Foundation has afforded me the opportunity to make student-centered decisions in a team environment. My service on other nonprofit boards in the community has enhanced my ability to listen carefully and build consensus.

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Spanish from Washington University. I also earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Brown School at WashU, with focus in mental health and management. I began my social work career with BJC Behavioral Health and Magellan Health, then transitioned into the nonprofit sector and became the Development Director at the National Council of Jewish Women. As the Grants Manager for the Trio Foundation of St. Louis, I have honed my ability to understand and evaluate financial documents, as well as use my critical thinking skills to make hard decisions.

My professional career and experience as a leader in Ladue Schools demonstrate my commitment to our community. It would be a privilege to serve you as a member of the Ladue Schools Board of Education. Learn more at www.marissarosen4ladue.com.

Why are you running for the Ladue Schools Board of Education?

I am running for Ladue School District Board of Education to ensure the continued success of all students and teachers, to maintain the fiscal health of our district, and to strive for greater engagement with all families. My education, work, and leadership experience have given me the skills needed to be an effective member of the Ladue Schools Board and to serve its constituents. Our community has high expectations for quality education and administration. I want to ensure that we continue to attract and retain experienced, innovative, and compassionate teachers as well as focus on exceptional communication with the entire community.

What do you think are key issues facing the Ladue Schools Board of Education in the next two or three years?

  • Engaging with the Ladue Schools community and breaking down barriers that prevent participation.
  • Dedicating district resources to recovering from COVID-19, which includes the creation and implementation of a strong plan to support the social-emotional-behavioral health of our students and staff.
  • Continuing to maintain the fiscal health of the district with careful attention to expenses.
  • Attracting and retaining excellent teachers, which includes attention to hiring with a diversity lens.
  • Listening to and responding to community concerns in an intentional and timely way.
  • Passing Prop L which will allow the district to upgrade our four elementary schools and Ladue Middle School so that they are in line with current learning standards and practices.
  • Focusing on early childhood education and the creation of a universal Pre-K program.

Jennifer Growe Soshnik

Jennifer Soshnik - Board Candidate

My roots in our community and dedication to our schools are deep and strong.  I graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in 2000 and then majored in political science at the University of Illinois, graduating with high distinction in 2004.  I received my law degree from Washington University in 2007.  During my legal career, I have worked primarily on civil court matters, handling business and family law cases. I am an active member of the Missouri Bar.

My husband, Danny, and I have two children — Jordan (3rd grade) and Emmy (1st grade). Both attend Old Bonhomme Elementary and are the third generation in my family to attend Ladue Schools. I am proud to call myself a lifelong resident of the Ladue School District.

I have held various leadership positions at Old Bonhomme since our son entered kindergarten and now serve as President of the Old Bonhomme PTO. I also have served districtwide and am currently a member of the District Diversity Committee and the Ladue Alumni Council.

Since graduating from law school, I have placed a high priority on volunteering in the St. Louis community.  I am a past member of the board of directors of Girls on the Run (St. Louis) and current member of the board of directors of Jewish Family Services. Please refer to my campaign website, www.JenniferGroweSoshnik.com for additional biographical information.

Through my varied experiences, I have a deep knowledge of the district and understanding of the qualities necessary for an effective board member.

Why are you running for Ladue Schools Board of Education? 

We have a responsibility to ensure that students at all grade levels continue to receive the highest levels of academics, extracurricular opportunities and diversity of thought, all of which have long been the hallmarks of a Ladue education. We must also ensure that our district continues to evolve with fiscal responsibility at the forefront of our initiatives.

I believe that the combination of my personal experiences, professional skills and common sense make me uniquely qualified to fairly represent all of our stakeholders in fulfilling our responsibilities and navigating the known and unknown challenges of the next several years.

What do you think are the key issues facing the Ladue Schools Board of Education in the next two or three years? 

In the immediate future, the school board must consider strategies and set policies addressing students’ educational and social-emotional challenges in what will become the post-COVID era.

In the next several years, the Board must:

  • Ensure our district’s continued ability to attract and retain first-class educators.
  • Ensure that the physical structure of our buildings supports delivery of curriculum and provides the means to advance state-of-the-art technology.
  • Provide our faculty and staff the resources necessary for sustained excellence and long-term success.
  • Continue to foster a sense of belonging through support and advancement of district initiatives embracing diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Support ongoing curriculum development aimed at providing students of all levels the highest levels of academic, extracurricular, skill and character-building opportunities, inclusive of individual needs.
  • Enhance involvement of all community stakeholders in thoughtful discussion of critical issues facing the district as a key component of any decision-making process.

Andrew “Andy” Cohen

Andrew "Andy" Cohen

I am a passionate Ladue parent and local business owner that is tenacious about our children, education, and our community. I believe that there should be continued transparency on the School Board, that a fresh perspective is crucial in any existing business and organization, and that feedback and community involvement is essential for growth.

I have a vested interest in the Ladue School District’s success being a father of two elementary-aged children.

I possess a unique skillset that makes me the best candidate for this position. I have a Master’s in Public Administration, started a successful business, and am a proud father and husband. These roles are my foundation, and all of them align with the skills needed to be an asset to the Ladue School Board.

As a small business owner, I understand and appreciate the responsibility to make tough decisions. Fiscal restraint, critical, quick decision making, and collaboration are the tools I will use to understand problems and offer proactive solutions.

Please visit Cohen4kids.com for more information.

Why are you running for Ladue Schools Board of Education? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me that children are our most valuable commodity. Our success hinges upon their educational growth and we must ensure they have the tools for success.

What are the key issues facing the Board of Education in the next two or three years?

  • Seeing that our physical buildings and district infrastructure are not only maintained but are upgraded to accommodate the rising number of students and their current educational needs and that for future children.
  • Offer additional support on a social and emotional level. Covid-19 forced our children to work, learn and interact in an environment never faced by our youth.  A child’s mental state affects every facet of their lives and a top-tier district like Ladue must provide all support necessary to achieve success.
  • The district needs to ensure we are providing an opportunity for diversity and equality all at grade levels and all voices are heard.   While disagreement can present unique discussion opportunities, we must remember that respect and tolerance are a must.

Adam Pablo Flinn

Adam Flinn - Board Candidate

My wife Lolita and I have been parents in Ladue Schools since 2006. Our son Caleb is currently a sophomore at Ladue Horton Watkins High School (LHWHS) and our daughter Kristin is a 2014 alumna. I have volunteered in the Ladue School District for the past 15 years. While serving in various capacities at Spoede Elementary, Ladue Middle School, and LHWHS, I also served on the Curriculum and Instruction Board Advisory committee and the CURE committee. Additionally, I was a Ladue Education Foundation board member.

I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I earned an additional Masters of Education degree with a focus in Building Administration and an Education Specialist Degree in District Administration from Missouri Baptist University.

I have been an educator in the St. Louis region for the last 25 years. In addition to serving as an educator in our Ladue School District, I have worked in several neighboring districts, and as an administrator for the Special School District serving students with varied abilities and their families. Equity and social justice advocacy are a focus of my work in education. I have also led equity programming through the National Conference for Community and Justice of Metropolitan St. Louis and facilitated adult equity learning through The Equity Exchange, a public/private education partnership centered around diversity.  Learn more about me at www.apflinn4ladue.com or www.facebook.com/apflinn4ladue.

Why are you running for Ladue Schools Board of Education?

The Ladue School District is a leader in educational excellence. We are also a community of ten municipalities representing a spectrum of experiences and identities. Our schools become the melting pots of this greater community. I will continue to use my experience as an educator, community leader, and equity advocate to support all students and families.

As a board member, I will bring a focused and experienced lens so that our Ladue Schools continue to prepare all students for a changing and diverse post-secondary world.

What are the key issues facing the Board of Education in the next two or three years?

  • Ladue Schools must continue to keep equity as a focus to ensure all students have a sense of belonging and are ready for the highest levels of post-secondary education and career development.
  • The district must continue developing a robust post-COVID learning process and plan that addresses the social-emotional and physical well-being of students and educators as well as addressing technology use and access.
  • Our district must remain financially solvent and responsible as we also embark on creating new physical spaces ready to meet the changing needs of education.