20 years of commitment to STMA schools

School board member Gayle Weber guides STMA through its largest growth

Gayle Weber always wanted to become a teacher.

But rather than leading from the classroom, Weber would become a St. Michael-Albertville School Board member, and the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) recently recognized Weber’s 20 years of service. She was first elected to the board in 1992 and has remained there since.

“I think I’ve always known how important and vital education is, very vital to a student’s future,” she said. “I did want to be a teacher, and being on the school board was my way of getting a little of that. I’ve just always liked young people, and education is so vital. I enjoyed school myself.”

During Weber’s tenure on the board, all four of her sons graduated from STMA, and as a school board member, Weber was there to hand each son their diploma.

But just because her sons are no longer in school, she said she still has a vested interest in the education of St. Michael-Albertville students.

Weber grew up in St. Michael and graduated from the old St. Michael High School (present St. Michael Elementary School building). She is the daughter of Carrol and Armella Kilian, who owned hardware stores since 1952, and whose heritage stretches back to St. Michael’s founding fathers in the mid 19th Century.

“This was a great place to grow up and a great place to raise kids,” Weber said. “I didn’t want STMA to change how the schools should run. I felt it was important to maintain what we had … a great education.”

Weber was one of 15 school board members from across the state who were recognized by the MSBA for 20 years of service.

Some facts about Weber’s service:

• She was first elected in 1992 to complete a two-year term. She won re-election in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

• Prior to election she was the recording secretary for the school board.

• When first elected in 1992, she received 186 votes and in 2010 she received 2,438 votes.

• In 1993-94 there were 1,854 students in the district, compared to 5,633 today.

• In 1993-94 the general fund budget was $6,074,706 compared to $43,147,364 today.

• In 1993-94 the schools were Albertville Elementary, St. Michael Elementary, Junior High School and High School. Today there is Albertville Primary School, St. Michael Elementary School, Big Woods Elementary School, Fieldstone Elementary School, Middle School West, Middle School East and STMA High School.

“Gayle Weber served during the time of the fastest enrollment growth in the district,” Supt. Jim Behle said. “She was recognized for her dedicated leadership in public education and continuing service to the children in this community.”

Weber said she hasn’t decided whether she’ll run when her term expires in 2014. She credited the board members she’s worked with over the years for maintaining stability in the district, especially considering the board’s makeup of six members means a consensus must be reached.

“The board members have always functioned well as a group,” she said. “We’ve never had a conflict. We split votes sometimes but most of the time we think about it and try to keep what’s best for the school district.”