CASPER, Wyo. — Election season is underway, and Oil City News has sent a list of questions to all candidates who have filed to run for a seat on the Natrona County School District Board of Trustees.
These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. Below, get to know Ryan Landmann, who is running for one of four seats available on the NCSD Board of Trustees:
1. Who are you? (Name, where you’re from, employment, hobbies, etc.)
My name is Ryan Landmann. I recently moved from Dubois, Wyoming, to Casper partly for work and partly because of the great schools. I currently work for ServeWyoming as the Service Learning Coordinator, where I align high school and college students in Wyoming with volunteer opportunities. I am a former theatre teacher of 16 years at the high school level and nine years at the college level. Currently, I am a member of the board for the Theatre of the Poor. In addition to enjoying theatre, I also watch baseball, college football, and enjoy spending time with my wife and son.
2. Why have you decided to run for the NCSD Board of Trustees and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?
Natrona County is known for having excellent schools. As a former public school teacher, I have the background and experience to contribute meaningfully to the NCSD Board of Trustees. While the district is good, there are areas that could be better. I would like to improve the graduation rate and test scores, while supporting teachers in their ability to discipline students properly. Another priority for my campaign is retaining highly skilled educators and administrators.
3. How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
We need to research the issues within the district to gain an understanding of why these issues are occurring. Why do we have seven schools on an improvement plan? Why is the truancy rate at an all-time high? Why is drug use increasing on campus? I plan to be involved in task forces and collaborative committees with other agencies, such as law enforcement and various nonprofits like Mercer House, to find a way to solve these issues to help our school-aged children get the education they need.
4. What experience do you have that qualifies you to serve as a trustee?
I taught high school for 16 years in a very impoverished area that had a significant dropout rate. I was hands-on with my students and worked to figure out how to keep them interested in school. I have the experience as an educator, which means I know firsthand the challenges which teachers and administrators face. I’ve been in their shoes and know what it means to have the support of a trustee who is trying to work with them for the betterment of all.
5. Do you feel you could be a good steward with taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?
I am fiscally responsible and plan on making sure the district is financially responsible with all the federal, state, and local monies. When I became a teacher, the theatre program I took over was in the red. I made difficult decisions and quickly turned the program around to where we had a significant amount of money in our account.
6. On the issue of transparency, where do you stand on ensuring all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public attendance?
A public school is an entity that is not only available to students but should be held accountable to the public. The board needs to be open and transparent because we can’t make effective changes alone. We need public input and public discussion. While the ultimate responsibility and decision-making is up to the Board of Trustees, the general public is made up of diverse and thoughtful people who are welcome to engage in constructive conversation so we can make the Natrona County School District the best it could possibly be.
7. Are you familiar with the work of the school board in recent years? Are you pleased with what you have seen or are there problems you see that you think need to be addressed?
While I only recently moved to Casper, I have been following the school board for the past several years as my family and I intended to relocate. The Natrona County School District is among the best in the nation, but there is always room for improvement. For example, I would like to see the board be more involved with the seven schools that are underperforming.
8. Should you be elected, or reelected, do you plan on seeking any major policy changes? If yes, what would those changes be? If no, why not?
While I do not plan on major changes, I would like to see a shift in thinking. We should ensure that all students are college OR career ready: We need to understand that a great number of our students will go on to trades and prepare them accordingly.
9. Is there anything the above questions didn’t ask that you would like to comment on?
NOTE: All candidates who filed to run for a seat on the NCSD Board of Trustees were sent questionnaires at the same time and Oil City News will publish responses in the order they are received. Candidate responses are only edited for clarity and style.