Name Age: Enrique Velázquez, 47 years old
Address: My campaign address is 4455 Village Lake Drive SE #1198, Prior Lake
Family: Married to the love of my life Sarah. We have four children: Gabrielle (27), Kamryn (19), Lillian (16), Mason (13).
Use: Director of the City of Minneapolis Regulatory Services and Inspections Division.
Education: MBA with specialization in public and non-profit management; BSBA with concentration in project management and finance; Economic Development Institute Certification
Hobbies interests: Music, martial arts, creative writing, breaking down barriers
Previous experience: Non-profit sector—current school board director; Subway Southwest Intermediate School District Board Representative; Southwest Metro Education Foundation Board Representative; former treasurer and co-director of Native Strong; former Chairman of Community Relations and Chairman of Corporate Relations with the National Society of Hispanic MBAs; former board member coach and event coordinator for PLAY Track & Field. Private Sector – 15+ years of experience managing global operations for a Fortune 10 company, including responsibility for a $1 billion annual revenue portfolio, risk mitigation experience in management of over $50 million in legal exposure; product design responsibility for diagnostic capability, serviceability and accessibility to expand product reach; Public Sector – responsibility for over $250 million in capital improvement projects, familiarity with GASB funding, meeting regulatory and fiduciary requirements.
Contact information: [email protected]; 612-791-9245
Why do you want to serve on the school board?
Education is the most powerful transformative tool we have as a community. Environmental progress, economic growth, community development, and leadership all erode if we fail to equip the next generation of leaders to think critically, adapt to change, or grow as people. I am proof that education has the power to transform lives for the better and I want to continue to serve the community that I love and that has given so much to my family.
What are the three main elements of your platform and how would you approach them?
1. Mental health supports in our schools. The pandemic has revealed significant gaps and needs among our students. We need to equip our certified and non-certified staff to be able to recognize needs, develop tools to defuse situations, support systems for our learners and for staff as well.
2. Culture of belonging. Regardless of our differences, we need safe spaces to teach, learn, and become our best selves. We need to educate and empower our certified staff with tools and resources so they can engage in meaningful conversations with our learners about the power of words and actions. We must reinforce the district’s zero-tolerance policy for bullying, hazing, and racist activity that individually and collectively harms others.
3. Equity in education. It is a multifaceted concept. Not all learners are the same and should not be treated as such. Learners in gifted and talented programs need the necessary focused attention, access to tools and resources that allow them to push to their abilities. Likewise, those who participate in the Life Skills program or receive other educational services need focused attention, care and support that will allow them to thrive. General education students need different sets of tools, resources and support for all learners to reach their full potential.
School board meetings have been contentious in recent years, with disagreements over masking policies, curriculum and other issues. How would you encourage civil discourse while serving on the board?
I tend to leave emotion out of the equation and focus on qualitative and quantitative data to guide decisions. Leading with data helps all stakeholders engage in open dialogue. While we may approach challenges differently, if we work from the same data sources and believe that data to be accurate, we have a solid foundation for conversation.
As you know, a technology tax was on the ballot last year and did not pass. How will you get the community to support future levies and referendums if elected?
The ballot measure failed narrowly. That being said, in this process we have seen the importance of community engagement, not just when the district has a need. Community engagement needs to be part of what we do as a district so that our stakeholders have visibility, have a mechanism to have their voices heard, and understand needs before the district asks for financial support. The engagement was missing. With the advent of the finance committee and initiatives such as the state of the district listening sessions, the district is on the right track.
Describe your leadership style:
My leadership style is that of a servant-leader. I will never ask anyone for something that I am not ready to do myself or that I am not already doing. In a crisis or state of emergency, I remain cool, calm, collected and thrive in these pressure situations.
Why should people vote for you?
I bring a level-headed, logical approach to problem-solving district needs. I trust and verify what is presented to ensure that the information given corresponds to the reality of our communities served. As a third culture individual who has lived in a number of countries and worked globally, I see things through a global lens and am able to reflect the needs of our diverse community.
In the past 10 years, have you been convicted of one or more serious misdemeanors, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?
No, I have not been charged or convicted of one or more serious misdemeanors. I have never been involved in any personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure.