Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck has been handed the reins of Eau Claire's school district at a difficult time.
Shrinking budgets. Class sizes creeping upward. The disembowelment of collective bargaining. Low staff morale. An ugly divorce between Eau Claire and its last superintendent. This is not the Golden Age of Education in Wisconsin or Eau Claire.
Hardebeck was born in Man, West Virginia. From there she became a teacher; working 19 years in a variety of elementary, middle, and high school classrooms in Virginia and North Carolina. Before being hired in Eau Claire, she was the Assistant Superintendent for a dozen high schools in Loudoun County, Virginia.
To qualify as administrator of a big school district, it's not essential that you've put nineteen years in the classroom, but it helps. It's not essential that you know what it takes to be a great teacher, but you'd certainly think that it's handy in what Hardebeck calls "a people business." It is essential that you champion the message that education is good for communities, business, and children who grow up to become good citizens.
Why do we value education so? How do we makes ends meet? What is Eau Claire's greatest educational need? In our conversation, Ms. Hardebeck takes on the tough questions facing education and shies from none. In this age, that's golden.
Mary Ann Hardebeck, In Person. Only on WQOW News 18. At the top of the class.