As she and husband Tony Filipovitch raised a family in Mankato, Brynaert found herself volunteering as a playground monitor at their daughters’ school; then offering her time to other organizations focused on the healthy development of children; then getting elected to the School Board; and finally making the jump to the state Legislature.
Brynaert said she gained some expertise along the way, such as her deep knowledge of methods for assessing the performance of students, teachers and schools and holding educators accountable — a topic she’s been involved in for 25 years.
Getting that right — so that children are being provided the best possible education — has been a priority in Mankato, she said: “There’s a common vision for the well-being of children and families in this community.”
It’s been a focus of her six years in St. Paul because she believes it’s vital the state get it right, too. Along with other motivations, improving school performance and holding educators accountable using valid, research-based measures is vital to Minnesota’s economic future, she said.
“It’s those kids going to kindergarten who are the workforce being developed.”
Shunkwiler said three priorities are at the foundation of his legislative run: boosting the local economy, improving education and ensuring that veterans get the benefits they deserve.
The basis of his economic plan is to work toward elimination of the state property tax on small businesses and streamlining of regulations on business owners.
On education, he believes colleges need to spend less on amenities like athletic facilities and focus those resources on the classroom. Shunkwiler also wants to boost the number of counselors in Minnesota schools, saying the ratio of students to counselors in the state is one of the highest in the nation.
Finally, he wants to make sure Minnesota veterans get the help they need with medical care, employment and mental health services.