Statler hopes to retain Indian River school board seat

Millsboro resident Dr. Heather Statler filed Friday, Nov. 30 for the Indian River School Board board of education District 3 seat she has held since August of 2015.

MILLSBORO – Current Indian River School District school board member Dr. Heather Statler of Millsboro wants to remain on board, as the governing body’s connection to special education.

Dr. Statler filed with the Department of Elections Friday for the District 3 seat she has held since being appointed in August 2015, succeeding Nina Lou Bunting, who was appointed to the State Board of Education.

School board elections are in May 2019.

“I am so happy to have filed for re-election today as a District 3 representative for the Indian River School Board,” said Dr. Statler. “One of the reasons I was selected by the Board was to provide some expertise and guidance in the area of special education.”

Dr. Statler is employed at Delaware Technical Community College as a counselor. “My primary duties are focused on students with disabilities,” she said. “I’ve spent my entire career at the college.”

Following her board appointment, Dr. Statler filed in January 2016 to run for the remainder of Ms. Bunting’s term. She was unopposed in retaining that seat.

District 3 includes Millsboro, Long Neck, and Dagsboro.

Dr. Statler points out that during her school board tenure, many special education initiatives have been implemented, such as:

  • Creation of the Special Education Task Force;
  • Establishment of a district-wide Special Education Week;
  • Development of a Special Education Department Strategic Plan (to address operations and goals for both short-term and long-term);
  • Establishment of Special Education Ambassadors throughout the district;
  • Annual Parent Focus Group Meetings for families of special education students.

A major component of the Special Education Task Force is to work collaboratively with individual buildings along with administration to recognize and celebrate accomplishments and best practices in the field in addition to offering feedback and suggestions for strengthening operations.

“As a result, we created a three-year plan to focus on special education services in each building in the district,” said Dr. Statler. “We are currently in year two of this three-year project.”

Dr. Statler’s vision for the IRSD includes:

Special Education: “I would like to continue the work that is being done in our district to ensure the best special education experiences are available to our students.  At the forefront, is the construction of the new Howard T. Ennis building.  I would also like to expand programming for Special Education Week and enhance our website by adding more interactive resources for families,” said Dr. Statler.

District-wide Strategic Planning Initiatives: “I am passionate about strategic planning.  We have been very successful with strategic planning documents in specific departments.  Through collaboration and a shared vision, various other areas are now developing plans that will provide us blueprints for both the short and long-term,” said Dr. Statler. “This is critical because it helps us to anticipate needs, especially in areas that we see sustained growth.”

Growth: “The growth of the district is a very important topic,” Dr. Statler said. “I am always open to exploring responsible solutions that help us manage our growth while still maintaining excellence in our classrooms.

“I am very committed to and proud of the Indian River School District,” said Dr. Statler. “I graduated from Indian River High School, my children attend Millsboro Middle School and Sussex Central High School.  I believe in honoring our heritage and strengthening our future!”

Dr. Statler resides in Millsboro with her husband, Keith, and two sons. The oldest is a senior at Sussex Central High School and the youngest is an eighth-grade student at Millsboro Middle School.

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