A family of 5 with a brown furry golden doodle, smiles for the camera on a fall day. Mom has brown hair and is wearing a rose colored jacket. Dad is wearing a plaid shirt. A preschool aged son and elementary aged daughter smile. An elementary aged son holds the dog.

Who is Bianca Virnig?

I’m a mom and advocate.

We began our adventure with District 196 as open-enrollees and moved into the Deerwood community in the summer of 2017. When my family outgrew our townhome, we considered moving out of this district and purchasing my childhood home in Centerville. Because we believe this is one of the best places to raise a family, and because our roots within this community had already grown deep, we chose to stay.

My husband, Ken, grew up on a dairy farm in Central Minnesota and together we have three lovely children. Our oldest son is entering 6th grade at Blackhawk, our daughter will be a 4th grader at Deerwood and she is joined by our youngest son who is entering Kindergarten. Our family is rounded out by a spunky golden doodle that keeps us on our toes.

 

Deerwood Elementary and ISD 196 have served us well and I would like to offer my time and talents in return. Our board is known for working well together and it is important that we reflect our community. As a mother of three young children, I know how important it is that we put our students first and I ask that you help me to support all ISD 196 students by allowing me to join this productive and inclusive team.

Why I Am Running

As we enter the third year of pandemic learning, it has become evident that we need more parent involvement to drive positive change. As a mother of three school-age children and a public servant dedicated to the intersection of public health and education, I bring a unique perspective to this work. I have a deep appreciation for the challenges we face and an understanding of how we can leverage partnerships to impact change, explore innovative solutions, close the equity gap, and support the health of our students and staff.  

 

Working through complex issues to find common ground energizes me. Together we can ensure our schools are safe and welcoming for all students, families and staff. It is essential that students and staff have access to the resources, opportunities, and supplies they need to succeed and thrive. 

 

School board members focus more on policy and governance but that doesn’t mean we can’t ask tough questions like:

 

Given the drop in enrollment in early childhood programming during the pandemic, how are we addressing missed developmental and learning opportunities that may increase inequities?

 

How many students succeed in college? How do these outcomes differ for our students of color or students with disabilities?

 

How are we supporting staff and reducing burnout in our very talented and skilled workforce?

 

As a forward thinking candidate, I will not shy away from the challenges facing the district and I have the perspective, skills and experience to make a positive difference in outcomes for so many. 

My Experience

By day, I work for Metro ECSU, an educational service cooperative, as the Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Currently, I am on redeployment as the Regional COVID Coordinator for metro area schools where my contributions to the pandemic response were recently recognized by Dakota County. I am the recipient of the 2021 Public Health Achievement Award. Finally, I am a Regional Data Coach for SLEDS.

At night, I volunteer my time to the school community in a variety of ways. I’m entering my 4th year on the ISD 196 Budget Advisory Council, I’m the PTO President at Deerwood and I was a member of the district’s COVID Incident Command Team. I have coached Lego League, helped spearhead a mask drive and helped community members find vaccine appointments. 

My personal and professional experiences have provided an opportunity to develop strong relationships within the school community and state and local government. As a member of MASMS and MASBO, I have a good understanding of school finance and LTFM funding. With over 15 years of combined public service at MN OSHA, then Hennepin County and now Metro ECSU, I bring a level of expertise in environmental, occupational, and public health, safety and accessibility that the current board lacks.

Education

Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Minnesota

Associate of Arts from Century College

Certified ADA Coordinator (ADAC)

Certified Accessibility Specialist (MN #AS002949).

Awards