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Getting to know new board member Kathy Ziebarth

Kathy Ziebarth joined the Monticello School Board this January. She recently answered a few questions for the district to help the community get to know one of their board representatives! 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Kathy Ziebarth. I’ve lived in Big Lake (Monti School district) since 1997, and am a native of Ohio. I’m married, and have a 10th grade daughter at MHS, and a daughter who is attending the U of M Twin Cities. One of my daughters is adopted internationally. I moved to MN in 1996 from Japan, where I was an active duty USAF Flight Nurse. I came to MN after being accepted to Anesthesia School, and attended Minneapolis VA School of Anesthesia and the University of MN for graduate school. I’ve been an anesthetist since 1998, and have worked all over central and northern MN in rural and suburban hospitals. I serve on my State Association Government Relations Committee, and have taught at St. Mary’s University, and University of MN in their graduate programs. I have served as an expert witness in medical civil lawsuits, and as a board member on rural medical access committees. I was a candidate for State Representative in 2019 for a special election. We own our own Anesthesia staffing and consulting business, as well as a bakery, and a small film production company. I am also a member of the Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps, and have been actively involved administering Covid vaccinations at clinics in 7 counties. 

Why did you decide to run for Monticello School Board?

I’ve had children in Monticello schools since 2005, and have been actively involved as a long time volunteer at Pinewood (Great Books program), and on the Curriculum Advisory Committee (about 12 years). Serving as a member of the Board is an opportunity to extend my service to the district, parents, and students during this very challenging Covid pandemic. Like all parents and teachers across the country, I’m quite concerned about the impact of the pandemic on our children. I’m proud to be part of a caring team of dedicated Board members, Administrators, and educators who are devoted to our children’s education, and making Monticello schools places of excellence. 

What kind of impact has education had on your life? 

As a health care professional, lifelong learning is necessary to keep current within the many changes in health care. I think it’s important for adults to model to young people that learning, both formal and informal, happens across our lifespan, not just when we are young. I am extremely fortunate to have had access to excellent undergraduate and graduate level education for my profession, as well as all of the numerous learning opportunities I had during my military career. I hope to continue to “pay it forward” with Board service, so that all of our Monti students have an excellent foundation to follow their dreams.


What are your top priorities as a board member?

As a new board member, I have a tremendous amount to learn about education laws, board function, school funding, guiding regulations, and effects of legislation. Learning as much as I can quickly is my first priority! Concurrently, the Covid educational crisis has magnified the need to focus on meeting district financial obligations, and working to mitigate and remediate the educational effects of the last year for our students. Supporting our high performing teachers, and listening to their concerns is also a top priority.


What are your hobbies?

I love to travel to far flung destinations, and have a bunch of international and domestic destinations still on my bucket list! I love to garden, and try “experimental gardening”—last season we grew potatoes in three different methods (container was the highest yield!), and this year I want to try straw bale gardening. I love Japanese gardens as well. I’m working on designing some new Kadomatsu Japanese new year decorations that are a fusion of Japanese and Minnesota “up north” design for my family and friends. In recent years, I’ve been involved in supporting youth performing arts groups for theater, vocal music, and Chinese Dance, as a stage manager and many other roles.


What does “Every Kid, Every Day” mean to you?

This is such a simple, but gripping mission statement! Every student, at every level of ability and performance, needs and deserves the very best education that we can provide with the resources we have. It is a challenge to each of us to bring OUR best to “every kid, every day”, and not become complacent. It means we should challenge EVERY student to learn more, love learning, and to nurture their curiosity and ambition. As parents, teachers, and educators, we are engaged in a most important service role for the future of our students, and our community.