I have lived in the Wayzata School District with my husband and three children for the past seven years. My children currently attend middle and high school in the district. I ran for Wayzata School Board in 2019 and was only 153 votes shy of winning a seat that year. Since then, I have continued volunteering my time as much as COVID precautions would allow. I have a passion for volunteering; my volunteer experiences give me a greater connection to our community and a greater understanding of the concerns and aspirations of Wayzata families.
In advocating for my own children, I have run the gamut, from getting accommodations for learning disabilities, to seeking gifted opportunities, sometimes for the same child! I have personal experience helping my child navigate the challenges of dyslexia, and this has made early reading intervention a focus of mine. I am grateful for the high-quality education my children have received, and I am committed to bringing this experience to all children in the district.
My background is in biology; I graduated with distinction from Duke University with a B.S. in biology, and I managed a neurobiology lab at Duke Medical Center before moving to Minnesota. Currently, my days are filled with caring for my family and volunteering. I am a volunteer canine handler with Minnesota K9 Search Specialists, the canine element of Minnesota Task Force 1. Our family dog, Coda, is a Type II certified USAR canine; together, Coda and I are deployed for the search and rescue of disaster victims within the state of Minnesota.
Before moving to the Wayzata School District in 2016, I lived in our neighboring school district of Robbinsdale. I have extensive experience driving change in that district, having led my community during a school facilities reorganization that was being rushed through without consideration for how it would affect students or families in the Pilgrim Lane neighborhood. I acted as liaison between community members, board members, school administration, and city planners, ultimately coming to a solution that was satisfactory to all. I'm proud to say that the eventual solution for the FAIR Pilgrim Lane School in District 281 was referred to informally in board meetings as "The Sheila Prior Plan." My experience with the community and the school board during this time reinforced the importance of transparency and of allowing time for input from all stakeholders when making decisions.