1. “Are you committed to a yearly survey of families, students, graduates, community residents, faculty and staff about what they see as major strengths and shortcomings of the district and its schools? Are you committed to publicly sharing the results?”
Yes! Yes! Yes! You will find this theme in my bio, blog posts, and some newspaper questionnaire responses as I talk about providing quality customer service. I believe we will be stronger when all concerned parties have the opportunity to enter into the conversation. When I have questioned board members on this, one response I received was that people are generally negative on surveys. That seems like a classic case of “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” Yes, these surveys will generate some negative responses, however if many of the negative responses are saying the same thing, it may be an area of needed improvement. In addition, providing this annual survey would allow every party to have a voice. It would also allow the board to be better connected with all areas of the district as they hear the perspectives of others.
2. “Are you committed to yearly sharing the major ways you, as board members, evaluate the district’s (and individual school’s) progress?”
Again, yes. You will read about this in much of my writing as well where I discuss the need for greater accountability and transparency both within the district and to the community. We need to have open and honest conversations about how schools are doing, not just in the area of test results but in multiple areas of success and opportunity at each school and within the district as a whole. The annual survey mentioned in the first question could be a natural first step in providing information necessary to evaluate progress.
3. “What are your priorities in the coming year? Why and how did you select these issues?”
My responses to the two above questions are my priorities as you will read in my bio: accountability, transparency, customer service, and bringing balance to the board as an elementary parent. As I have attended many board meeting over the past three years and volunteered many hours in the classroom, I often see a disconnect between board actions and what is actually happening in the school and classroom. With 8,400 students in this district, we need to find ways to better bridge the gap between the board/administration and the classroom.
4. “What is your own experience with public education? How [will this experience influence] your work as a board member?”
I am a product of public education, and it has never been a question to our family whether our children would attend the public schools. I received a solid education, and I expect my children to receive a solid education. Sometimes the waters become muddied and children can be overlooked as the number of mandates increase and as districts attempt to market themselves in order to increase enrollment. It is my desire to ensure that all children receive the education they need to be successful adults in our society.
5. “Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or a representative of the school system?”
At this time, it is easy for me to say that I am a representative of the community. That is my reason for running for this position. I want to be a voice for students, families, taxpayers, and staff members. As I am hopefully elected to the board, this is a question I will need to keep continually in front of me, and I would invite anyone reading this post to pose this question to me anytime. It is my desire to represent you well as we work toward a stronger school district, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss the difficult questions. I mean that. Every question I answer makes me stronger and can lead to a stronger school district.