1) What do you think your school system does best? What could be improved upon?
We have many excellent staff members who invest in the lives of students. They not only teach academics but life skills such as responsibility, leadership, and compassion and encourage students to pursue their passions. However, autonomy has decreased in schools and classrooms in recent years, and the organization has become increasingly top-down. When my kids started in this district, there was a greater diversity among the schools, and families were able to choose the school that best fit their children’s unique needs and learning styles.
2) Name two challenges in your district and how you might approach helping solve them if elected.
A greater degree of accountability and transparency is needed to make us stronger. We need to plan for follow-up so we can ensure we are always doing what we say we are doing for our students. I can contribute by asking difficult questions and sharing examples of where I have seen some actions fall through the cracks. As we go through the hiring process for a new superintendent, I will seek a candidate who places value on accountability and transparency.
We also need to provide quality customer service. Our customers should be given the opportunity to enter into a conversation that will increase trust, build community, and yield stronger schools as we continuously strive to attract and retain valuable employees. I can help by encouraging the district to provide an annual survey to students, staff, families, and community members and taking action on results where appropriate.
3) Under what circumstances would you request a tax levy increase within your school district?
Since we just passed a levy, and budget issues remain at the forefront for many, it is imperative that we balance our budget, remove any unnecessary excess spending, and make responsible fiscal decisions. After that, if we can show a viable need in order to better provide a quality education to children, then I would consider requesting a tax levy increase. As a middle class family, we feel the pinch of any increased taxes, so I would ensure that anything we ask for is necessary.
4) Compared to many other school districts, a relatively small percentage of students living in your district attend public schools there. Can anything be done to change that, and if so what?
We live in a district with many choices, but I absolutely believe we can increase our enrollment in our public schools by drawing more students from outside the district boundaries and giving families who open enroll in other districts a reason to return to the district. It will take bold action, but when our current families are excited, they will spread the word to others, and they will give the Stillwater Area Public Schools high marks on school comparison websites.