October 4, 2020
School DistrictLake Orion Community Schools
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Yes. I am endorsed by both the Lake Orion Educational Association and the Michigan Education Association.
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
My love of education and the community is the driving force behind my decision to run for the Board of Education. I have spent my entire career in the field of education striving to make a difference. I have been very active in Lake Orion schools serving on PTO’s and school committees, but I feel that I could provide more to the district. I believe that my knowledge and leadership skills could greatly benefit not only the board of education but also the district as a whole.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
To me, education justice means providing a world-class education for all students. A student’s race, ethnicity, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or any other factor should not affect the level of education that a student receives. Every student should be provided a highly qualified teacher and also have access to the best educational resources. All students should have access to the best education possible.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
If I could reimagine education, I would include having a virtual learning option for students in every district. Not every student enjoys the in-person learning experience. Some students thrive online. Having this option available would benefit a district overall.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
I am a true believer in the power of communication. Providing clear and open communication with parents, students, and families is paramount within any district. As a Board member, I will make it a priority to engage with the community and gain insight into what the parents, students, and community members feel that Lake Orion Schools do well and where they believe the district could be improved.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
I do not have any top financial supporters for my campaign. All of my donors have been family and friends. I am very grateful for their support.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
The top 3 priorities within the school district are communication with parents, collaboration with teachers, and financial responsibility for the district as a whole.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
As a board member, I would have very little control over the educational decisions at a state level. However, the most pressing issue at the state level is that of school funding. There have been numerous studies proving a direct correlation between the financial resources of a school district and student outcomes. Michigan is one of only five states that has seen a decline in the rates of reading proficiency over the past 15 years. This is a dangerous trend considering that early reading proficiency is linked to overall academic achievement. The legislature needs to work more closely with educational experts to find a better method of funding the schools.
What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?
I anticipate that the continuity of learning and the possibility of rolling closures will be a challenge for all school districts. In Lake Orion Community Schools, since we started our school year in a remote format, our teachers and students are very accustomed to learning in an online format. If a situation arises where it is no longer safe for students and staff to continue an in-person option, LOCS has the ability to seamlessly transition to a completely remote format.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
Financial responsibility is of the utmost importance. The community has been very generous in both approving a sinking fund and a bond. As a Board member, I will ensure that our hard-earned dollars are put to the best and most efficient uses aligned with the projects that voters approved.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
Unfortunately, standardized test scores have been overemphasized in education. In numerous studies, it has been found that overall high school grades and GPA are a better predictor of college success than standardized test scores. It is extremely important to look at a student’s GPA, trends of grades over time, and involvement in both extracurricular activities and involvement in the community. Having a well-rounded student is far more important than any standardized test scores.
If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?
Lake Orion Community Schools has a very rigorous curriculum as is. If I could change one aspect, it would be adding a virtual option to the curriculum.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
As a society, the issue of mental health has been heavily discussed since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Although this can be an uncomfortable topic, it is necessary to make sure the district is meeting the social-emotional needs of everyone in our school community including students, staff, and administration. As a board member, I would make it a priority to utilize the groups in our area, such as the North Oakland Community Coalition and Common Ground, to continually improve the mental health supports that are available within the district.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
Of course, schools should be a safe space for all students. However, the matter of discipline should be left to the administration of the district. The Board of Education should only be involved in discipline if a line is reached where a student’s ability to get a free and appropriate public education is removed. That only involves very long term suspensions and expulsions. Otherwise, discipline should be left to the Superintendent, because a Board that meddles in operations will create an environment of confusion where the community thinks every operating decision of the Administration can be reviewed by the Board.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
As a board member of The Daisy Project of Michigan, I believe that it is extremely important to give special needs families a voice within the district. I would encourage open communication with these families to continually improve the services that are available to the special needs population.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
Providing an exemplary education for all students is the mission for Lake Orion Community Schools. Ensuring that every student is being provided an education that makes certain that they reach their full potential is essential. Every student should have equal access to a world-class education that prepares them for not only college but also all of the challenges that they will face in college and beyond.