October 14, 2020
School District:Vandercook Lake
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Cerified Board Member and Award of Merit from Michigan Association School Boards
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I believe having a role on the school board allows me the opportunity to support educators and communities in our most valuable resource for the future – successfully educating our children.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Educational justice means having opportunities and options for ALL to receive a quality education. All of Vandercook Lake Public School employees work together with the community of Jackson and surrounding areas to meet student needs on all different levels to ensure success for the students and enabling them to feel like a productive and wanted member of the community.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
My ideal world is that school, especially in the Pre-K through 12th grade, is in-person. We have learned a lot about different student learning options through COVID. Offering online learning/teaching options and opportunities is certainly something we should continue to review, refine, and implement.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
An opinion without a voice goes nowhere. I believe in the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. Students, parents, families, and community members have the privilege and a responsibility to communicate ideas and thoughts with school district staff and leaders. School district staff and leaders have the responsibility to listen before making decisions. I not only encourage and welcome the voices to be shared, but I expect them as we work together for the success of our students.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
2. Building Parent and Student involvement in working together to achieve student success.
3. Equal Opportunities
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
1. Fair and equitable funding
2. Issues with Standardized testing.
3. Mental health awareness for students
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 think the biggest challenge this school year due to COVID will be to ensure all staff and students feel safe from contracting COVID while continuing to offer a solid education. Michigan has done a fair amount in taking care of the physical process of precaution and prevention of COVID
School districts have done a great job getting technology to students, allowing them diverse learning options to continue their educational opportunities. We are also faced with the emotional and social well-being of children due to COVID including a community in crisis, loss of loved ones, change, and so much more. We need to look at options to meet these emotional and social needs.
We have a responsibility to make sure our entire staff in every position feel supported and safe in completing their job duties. We have taken measures to ensure that protocols for sanitation and other means to keep the school free of COVID within our control is in place. We need to make sure our staff has all the tools and other needed support we can give them as they work with the children we have been given the privilege to educate.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
Top Spending Priorities
1. Safe infrastructure
2. Solid curriculum, staff, and learning tools/materials for staff and students
3. Extended student and family support (extracurricular outlets, food programs, counseling, at-risk intervention)
Low Spending Priorities
1. Costly advertisements
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
I think standardized testing should give us information on each student allowing staff the opportunity to create a successful growth plan as needed for each individual student. I do not think it should compare student to student, class to class, or a school district to school district.
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?
I look at each student as an individual with their own personal goals; not a state-wide common path the same for all.
I would like to see a student set in a more individualized track instead of all being in the same mold. This does not mean all students wouldn’t have the same options and opportunities available but would take advantage of choices that are more suited for each student’s own individual success.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
We have the responsibility of supporting staff in their mental and emotional well being so they can be productive in what they do for our students. We have the responsibility of supporting students in their mental and emotional well being as this well-being has a huge impact on their success to grow, learn, and become productive citizens.
We need to have people and programs in place and/or accessible both inside and outside our district to support the emotional and wellbeing of all staff and students.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
1. Provide a caring environment that makes everybody feel comfortable to share concerns, fears, etc (Listen and act on/follow up as needed)
2. Teach self-worth and worth of others
3. Be consistent
4. Have an intervention plan in place for the different levels of unacceptable behavior with appropriate discipline, This should be explained and posted for everybody to see (staff, students, parents/guardians, etc.)
1. Follow discipline procedures
2. Take the necessary to make buildings as secure and safe as possible.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
We need to make certain special education students receive all mandated items listed in their educational development plan including resources and staff. We should mainstream students where appropriate and in the best interest of each student. ALL students should be made to feel welcome and self-worth.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
Schools need to make sure every student feels comfortable, self-worth and safe being who they are All students should be able to grow, learn, and be equipped for continuing learning and work after school while being a productive citizen. Options in programs, extracurricular activities, clubs, counseling, classroom assistance, intervention, etc. should be available to all students.
Any other information you want to include or share?
I have had the privilege of serving on the Vandercook Lake School board for many years. It has been an exciting adventure that I would like to continue. I believe my
experiences, tenure, and knowledge can offer insight into the challenges educators face as we move further into the ever-changing, yet the successful, area of public education.