October 6, 2020

Kirsten Sonneville-Douglass

Pronouns:She/Her
School District:West Bloomfield
City:Keego Harbor

How long have you lived in your district?

5 years currently (12 previously)

Have you received any endorsements?

Yes. State Representative Brenda Carter, Oakland County Comissioners Kristen Nelson, Orchard Lake Mayor Pro Tem Norm Finkelstein, Orchard Lake Councilmember Bruce McIntyre, Former Orchard Lake Mayor Jaquelyne Beach, Robert Kalman, Brian Lampl, Karen Meabrod

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I understand the importance of being a contributing member of one’s community and have a passion to serve. I have been an active volunteer in the schools since 2008. With over 20+ years of project management experience and as a mother of a K-5 child, I would bring a different perspective to the Board. And as a WB graduate, I want to see my district continue to excel and ensure that every student has a safe and productive path to graduation.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

Educational justice is equitable education is our schools and community. In our district it mean having a more diverse staff and administration. It also means including more education, trainings, and materials on diversity and anti-racism.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

I would hope that social and emotional learning and support would be a major part of the curriculum. With everything the students, staff and families have gone through recently, we are seeing this is lacking.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

I think there should be more transparency – this is one of the reasons I am running. I think there should be more input and more opportunities for input. Whether it’s more focus groups and advisory boards or is it thinking of new ways to engage the community. But I feel it is important to also have the perspective of retirees and other families who don’t have children in our schools. This is their community school too. I would work to develop relationships to engage the entire school district community – not just the students and their families.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

n/a

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

1. To foster and support an environment where students and staff feel safe physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, socially, physiologically, and educationally.

2. Enhance social/emotional support and learning.

3. Encourage more “Arts” in STEAM.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

Funding – the burden should not rest on the district.

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?

Transparency. I feel this will be a challenge being honest with families. But I feel being honest, owning what happens and having a plan is what the district needs. Quick action is needed as well.

I feel the school needs to step up when it comes to cleaning the schools as well. It has always been a challenge and we need to be honest when discussing our custodial staff needs.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

First is making it right with our teachers. They had to take concessions and we still have not addressed it. Teachers should be a priority. I think updating some security measures in some of our schools should be a priority.

I believe some of our athletic projects could wait.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

If a teacher would like to use it as a “snapshot” of her students, it can be helpful. But it is stressful on children and doesn’t take language barriers, health conditions, and/or other personal factors into consideration.

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 would like to see more inclusion and support for the “Arts”. I would also like to see more community service/outreach.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

We are very much responsible to providing support for our students and staff. And with the current environment, it is needed more than ever, but it isn’t happening. Our staff need to know they can freely express when they need support – free from judgment and retaliation. Students need the ability and flexibility to include self-care into their school day.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

Safety is one of my platforms. And it goes beyond physical safety. Students and staff should have an environment where they are physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, socially, physiologically, and educationally safe.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

I will supporting programs to help meet the needs of our students as individuals as well as their families. I will also build relationships with outside support services and understand what other resources are available.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

It must be a priority. I will listen and support honest conversations around social justice, cultivating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive school community.

Any other information you want to include or share?