October 4, 2020
School DistrictDearborn Public Schools
How long have you lived in your district?
We moved to Dearborn in 2001.
Have you received any endorsements?
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I’m inspired by our youth, and I love to be part of great things. But I also see unique problems in our schools, and I like solving problems.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Every student deserves to have an equal footing educationally — comparable opportunities for learning and growth. A primary driver in making this happen is attracting, developing, and retaining the best teachers to serve in the most critical schools and subjects in the district.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
High school students starting later, and everyone having a shorter day in classrooms.
Many more opportunities for exploring and practicing what’s read in books; more music, art, and mechanics.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
Parents, students and families should be actively engaged in their local school – regardless how small it may seem – and, to the extent possible, attend school board meetings, PTA meetings, and certainly parent-teacher conferences.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
My community, friends, and family.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
1. Ensuring that every student has an equal footing educationally — comparable opportunities for learning and growth.
2. Recognizing that teachers are on the front lines and deserve to be listened to carefully.
3. All decisions should be made based on good data – e.g., start school later by an hour every day and have high-schoolers starting later – and sound data analysis, not emotion or hearsay – e.g., BRICS bond.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
1. Getting the funding education deserves.
2. Starting school later.
3. Employing proven techniques that weigh experiential learning above book learning.
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?
Funding is going to be a major issue. We must follow CDC, State, and County health experts’ guidelines and recommendations.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
I have a lot to learn about where and how the district’s budget is allocated, but the Building, Renovation, Infrastructure, Capacity and Safety bond (BRICS) that failed to pass last year needs attention. Our facilities deserve to be safe, uncrowded, and offer a modicum of comfort. Clean water and air are basics. As a finance professional, previous Certified Internal Auditor, and environmentally sensitive nature lover, you can bet I’ll be digging into this area.
Music and art programs always seem to struggle while most sporting programs seem to do ok.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
Standardized tests should continue to play an important (but not paramount) role. Standardized tests can be good indicators, but they’re not always reliable predictors of students’ “success” in life, nor are they accurate assessments of effective teaching. Some children might not be skilled at taking tests in mathematics or linguistics but are highly intelligent in other areas such as music, interpersonal skills, or spatial abilities.
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?
More experiential emphasis – exploring, practicing and applying what’s read in books. More offerings for skilled trades since not all students are college-bound.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
As an employer, the district has minimum OSHA, state, and county guidelines to meet, and the district should provide high-quality health care insurance as an added benefit of employment. Our staff are on the front lines of our students’ education, so they need to be as healthy as possible, physically and emotionally.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
Very carefully. Behavior problems are often a reflection of what’s going on in the home, and overly severe punishments damage everyone involved.
“Zero tolerance” policies should be reviewed and potentially revised, clearly communicated, and enforced.
Students should get credit for participating in disciplinary counsels (e.g., peer panels, reviews / ombudsman activities).
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
Listening carefully to Special Ed staff, including the SEAM (caucus), we need to ensure quality benchmarks are carefully applied to every aspect of the program.
I’d like to learn why it seems that while we have excellent RTs, and special education teachers there are too few of them.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
Our district uses metrics that are reviewed and discussed regularly, yet problems persist. The only way forward is more and better communication between parents and teachers/admin.
Any other information you want to include or share?
I recognize that if elected, I will be serving on a board of individuals with a diverse set of backgrounds, education, and experiences. Together, leveraging those diverse opinions and with respect for one another, I plan to be part of making great changes for our students – meaningful, progressive, lasting changes that will benefit every family in our school district.