October 6, 2020
School District:Clio Area School District
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
current board members, superintendent, Clio Education Association (2018),
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
There are many reasons why I chose to run for Clio School Board, but If I had to sum it up in one simple statement, I want to help.
I am invested in this community both as a community member and a parent. My wife and I have one Clio graduate in his senior year of college and two more currently in the district. I have been a loyal member in the community and have helped anywhere needed from coaching youth sports, chaperoning high school dances, working the school bond proposal, and serving on the communication committee for the school board for the past two years.
I feel that I can help develop a more up to date and streamlined education that will allow greater options as our students move through their educational careers. I really want to put our kids in a better spot than where they are today.
Our students deserve to attend a school district that chooses to be a leader in education and not be afraid to think outside the box to give more opportunities. A district that looks to performing districts that are excelling and seeking out their help in idea sharing and not trying to reinvent the wheel. Clio must set a standard for our district that is an example to other schools on how best to propel their students through innovation, excitement, and a passion for their future that will allow more options post high school, be it secondary education, trades, or more.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Education Justice to me speaks of all kids deserving to receive the same quality education. In our district each child deserves to get a quality education from unbiased teachers and administrators who desire to see children thrive in a learning environment. We have kids all over the learning curve and each one must be taught in a manner that will allow them to understand the material, as well as their parents maintaining the ability to understand and help coach, speak to, and teach from home when necessary. We need out entire community involved to help our kids grow and flourish.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
I believe that the current health environment we are currently in should show us that we can do better inside our schools. Every year we have students who miss out on learning due to illness, however we may be able to minimize that. I don’t believe we are far off, however small changes/updates may make a large difference. For instance, we can learn from hospitals where each room has foam/gel hand sanitizer at the door of every room. If each student had to sanitize in/out of a room that may allow less spreading of germs (cold/flu/etc) on desk, doorknobs, etc. ensuring each student can carry their own water bottle to class as well as every drinking fountain supporting water bottle filling stations not only can lower the spread of germs, but also keep our carbon footprint of plastics down. These are just a few items that I could see benefiting our district.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
This is a giant point of content for me. I believe that our school board needs to make it a priority to keep meetings at times when it’s convent for our community and also make the meetings much more well known. If our community (parents, students, grandparents, community members) have a larger voice or knowledge of what is happening in the district, the community can be stronger. We must teach out youth to be involved and understand facts before we take to social media or other mediums to spew non-truths, opinions, and hate. Our kids look to us on how to act in a civilized society.
Our board currently allows student ambassadors and also have committees that the community are welcome to volunteer in, however I don’t believe it’s that well known. We can do better.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
There are many pressing issues facing schools today, but probably none more important than that of COVID-19 and how do we keep our kids safe while not disrupting their learning. How do we teach in a non standard fashion while still providing an industry best education? How do we determine the best curriculum for our district that will provide an industry best education? How do we keep our students engaged in school and, along with student families, help them set a plan for their post high school future that will provide an opportunity for success? What is necessary to retain and grow our student count annually? We must remain frugal while working through the bond funds to create and update a welcoming, warm, and teaching first environment in our district that will provide a competitive and innovative education.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
On a state level, my main priorities would be looking at budgeting and allowing our school to grow through any grants that may be received to better our students with, curriculum and what is the best for our kids, and educational reforms in items like testing and standardized testing.
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?
The challenges around COVID are unending. COVID has required our district to develop plans like they never have before, utilizing out of box thinking, and often create resources for our students to learn in this new environment. Our district has made mask wearing mandatory, keeping students distanced and are limiting any time where students may pass and/or limit any congregating, and keeping touch surfaces sanitized. On top of this, a strict symptom list has been distributed and any student that shows any symptoms is asked to stay home, as well as if they are sent home due to COVID like symptoms they need a doctors note or negative test to come back. These are terrific directives to keeping out students safe.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
I believe we should always put the student first. Spending should be focused on instruction, curriculum and staff development, counseling/health services, and facilities.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
I am not a fan of standardized testing. Student learning, as well as testing, are all independent of one another and think and act differently. To believe that every student can take the same test after receiving the same instruction and all do well is just not correct. We must do a better job of supporting the student and their independent learning to guide them into the future.
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?
To start, I would look at performing districts and ask to review their processes. What curriculum are they using? what works well? what does not? what does their demographic look like and is it similar to our district. We need to start by finding what is working and then ask questions and learn.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
I believe that the school district has an instrumental role in the mental wellbeing of our students. Our students spend upwards of 8 hours a day at school and often times it is the only place they feel care and understanding. In today’s society of busy working families it is imperative to support the students mental health as well at teaching and learning in class. The staff is no different, we must support the staff in the building and understand the stresses that come day to day. These are the people who we are trusting to develop young minds and help prepare them for the future and we cannot assume they are ‘fine’ and not in need of support.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
I believe that our schools often are too easy on issues such as bullying and not understanding how the student really feels. The student that is ‘bullied’ often feels like nothing is done and takes that home. Parents feel concerned and don’t understand why their child is not protected. This cannot happen. We must have a stern hand in terms of discipline but also see if for what it is. Our staff also needs to feel safe and not have to take abuse from students.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
All students deserve a quality education at the level they learn. We must support all students and give them the education they deserve
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
We must teach and coach to an environment that is diverse and allows every child to feel safe and appreciated in school.
Any other information you want to include or share?
I believe that I am ready and a terrific fit for the Clio School Board. I am very passionate about our kids ability to learn and come out of high school ready to take on their next step in life. It may be a University, a trade or trade school, or a job right out of school and the board is responsible to our students to give them the essentials needed to succeed. I have worked in business the majority of my adult life and have been a small business owner the last 6 years, which gives me a unique perspective that will benefit the board and community. I believe our community needs to be more aware of the goings on of our board, board decisions, and opportunities to serve in board committees. Today there appears to be far too many families that are left out or are unaware of how to help however the board must involve our local families as much as possible to engage and strengthen our community. To bring the best out of the board, we will need members who have the time and experience to work for the community and not simply hold a position. We need members who questions the norm, demand better, and expect the same level of passion and drive from each member as they put in. I am that person.