October 9, 2020
School District:Mattawan Consolidated School
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Current Board Members
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I want to make sure that the kids in our district come first in any and all decisions that are made. I have 3 children in the district and their experience , and the experience of their friends and families is very important to me.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
I believe that all children have the right to a quality education. They have the right to feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in their classrooms and community. In our district it is about understanding those differences , and the value that each child brings to their classroom. It is understanding that children have many different needs and we need to meet them where they are and help them to be the best student and person that they can be. It means having a positive and nurturing environment in their classrooms. In Mattawan , we are very fortunate to have wonderful teachers and staff that believe in their hearts that kids come first and work to make sure their needs are met everyday.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
I believe that schools should reflect the values and needs of the communities that they work to support. Schools and schools systems should offer a variety of ways to allow their students to access their educational needs. Virtual learning works well for some students , whereas other students need that face to face interaction with their teachers. Schools are learning that flexibility and agility are the keys to delivering an educational experience that works for all students.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
I think it’s important that parents , students , and families advocate for the needs of their students and peers. Working with the teachers and staff to help them to understand the needs of the community , and of their individual learners is key to having their voices heard. In Mattawan , we are fortunate to have a large , caring base of parents that work to better the needs of their children and peers.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
My campaign is self funded. I would much rather have funding going directly to the classroom rather than on the campaign of anyone running for school board.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
1. Ensure that every student has a safe environment for learning and growth. 2. Prepare students to be contributing members of society. 3. Connect students with opportunities to meet their maximum potential for success.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
1. Provide the necessary funding for public education in Michigan. 2. Work with teachers and administrators to ensure they have the tools , resources and education to best impact their students. 3. Ensure that all children have access to a safe and quality education.
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?
Keeping students and staff safe is the biggest challenge that we are facing. In concert with that is keeping our kids engaged and moving forward in their education. Our teachers have been doing a fantastic job of being flexible and learning new ways to teach as we have moved through this unprecedented crisis.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
Our top priority , in every budget that we make , is to make sure that a majority of the money that we spend goes directly into the classroom to help our students learn. That comes in the form of making sure our teachers are paid well for the jobs they do , and making sure they have the tools that they need to do their jobs effectively. Student and staff safety goes hand in hand with the above priority. We have to make sure that the campus and learning environment is safe.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
I believe that standardized tests are there to show where our students are in comparison to where we would like them to be. It is a tool to assist our administrators and teachers develop plans for teaching and learning as well as curriculum development.
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 believe that the rigor and curriculum that we have in Mattawan is fantastic. That being said , I believe we have room to improve our curriculum to meet the needs of students that may not have post-secondary education as a goal.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
As I have stated earlier , I believe that school should be a safe place. A safe place has to account for an individual’s mental and emotional health. The district owes it to every student and every staff member to assist in improving and maintaining emotional wellbeing.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
I think it’s important to not have a “one size fits all” approach to student discipline. As a district we need to understand what is causing an individual to make the decisions that they are making. We need to teach them about the impact of their decisions and how it effects them and the people around them. With that knowledge we can help correct the student’s behaviors and help them to make better choices in the future.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
My priorities on special education are to cultivate an environment to ensure that every student and every family know that they have the right to intellect. Every student has the right to learn and grow. That plan may be different for each individual child so meeting them where they are and setting up a plan to address their needs and goals is the top priority.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
As I have stated before , every child has the right to an education. Every child has the right to connect and be a part of their community. As a district we need to make sure that every student has the tools and resources that they need to meet that need. We need to study the differences in our student body and work to enhance tools and programs that assist children in achieving equity in their education.
Any other information you want to include or share?
I would really appreciate my community’s support in the upcoming election. It has been an honor to serve on this board for the past 2 terms. I believe that we have a great district and that we have made some positive improvements over the past 8 years. With the community’s help and support we have passed 2 bonds that have allowed us to build a gorgeous new elementary school complex for our early and later elementary students. We have been able to renovate our current Middle and High Schools and provide much needed improvements to those learning environments. We are in the process of building a new Early Childhood Education Center which I believe will be a transformative tool for our community. It will help our youngest learners be prepared for school and give the district knowledge about the needs and desires of upcoming students and their families.