October 4, 2020
School DistrictAtherton Community Schools
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
As a 1995 Atherton High School graduate, I have lifelong roots in the Atherton community. My family and I have built a home here, and I am at a point in my life and career where I feel the need to start giving back to the district that has given so much to me. Serving on the school board would give me the chance to help strengthen my community by tapping into my educational passion and work further school district excellence. I’ve got the talents, I’ve got the untapped potential, and now I’m ready to use them for the betterment of our community!
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Education has always been a top priority for me in my life and career, because I know the opportunities that can open up as a result of a strong educational background. For that reason, I want to actively make education a top priority for the students at Atherton who are being prepared for success even after graduation. It is essential that we create opportunities that will empower students to continue on toward successful lives and careers well beyond their time at Atherton.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
Given our current public health crisis, it is necessary to sacrifice in the present in the name of safety and wellness. Only after we as a society have a firm handle on ending this crisis, which could be years from now, should we even consider imposing any moves that would bring us “back to normal.” Pulling together in the short term, we can find the strength and resolve to make it through our shared sacrifices; ultimately, though, our long-term goal should be to return to normalcy to give our students not only the strongest educational foundation for a successful future, but also all of the extracurricular activities that will foster lifelong memories.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
Parents, students, and families are a team that can and should collaborate for the shared success of the students, with their best interests at heart. Ideally, parents and other interested family members should be given ample opportunities to volunteer with the school district, making best use of everyone’s unique talents where they are needed the most.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
My top educational goal for the school district is to provide a strengthened curriculum to better guarantee college-ready graduates. My next goal is to build a stronger network within the community to create future professional relationships at the local level, find prospective mentors for the youth, and nurture an overall zeal for community involvement. Finally, a third goal is to apply a stronger emphasis toward mental health, finding ways to foster empathetic, caring individuals who will grow up to become better overall citizens.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
My approach to educational goals at the state level aligns with the Michigan Department of Education: to provide every student, regardless of economic situation, free access to equitable technology resources, to maximize lifelong learning through multi-stakeholder collaboration, and increase collaboration among the state’s educational workforce.
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?
We are now constantly reminded that our number one priority should be safety. We should be doing absolutely everything within our power to keep our students, our teachers, our staff, and our administration safe. We have it within ourselves to make it through this pandemic if we work together as a community of learners. An excellent starting point is the MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap — we should actively strive to keep our school community safe by continuing to follow the Atherton Community Schools COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, revisiting it on a regular basis to ensure its continued efficacy.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
Student achievement should drive every fiscal decision. My stop spending priorities include calculating academic reward on every dollar spent to maximize investment, attracting top teaching talent and strive to reduce class sizes, and focus concerted efforts on acquiring federal entitlement grants. Alternatively, my bottom priority in the district’s budget is athletics; by focusing the school’s finite resources on other areas, this will free up opportunities for family and community volunteers to raise the funds for the extracurricular activities they support.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
Standardized tests play a role in education, but it should be a relatively small role, and they should not be used to paint a broad picture of student achievement. Instead of teaching to the tests, we should look to colleges and what their expectations are of our student body as they prepare for their futures. While I am not entirely opposed to standardized tests per se, I do think they have become an overgrown barometer of success. Like any tool, standardized tests are only useful when they are used effectively.
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 like to think of curriculum as a living entity, one that is constantly evolving and adapting to the current situations. I would work to have an impact by communicating with colleges and universities regularly to ensure the school’s curriculum is aligned with higher education’s expectations. I would not make changes simply for the sake of changes, but I would strive to continually keep things relevant.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
The school district has a vested interest in supporting the mental and emotional wellbeing of students and staff. Staying positive, building and maintaining a sense of community, and creating comfortable routines are simple enough steps we can take to help students and staff remain mentally and emotionally capable and supported.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
I truly believe in restorative justice so that wrongdoers can learn from their mistakes in a nonthreatening environment. Restorative justice circles have been repeatedly demonstrated to show that students can learn and grow when situations like this are handled in a nonpunitive manner.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
Special education is there to level the playing field. It allows all students an equal opportunity to receive education, whether that be through the use of scaffolding, differentiated instruction, resource room instruction, or simply through the modification of assignments. The end goal is always the same: students learning the curriculum to the best of their abilities.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
Equity is a goal that everyone should work together toward achieving. All students should have an equal opportunity for success, whether it be based upon equal access to resources, equitable funding, or availability of academic support. The proverbial tools should be provided for all to access; in this way, every student has the same chances to succeed.