October 4, 2020
School DistrictRoyal Oak School District
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Royal Oak Multicultural Parent Association, MEA, AFSCME Council 25, UAW Region 1, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, Fems for Dems
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I have been a champion of social justice and public education my entire adult life; these both have intertwined themselves. I feel the School Board is the perfect place for me to make an impactful positive change in my community.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Education justice to me is equity and equality. All students need to be given the same opportunity. Minority students, which includes in my view those of differing race, religion and sexual orientation from the majority, should not feel any different than any other child. Specifically in the Royal Oak School District, the discipline of students needs to be equitable and done by educators, not law enforcement.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
I want us to learn form this crisis. We have seen the weaknesses. These weaknesses are in equity and equality. This is our time to seize this awareness. We can not leave any child or staff member behind. The COVID-19 virus exposed this to us. We owe it those most impacted to ensure they are not left behind ever again.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
There should always be open and comfortable conversations between the school board and the parents, students and families. I would like to see a non-voting student member of the school board. I would like to see the school board be more receptive and approachable with any and all groups with in the community.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
At the time this was completed, I have received financial support from my family, friends and community members.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
1. Encourage a stronger emphasis on mental health awareness for both students and staff.
2. Call for a greater diversity in curriculum and hiring.
3. Promote a stronger focus on vocational education; providing a pathway for students into the skills trades.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
1. School funding reform.
2. Teacher development.
3. Provide additional funding for at risk students.
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 loss of face to face instruction, social interactions, the uncertainty of the unknown are all challenges of the 2020-2021 school year. The district needs to stay stedfast in resolution to keep the students and staff safe. These are uncomfortable and surely inconvenient times, however we must do all we can to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is my opinion that keeping students and teachers out of the class room is unfortunately the smartest and safest course of action.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
The top spending priority needs to be payroll. We need to recruit and retain the best educators. We can not recruit nor retain if we do not offer leading salaries and benefits. We also need to be sure the budget is dedicated to the best technology and instructional materials.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
I think standardized testing is a very unfair metric to both students and teachers. these types of testing severely narrow the curriculum, it forces instruction to simply pass a test that is often times constructed by legislators that have no background in education. It is also a very poor way to evaluate educators.
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 will work to make the curriculm more diverse in all was possible as a School Board Trustee.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
I believe the school district has 100% responsibility in supporting awareness and support to the mental health of both students and staff. Especially during this global pandemic.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
A public school is an institution of education. Therefore, all discipline needs to be administered by Educators. Law Enforcement should have no jurisdiction when it comes to student disciple, unless there has been and alleged crime committed.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
I will make it a priority to advocate and work to increase the funding for our most vulnerable students.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
Equity needs to be achieved. It needs to be achieved now. For too many years and, quite frankly decades this issue has been talked about and then pushed aside. I will listen to the community that has been calling for this reform. I will sit and meet with those calling for this reform. I will not dismiss their concerns, as I share in their concerned outrage.