Many People, One World — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
A much needed teacher’s voice and experience
10 years as a special education teacher have given me valuable perspective. I keep abreast of research and trends in education and actively and continuously seek to expand my knowledge base of best practices as well as my understanding of how local, state and federal educational policy impact students in the classroom.
Advocacy for a “whole child” approach to education
The trend in education, certainly since 1983, and increasingly over the past decade and a half, are tilted heavily in favor of very narrow definitions of learning and achievement. These trends squeeze out other forms of learning and achievement that are equally important to a child’s development. In addition to narrow measures of achievement, many students struggle with obstacles to their learning. Poverty is one. Racial prejudice is another. Mental illness, adverse childhood experiences, family hardship, mobility, and increasing class sizes all create barriers to learning that must be overcome. It is certainly an important discussion about how much schools can do to change these things, however no one would argue that these are not very real struggles for our students. These are challenges that will always require our attention and need to be met with creative, out side the box thinking.
Creative thinking, active listening and a desire to understand new information and perspectives
One size does not fit all in education. Each child, school and district are different. We need to think creatively in order to find solutions that work for our kids and schools. In addition, all “research” is not created equally, and we need to look carefully and critically, not only at solid, peer reviewed research, but also, and more importantly, at how educational policies and decisions are affecting the children we are currently serving. In addition, I show up on time, do my homework, and put my nose to the grindstone to solve problems.
A serious focus on minding taxpayer’s dollars so that money flows as efficiently as possible directly to the classroom
I support funding for education, but not without serious oversight and clear educational purpose. I will be mindful of any tendency to be frivolous or cavalier about spending tax dollars. I will be certain to insist that expenditures are justified and inline with our stated mission and goals.
Passion for social justice
Educational opportunities provide a path toward justice in an in-just and unequal society. There are positive examples each and every day in our district of amazing things happening. Lights are sparked and seeds are planted in thousands of minds every day and it only takes one seed or spark of knowledge to lead to understanding. I have a deep appreciation for all types of diversity, and will work to ensure that all students feel welcome in our district.
A positive approach to problem solving
We are too often clouded by the negatives. There are serious negative experiences that need to be addressed, but we should never lose focus on the learning that is happening all of the time in our district. We have a wealth of blessings here. I want to celebrate this, while always looking for a positive way forward.