2018 School Board Candidate Questionnaire Responses
Responses submitted May 3, 2018 to UnifiEd via Google Forms. Responses are published here exactly as submitted without editing.
Question 1 – Racial & Socioeconomic Desegregation
As a school board member, I commit to working together with the Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) to develop a plan to end socioeconomic and racial segregation. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I will strive to ensure every student, of all races and background, receive the tools they need to be successful. In order to do this, we must work hand in hand with the Chief Equity Officer to provide both students and teachers with resources they need to be successful whether it’s as small as expo markers or as big as in home Wi-Fi. We must also identify and understand that every school, teacher, and student within Hamilton County is different and will require different resources for success. This is where the incorporation of student and teacher panels can be increased to get a more in depth understanding of the needs within our schools.
Question 2 – Racial & Socioeconomic Desegregation
As a school board member, I commit to actively partnering with community members to demand the end of socioeconomic and racial segregation in our schools. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I feel in 2018, it is very important that we are not segregating our schools based on how much a student’s family makes or what the color of their skin looks like. I plan to continue to make sure our school staff remains diverse to meet our diverse student population and we are providing resources based on individual students needs.
Question 3 – Supporting the People in Our Schools
As a school board member, I commit to supporting better relationships and engagement by working together with the schools in my district to ensure students and teachers have a voice in issues that matter to them. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. My campaign is founded around pushing for more student and teacher voice within the changes being made in Hamilton County. I hope to address this issue by implementing a more effective Teacher Advisory Council similar to the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, where we have a teacher representative at all School Board Meetings to promote teacher input and to offer them a voice in decision making that will affect them and their classrooms. I also want to work with other board members to create more of a presence within teacher and student organizations within the county. I served as the Chairman of the Hamilton County Superintendent Student Advisory Council and I can attest to the fact that there is very little board member presence within that student led organization. We need to fix this. We need to empower our students and teachers. In result, empowering our students and teachers can help to create a more successful county in whole.
Question 4 – Supporting the People in Our Schools
As a school board member, I commit to working with central office to ensure teaching and student programs provide personalized support, especially to those with special needs and minority identities (like English-language learners and LGBTQ+ students). Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I believe that strong communication between the school board members and central office can help to bring together constituent voice, student and teacher input, and administration projects. Every person who believes in education should believe in a good education for all. I would love to regularly meet with central office to completely understand what is currently in place in regards to students with special need and minorities and meeting their individual needs. Seeing the creation of LGBTQ+ organizations and clubs in schools shows improvement, but I believe that we need to continue to make sure that all students feel safe and comfortable in their learning environment no matter how they identify, what race they are, where they come from, or what disability they have.
Question 5 – Community Engagement & Empowerment
As a school board member, I commit to working with school leadership to provide creative, accessible avenues for parents and community members to support schools and children. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. Within my own district, I would love to see a better collaboration with our schools, our parents, and our community. I would like to institute a District 9 parental advisory council similar to Kathy Lennon’s District 2 advisory council. Each school is different and should identify different more personal avenues for parents and community members to get involved. This is why I believe that school board members should have a good strong positive relationship with the principals in their districts. This will help the incorporation of collaborations thrive.
Question 6 – Community Engagement & Empowerment
As a school board member, I commit to partnering with local organizations and businesses to support and provide resources in our schools. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I want help increase partnerships with local organizations and businesses to prosper connections in the community and create more opportunities for students and teachers outside of the typical school day. As a former UnifiEd Student Organizer, I believe I am in a unique position already fostering these relationships and have the ability to plug them in where they are needed in my district. Currently in district nine, Volkswagen partners with local schools to help increase post-high school readiness. This successful business-school collaboration should be implemented within all high schools in Hamilton County. I also believe that we should partner with more businesses to help create more job shadowing opportunities for students. Most businesses want to support local schools, but don’t know how they will be the most effective. This is where I believe school board members should have more communication with local businesses in their districts, while also pushing bigger businesses to collaborate outside of their own districts with schools in need.
Question 7 – Supporting the Whole Child
As a school board member, I commit to working with schools to ensure students’ mental and emotional health needs are supported. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I believe having guidance counselors and SRO’s in EVERY school is a critical need to ensure students have the mental and emotional support they need to prosper and perform better in the learning environment. With the safety of our students being questioned every day we must equip administrators with the information they need to help students struggling with their personal mental health. We must also create outlets for students to safely express themselves and receive positive emotional help.
Question 8 – Supporting the Whole Child
As a school board member, I commit to partnering with and supporting community organizations to ensure children can access mentoring, field trips, and early childhood education. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. Having resources partnering with the schools to help students be successful will help them grow beyond the classroom. The organization, On Point, comes around to schools each week and talk to them about different life situations such as; intercourse and protection, college applications, and personal finances. I believe keeping/having more community organizations like this can make a huge difference in our students lives.
Question 9 – Funding & Budgeting
As a school board member, I commit to prioritizing funds for capital expenses to make sure all school facilities are safe and healthy learning spaces, and ensuring there is a long-term plan to keep them that way. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I am a firm believer that creating a budget that details the planning of years to come can help solidify the success of our schools. Last year the County Commission provided $100 million for school infrastructure. This only about a third of what’s needed for our schools. I’ll work closely with my County Commissioner, Chester Bankston, to ensure we are continuing to provide the resources needed to create safe facilities. I would like to discuss with other board members and the superintendent how we can allocate funding to increase school safety, while still making schools a fun and comfortable setting for both students and teachers. I believe that we must also address the quality of our school facilities when address healthy learning environments for our students. We have to allocate funding to address the structural needs of the schools in our county to ensure that our students and teachers can be successful without having to personally worry about structural issues.
Question 10 – Funding & Budgeting
As a school board member, I commit to prioritizing funding to recruit, support, and keep the best teachers. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I believe that the key to providing student with a successful education we must ensure they we are recruiting the best teachers possible while also providing our current amazing educators already in Hamilton County the resources they need to also be successful. I think we need to create more opportunities for teachers to also expand their knowledge to further be successful in the classroom. We also must allocate for a better increase in teacher pay to be more competitive with surrounding counties in order to keep teachers local.
Question 11- Supporting the Whole Child
As a school board member, I commit to ensuring all students have access to early childhood education programs so every child enters kindergarten ready to learn. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I would love to meet with early childhood centers and pre-k organizations to speak on ways I, as a board member, can help improve enrollment for students. I would help encourage parents to enroll their students to help better plan kindergarten readiness.
Question 12 – UnifiEd PACT for Public Education
As a school board member, I commit to working with community partners and HCDE to expand community schools throughout the county to provide holistic support to neighborhoods and communities. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I think community engagement in our county could be so much better. I will commit to help better expand the amount of involvement we receive from community members. I fully support the Community School model as it provides wrap around services to students to help meet the needs of ALL students and provides a healthy and safe environment for students to prosper.
Question 13 – UnifiEd PACT for Public Education
As a school board member, I commit to setting standards for our board and actively participating in a transparent self-assessment process. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. In order to be successful, you must be able to identify what you are doing well and what you must continue to work on. I also believe that as school board members we must be held to a specific set of standards in order for our county to be successful as a whole. I believe that self-assessments should be done regularly in order to ensure that the school board is positively impacting Hamilton County. I am also committed to bottom up evaluations to ensure that our teachers voices are heard and that every level within our school system is being held accountable.
Question 14 – UnifiEd PACT for Public Education
As a school board member, I commit to ensuring current school system funds are efficiently spent. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I would like to see our school system spend funds more efficiently. There are many facilities in need of support, especially in district nine. I believe we focus money on materials for students and teachers that are not so important, which can be used where it’s needed.
Question 15 – UnifiEd PACT for Public Education
As a school board member, I commit to working with HCDE to create a 5-year budget and strategic plan connecting money to improved student outcomes. Yes or No. If yes, how do you plan to accomplish this goal? If no, why not?
Yes. I support the plan to have a 5-year budget plan. I believe it will help visually see where money is being used the most and will make sure long-term we are spending more efficiently. As a college student, I understand the importance of a multi-year budgeting and know how important it is to plan accordingly as a multi-million dollar organization. Creating a 5 year budget as a guild line will ensure that we properly address county growth and school infrastructure needs for years to come.