How do you define student success?

Student success looks different for every student and family, but I believe each is grounded in a child reaching their full potential. True “success” for many is not only about academic success, but physical and social-emotional development as well. For many of our students Childhood Trauma is a significant barrier to their success.

What we should all be asking ourselves is, How do we define a school’s success? It’s more than just how many students graduate. It definitely involves how prepared those graduates are for participating in an ever-evolving job market, their exposure to the building and trades skills needed for the infrastructure of the future, and in their capacity to be a functioning member of a diverse community. Spokane Public Schools has worked hard to provide greater equity in our district, but I believe we can do more to help students overcome obstacles and prepare for the future.

What is the biggest issue the district is currently dealing with? What’s your solution?

I think everyone recognizes the budget is the biggest issue the district is facing. We need to address the budget limitations, but it’s also important to discuss the most pressing issues that have resulted from not addressing the budget sooner. The staff at our schools are struggling to keep themselves and our students safe with reductions in staffing, families are struggling to adjust to Special Ed programs being consolidated, and many of our students are struggling in larger classrooms.

While I think it’s important to look for federal and state funding opportunities, I also think it’s important to take responsibility for the students in our community when federal and state funding simply isn’t enough to support the level and quality of staffing our community values. It’s always important to fight for the federal and state funding our district needs, Ignoring our responsibility to our students has left our district struggling. It’s become clear that is is long past time for this budget issue to be addressed and I would advocate for a local levy as soon as possible to increase staffing levels at the upper grades and regain recent losses.

What is working well in Spokane Public Schools right now and how would you build on it?

I believe the commitment and flexibility demonstrated by the staff during the last year and moving forward is a vital part of what is working well with Spokane Schools. I will advocate for ample staffing and ensuring that staff have the resources to be successful. The progress made on developing strong Behavior Intervention programs at some of the schools in the district is also commendable, but must continue to expand to meet the needs of all schools in the district.

Why did you decide to run for the SPS Board of Directors?

I am running for the SPS Board because I want to serve my community and use my skills and experience to make our community a better place. The public school system has a dramatic impact on working families and is often a key resource for struggling families to have the opportunity to succeed. The more disadvantaged a family is financially or educationally, the more they depend on the school system for help. Still, this voice is often missing from the school board. I believe I can be a voice for these families.

What are your 3 top priorities for your 1st year in office?

  1. Our schools just experienced major changes in staffing and I think it’s important to touch base with each school to make sure that they have the resources and staffing to be successful, to address issues that are becoming apparent, and to plan for future staffing/resource needs based on feedback.
  2. Developed a clear policy for ensuring staffing, resources, training, and physical space to implement the Restorative Discipline policies effectively.
  3. Ensure recommendations from the Safe Haven report that can be implemented quickly are completed, prioritize and plan for implementing additional safety improvements based on: budgeting, considering the cost/effectiveness of each recommendation, and feedback from the community.

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