The League of Women Voters invited me to participate in their on-line ballot – that provides voters information from all candidates running. Go to the website and compare responses. http://www.vote411.org
My answers are listed below:
Why did you decide to run for this position?
I have always had an interest in schools and the desire to help improve their performance. I am interested in deriving a strategy that meets the needs of the community and provides effective student learning experiences, which is the main objective of public K-12. I want to contribute and give back to the community that has served my family well. My two children have attended NK, my son is currently a senior in Kingston High School and my daughter is a senior at Willamette University.
Of three major issues facing your district, which one is the most urgent?
The most urgent issue is public trust and support. NK is having a levy election this year, and 6 years of shrinking budgets have resulted in program cuts. I believe this trust can be restored through community engagement and developing strategic objectives. Improved communication will strengthen public trust and begins at public school board meetings. Decisions should not be considered complete until all perspectives and impacts have been considered and the public understands the rationale.
How will you ensure excellent physical facilities for your students?
In the last couple of months, North Kitsap has emergency expenditures – replace the phone system for $300K and repair Vinland roof for $440K. As a board member, I would ask for a 5-10 year plan. The plan would include repairs and maintenance of existing facilities; identify future facility projects, and define computer and technology needs. A physical facility and technology plan would ensure that support and funding could be allocated and provided and emergency repairs can be avoided.
What is your position on testing of your students?
The best assessment is accomplished in the classroom where the teacher can directly use the information to achieve student learning. I understand that the community and the legislature need to know that learning is being accomplished and that the public funds are being well spent and that this objective is met through standardized testing. However, success on testing is just a metric not the goal. Having broad learning-experiences and opportunities meets our students’ needs is the goal.
How should civics education be provided?
I believe that civics education should be provided in a variety of methods. At NK, the graduation requirements include CIVICs requirement. I advocate incorporating CIVICs throughout the curriculum. Student government and leadership opportunities in secondary education promote the concepts of CIVICs. My dream is that all students at NK understand how to be citizens and actively participate in the public processes that are around them to advocate their values.
How should the on-time graduation rate be improved?
My belief is that all students should graduate, but I am less concerned “on-time.” While the alternative school, called Spectrum, no longer exists at North Kitsap, the district still has funding associated with alternative education learning. Serving students that do not fit into the traditional classroom is necessary for NK. As a board member, I would ensure that the alternative learning program has clear objectives and that the budget supports the community’s identified need.
How should bullying be addressed?
Bullying is an issue that is addressed in the district policies. The policies should be clear and support actions that ensure that a safe school environment is maintained. While executing the policy is within every district employee’s duties, the main responsibility lies with school principals. These folks should be adequately trained and policies should be periodically evaluated to ensure that they are effective for managing bullying at North Kitsap.