Lalo Munoz was born and raised in Topeka. He attended school in 501 and saw first hand
University of Kansas 2002
Chair, 2 years
Washburn Tech East
Greater Topeka Partnership
East Topeka Council
What special strengths do you believe you will bring to the school board?
I believe I am the best candidate because I have dedicated my time both professionally and in the community toward progress for the common good. Professionally I work in social service helping struggling families during difficult times. In the community I recently finished serving as chair of the Washburn Tech East campus a $4.5 million dollar investment in East Topeka. It took bringing diverse groups of stakeholders together, working through difficult issues and creating a trustworthy process in order to be successful. I believe it is critical for leaders to be willing to listen to even the most critical voices and to hear concerns. I believe I can help to open communication to parts of our community that historically has not been engaged and create momentum that works toward students being successful.
What is the most critical issue facing your school district, and what is your position on that issue?
I see inequity as a key issue in our district. We have to ensure that all children are staying on track and doing well on testing and ensuring that all young people are graduating. Not simply graduating but with a plan to enter a 4-year university, 2-year technical school or straight into the workforce. This takes ensuring that all stakeholders are engaged, including parents, universities, technical schools and local employers. We also can’t ignore the disproportionate effect race and income have on success. Only by tackling these issues head-on can we begin to make progress in a meaningful way.
How should a school board support its staff---classified, certificated, and administrative?
I think it is vitally important to ensure that staff feel they are able to raise issues with board members. It means that board members should engage staff in as many ways as possible to ensure they have a strong sense of the important concerns and issues. It also means that the board should look at ways to ensure staff know they are appreciated for the incredible work they do.
What additional school security is needed and how do you propose addressing that need?
What I hear more than anything as I've talked to parents over the past 5 months is parent communication. When a security issue has been raised at a school the first thing on a parent's mind is what is happening and are my kids ok? Staff's first priority is undoubtedly student safety. To address this matter further, I would be eager to visit schools and talk with more parents to get a better sense of how best we can enhance student safety.
What time commitment are you prepared to give the district?
I am prepared to commit to weekly engagements whether school board meetings, school visits or other events. Effective leadership means starting where others are and I believe being present as much as possible is necessary.