• Mother of three and Grandmother of nine
• Retired from Wichita Public Schools as an Assistant Superintendent, also was a teacher, principal, and central office administrator
• Wichita State University, Assistant Dean for the College of Education:
• School Board Member for 8 years (3 years as president and 1 year as vice president)
Three Degrees from Wichita State University
• Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
• Master of Education
• Specialist in Administration
• 5 different endorsements on my teaching certificate
• Pando Initiative (formerly Communities in Schools) Board Member
• Trees for Life Board Member
• Volunteer often
o Teach for Life
o Assistance League (Operation School Bell)
o Read to Succeed (starting Fall, 2019, Read to a 2nd grader weekly)
1218 S. Gateway St.
Wichita, Kansas 67230
As a Board member, I guide the whole district to make students successful in school and prepared for the 21st century jobs and occupations. To do this the district and school board developed a new strategic plan two years ago. This happened only after many listening sessions with the community, staff and parents. This plan has four major goals and eight guiding themes. This has become the guiding force to drive change within the district. This strategic plan is focused on raising achievement, increasing graduation rate, expanding career readiness / college readiness, and safety. During this first year of implementation the graduation rate was the highest since 1976 because of the changes put in place to help students. The Board has to stay vigilant on making decisions filtered through the strategic plan. This plan will drive the district in a new direction that is focused on helping ALL students be successful in tomorrow’s world.
The single most important thing that raises achievement in the classroom is a well-qualified teacher. So finding well-qualified teachers for every classroom is critical. Several things have gone into place to reduce the number of teacher vacancies. The Human Resources Department has been directed to offer open contracts to outstanding student teachers before they graduate. Former district employees have been hired to recruit special education teacher from outside the area. The Grow Your Own Teacher programs are growing for both special education and regular education teachers. The para to teacher program at WSU was started two years ago. With these changes, as of June 30th, there are only 40 positions left to fill for the next school year. That is half the number from last year.
I have a strong education background which is extremely helpful to the Board. I understand how the district works and how the budget supports that system. I have been willing to use my leadership skills as a board officer 4 or the 8 years in have been a board member. I believe that every child deserves a strong school district that can prepare them for the future. I realize that ALL students deserve to feel safe at school so they can thrive and learn. I am committed to making sure WPS provides a safe learning environment that challenges students daily.
If all schools played by the same rules and accepted (and kept) any student who wanted to attend, there would not be the concern about vouchers for non-public schools. Unfortunately that is not the case. High need students cost much more to educate. Although through weighted funds we do get some additional money, but very often it is not enough to fully fund their educational needs. Private schools rarely accept those high need students. WPS has many choices for their students beyond the neighborhood school so parents can find the right match for their child’s needs and talents. I do not support public funding for private schools.
The Supreme Court has made its final ruling on both adequacy and equity for school funding but retained jurisdiction over continued implementation until 2023. WPS will abide by the ruling. When I was first elected to the school board the Base State Aide Per Pupil (BSAPP) was $3780. I spent the first six years of my tenure as a board member cutting the district budget by just over $ 90 Million. This year the BSAPP will be $4436 per pupil. This increase is due to the Gannon Case. WPS spent just over $2 Million fighting the Gannon case and by 2023 will have seen a gain of almost $111 million. This is an excellent return on our money. This will greatly help to move the district in a new and positive direction.
Several opportunities are being embedded in the Wichita Public Schools at all grades to help students be successful both socially and academically. Restorative Justice is one of those opportunities to help students learn how to defuse and learn from disruptive behavior. Another opportunity is Standards Based Grading which will start at the elementary level this year. Move to middle school next year and the high school the following year. This sets high standards for every student. Linking community mental health organizations to the public schools will serve our students by wrapping services around the students who have great needs. With these opportunities and many others, as a board member, I insist that guidelines, staff development and policy changes are all in place so there will be the support to make them successful. I will continue to monitor these new initiatives.
The board is currently looking at community LGBTQ concerns to include gender identity in our policies. In June, I directed the superintendent to bring information back to the board about what guidelines for implementation would be needed to make our schools safe for ALL students; staff development that would be needed, and a review of current district policies. This information would include how other school districts have addressed this issue. Only with information can decisions be made that help every student feel safe and secure so they can learn. I have always believed that you listen first, seek information, study all sides and then make a decision.