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Experience (300 characters max)
MBA, University of Washington, BA, Stanford University in 1993. Decades of experience in community and economic development, financial services, non-profit management and governance. Immediate past president of Seattle Council PTSA. Years devoted to education advocacy at School and District levels.
Between degrees, I worked in community development and nonprofit management. Pursuit of an MBA was driven by a desire to have a substantive impact in my communities by developing skills in capital (i.e. funding) and organizational systems. Over the subsequent 15 years, I worked successfully in financial services, economic development and governance, providing analysis and capital to projects, ranging from small business to government to large corporate. As such, my ability to positively impact the nexus of public/private investment for greater community and social benefit remains a unique and standout quality.
With two daughters in elementary school the past six years, I've lead via PTA, Building Leadership Teams and District roles including serving to develop the most recent Strategic Plan. As president of Seattle Council PTSA, I led on substantive equity policies. As a Native parent I understand the impact of educational systems that do not reflect or recognize students of color.
1) Inequity in educational opportunities for our most marginalized families: includes students of color, indigenous, LGBTQ+, dual/multiple language learners, and those requiring (but not necessarily receiving) special education services.
2) Fiscal transparency and accountability: In addition to a highly regressive tax system on which we rely for education funding, our models lack transparency down to the school building and inadequate "per student" metrics. While services like special education and dual language programming require significantly more funding, it will remain difficult to close gaps if we continue to tolerate opacity and inefficiency.
3) Authentic family engagement remains problematic at Seattle Public Schools. The District continues to fail to adopt an organizational culture that is proactive, rather than reactive, in response to families hopes, needs and concerns.
Closing equity gaps requires a fundamental and brave shift in how our District approaches education of our students furthest from educational justice. As a board member, the opportunity to govern toward equity will be directly linked to fiscal transparency and accountability. It will also be directly linked to family engagement. We must not only prioritize equitable access and outcomes but must
1) tie funding models directly to achieving these outcomes and
2) give voice and power to those families we have responsibility to serve
3) take action to ensure each student that walks into our buildings is seen as they gift that they are rather than a problem to be solved.
Seattle Public Schools maintains a decentralized neighborhood school model AND an option/magnet school model without adequately supporting or protecting either. It is problematic when option and specialized programming such as dual language and advanced learning are not equitably available. The Board is responsible for policy which ensures a) inclusion is available in general education and b) specialized, differentiated and advanced learning opportunities are equitably available to all students. This would require a comprehensive strategy inclusive of equity targets that promote integrated programming. It is also critical that programming both broadly and locally reflects the needs of our school communit(ies).
Student safety, from earthquake preparedness to mitigating human forces that might cause them harm requires a great deal of operational coordination, as well as capital funding. Comprehensive risk management is currently a business and finance function despite a broad responsibility for overall student health and safety. At the same time, Health and Safety, Wellness have separate departments and policies that have not been updated since 2015 and 2011 respectively. Safety in buildings has not been updated since 2012. I believe there is significant evidence of these dated, disparate policies and departments visible in how children experience a sense of physical safety on school property. As a Board Member I would work with state legislators on funding sources to ensure safe school environments, such as with earthquake retrofits, and would develop policy that ensures comprehensive safety coordination and communication at the District level to ensure consistency among buildings.
For the past year, as President of SCPTSA, I have been working on an anti-racism policy, procedures and reporting with Seattle Public Schools with good progress. Incidents of racism continue to rise and we are only beginning to see any results from inconsistent anti-bias training among staff. The purpose of anti-racism policy at the board level is to commit Seattle Public schools to dismantling racism in the institution; and rebuilding with power sharing and inclusive decision making from racially marginalized communities. This includes efforts related to culturally reflective staff and curriculum. Without a systematic approach to addressing racism in our school system, a majority of our children will continue to feel unwelcome in their own school environments.
Career connected learning is an opportunity every student should have access to as part of their k-12 experience 6-12). Career Technical Education (CTE) programs provide demonstrated gap closing results and need to be greatly expanded in Seattle Public Schools. As of 2018 our CTE enrollment was only at 11% compared to over 20% in neighboring communities. As a board member, per District Policy, I would look to expand student success in accessing CTE opportunities. I do believe centralized cohorts can be effective as well.
In addition to dual language programming, mental health counselors in every school and qualified social workers, supports for immigrant, refugee, homeless and non-English speaking students require strong city and community based organization partnership. While schools represent only twelve percent of a child’s time, buildings can be an effective service delivery point for wrap around services. The District has many good partnerships, but the process, communication and engagement can be improved dramatically. In particular, coordination with City of Seattle and King County lacks strength. These are not partnerships our kids can afford for us to let stagnate.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Precinct Coordinator 43rd District Democrats, M. Ed., Education Policy, Organizations, and Leadership in P-12 systems,
B. A. Global Communications,
Program Coordinator University of Washington in Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences.
Graduate and Professional Student Senate,
Americorp Service Member
I have dedicated my educational pursuits and career to understanding and addressing inequities of our educational system, and I am ready to bring this experience to the Seattle School Board. I served as an Americorp service member for 4 years. During these years, I served students from low income and underrepresented backgrounds. I have conducted research on youth providing training for teachers on Undoing Institutional Racism, Racial Equity Teams in Seattle Public Schools, and parent organizing for school improvement in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. I was the former Program Coordinator at the University of Washington in Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences, where I managed multi-million dollar budgets and projects on delivering cognitive behavioral therapy and family intervention support.
Today, I am proud to be running a grassroots campaign comprised of 100+ volunteers across Seattle.
We talk about racial segregation as if it is a thing of the past, but it still continues to rear its ugly head to this day. One look at Garfield High School shows how the system of tracking (Separation of students based on regular, Honors, and Advanced Placement courses) affects students academically. Black and brown students are kept in regular classes, isolated from wealthy white students in AP classes.
Black and brown students are disciplined at a higher rate than other students. Once students are suspended or expelled from school, they lose opportunities to continue their education and fall behind. Unfortunately, these students become part of what we know today as the school-to-prison pipeline.
We are lacking in family support programs which serve to guide families in filing their taxes, filling out food stamps forms, and finding affordable housing. To ensure students can succeed in the classroom, we need to ensure they have a stable and healthy family environment.
There is no silver bullet to solve the problems our schools are facing, but there are many actionable policies that I’d like to pursue. To address the issue of racial segregation within out schools, I will work with the board to mandate a school integration program to address the massive disparities in outcomes that we see between (and within) schools. This program can also explore funding formulas that distribute more funding per pupil in areas with families living in zip codes with incomes at or below median income of the city.
In addressing the racial disparity in discipline, we must be working both to pass policies that address discipline practices overall, but also be working with our teachers and administrative staff on bias and sensitivity training, to address the root cultural problems. Policies I am interested in include mandating the removal of suspension and expulsion discipline options of students coupled with alternatives like social and emotional learning opportunities.
Our schools are facing tough budget decisions every single year, and are consistently underfunded by the State. That means that we must be incredibly intentional when making budget allocations. I would opt for an approach that centers a commitment to racial and social equity, meaning prioritizing schools which cater to students furthest from educational justice.
I will be a partner in implementing stronger gun laws as well as promoting the need for more mental health counselors in our schools. Many times, students with the largest outbursts are in greatest need of emotional support and counseling. We also need to go beyond this by increasing Family Support Counselors at every school who connect families facing instability with community resources.
We need to address the racial segregation in schools, provide training for teachers on implicit and explicit cultural and racial bias, and utilize restorative justice approaches to disciplining students. In addition, there is the issue of disproportionate funding and support available to schools based on their local PTA's fundraising capacity.
We can increase access to apprenticeships by partnering with unions to speak to students on their experiences and opportunities in trade fields. We can also increase programs that prepare kids for trade jobs. Very few of our schools have shop classes, but it is important to keep these around so students who are skilled with their hands can excel.
I want to make sure that we are working together with Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs that offer youth support. We can also build our social and emotional programs specifically keeping our homeless youth population in mind. At a state level we can support policies that do not criminalize youth under 18 years of age who have run away from home. I also support the increase of family engagement support specifically for immigrants, refugees and families of color. We need to ensure families whose first language is not English receive resources in their language. But we also need to support the further expansion of dual language instruction programs and increase the diversity of our educators in our schools.