Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Teacher, Kent School District (1997-2004
Program and Staff Development Specialist, Kent School District (2004-2006)
Teacher, Anacortes School District (2006-2012, 2013-2014)
Teacher Leader and Instructional Coach, Anacortes School District (2012-2013, 2014-2016)
Math Specialist (2016-current)
I am unique from all other candidates for this office in that my experience is in education. I have a BA in Elementary Education from WSU and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University. I also hold a Certificate of Teacher Leadership from UW. I was a teacher and teacher leader (instructional coach and professional development specialist) for 19 years, including 10 years in Anacortes. I am National Board Certified Teacher in early adolescent mathematics. I served for 4 years as the president of the Anacortes Education Association and served on the WEA Board of Directors. Currently I am a mathematics specialist with a national nonprofit that aims to significantly impact outcomes for K-12 students, with a particular focus on accelerating academic progress for students who face barriers of racism or poverty. I have dedicated my career to schools and students, and I believe my unique experience as an educator separates me from the other candidates.
The three most pressing issues facing the Anacortes School District are: 1) addressing current financial challenges due to recent legislative changes to the local levy process and declining enrollment; 2) addressing equity issues in the schools to ensure equitable outcomes for all students regardless of race or income level; and 3) meeting the academic, social/emotional, and physical needs of all students.
As decisions and policies are made by the School Board, I will commit to keeping the focus on students. School Board members stewards of taxpayer money, but they should always have students in mind as they make decisions. I believe an organization’s budget is a reflection on their priorities. If student success is a priority, the budget should reflect that. For students to be successful, policies and decisions should protect the classroom and students. Also, the current budget situation districts are in, including Anacortes, can be improved through working with lawmakers to ensure important funding is restored. I have experience talking with legislators, testifying at hearings, and lobbying for school funding in Olympia. As a Board Director, I would commit to working on the budget locally and working with lawmakers in Olympia to find solutions to school funding issues so in Anacortes we could provide the programs and services our district and community values.
I believe that educational opportunities should be balanced between schools. However, equity of opportunity does not always mean equal. Each school, and the unique needs of the students in those schools, should be considered. In addition the needs of the teachers and leaders to provide an environment where every student can be successful should be considered. In order to ensure balance, I would encourage the School Board to use data, talk with students, and talk with families in order to consider the unique needs of the students and families in each school. In order to provide balanced opportunities, schools will likely need different types of supports and teachers and principals need different professional learning. As a School Board member I would support examining the schools separately to make sure as a district we are making decisions based on local school-based challenges and needs in order to ensure students in each school have equitable opportunities to be successful.
Student safety is complex and multifaceted. One consideration to providing a safe environment for all students is to promote positive, respectful relationships among teachers, students, and families. Students and families need to know that the adults in the system care about them and their safety. A focus for me as a School Board member would be to reach out to families and students to talk with them and get to know them. This should be a priority for everyone in the district. Providing mental health resources is also a part of ensuring student safety. The Anacortes School District has done a good job putting mental health resources in place over the past several years. However, the Board should continue to evaluate the mental health resources students and families have access to, in order to be sure we are addressing students' needs.
The Anacortes School District has recently taken beginning steps to examine issues of race in the schools and there is a good plan to continue this work with more staff next year. The first steps to ensuring racial equality are to provide time for staff to examine their own racial identities, perspectives, and biases. I believe having open, honest, challenging dialogue with and among staff, students, families, and community members is needed to begin addressing racial inequalities that exist in the schools. As a Board member, I would ensure that district programs, policies, and decisions are designed for students and families at the margins. This includes students and families of color. As a Board member, I would champion the continuation and expansion of this work.
Secondary students should have the opportunity pursue a path in high school that addresses critical academics needed to graduate with the skills and knowledge for college or career readiness. A career ready student has the skills to work a living-wage paying job after graduation. Currently, there are technical training options for students at Anacortes High School which will allow students to graduate and enter the technical work force. I believe a barrier for some kids is not related to access to technical training, but the required academics which are also critical for future success. As a Board member, I would work to address the barriers students are facing to completing technical and/or academic paths. I believe this starts by listening to students and families about their experiences. I would welcome a chance to talk with students and work with secondary school leadership to address barriers students are facing to completing a technical path in high school.
Providing adequate education for homeless, immigrant, refugee and non-English speaking children begins with teacher and leader professional learning. As a School Board member, one of my priorities will be to examine the ways the district is providing professional learning and support to teachers so they can enact equitable, culturally competent instruction to meet the diverse needs of their students. Social, health, and mental health services are also important to meeting the needs of homeless, immigrant, refugee and non-English speaking children. As a Board member, I will make sure it is a priority that the district continues to partner with community organizations, volunteers, and district staff in order to work together to support the students and their families.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Director, Anacortes School District (2015-2019); Lead Petitioner and Founding President, Bay View Academy (a public charter school in Monterey, CA, 2010-2011); Director, Bay View Academy (2010-2013)
I believe that I have a knack for identifying and supporting good solutions, no matter who is proposing them. My work with successful boards has offered me a wide breadth of experience in educational governance and taught me that decisions must always be made with a focus on what is best for students. I have added value to the boards on which I have served. I believe that the basis for my success is a combination of deep analytical thinking developed through educational and professional experiences and a strong sense of empathy that allows me to view problems from the perspective of others. I work well on the Anacortes School Board, and I am ready to continue contributing to sound District decision making and leadership.
The three most pressing issues are: (1) adjusting to the new budget constraints imposed by the State Legislature’s response to the McCleary decision, (2) working to ensure that all students are receiving the support and opportunities necessary to reach their full potential, and (3) providing a safe school environment in which students develop as responsible citizens and critical thinkers.
I will come at the budget challenges from both directions. On the revenue side, I will work closely with our State Legislators to modify the education funding model to make it fair for Anacortes children. I will also explore additional ways to fund programs locally. On the spending side, I will work to ensure that budgets are tightly aligned with the District’s strategic plan, including bargaining contract agreements that allow teachers and other school employees to be supported to do their best work and be effective and supporting District initiatives in equity and social-emotional learning.
In our relatively small District, the educational opportunities are pretty well-balanced between the elementary schools. (And, in Anacortes, there is only one middle school and one high school.) We have achieved this balance by giving flexibility to individual schools to pilot new programs. The District thens work to bring the successful programs to all schools in the District. Examples include the North Cascade Institute Mountain School and the Camp Orkila overnight field trips. Allowing individual schools to innovate is important. It is as equally important that there is collaboration between the schools so that programs flourish in an equitable fashion.
The partnership between Anacortes School District and the City of Anacortes to bring a full-time resource officer from the Anacortes Police Department into the middle and high schools is highly successful. I am committed to continuing this partnership, and expanding it as possible. My approach to assuring safety has two components. In the event of an act of violence, the officer can respond in a highly trained and effective manner. In terms of prevention, I will leverage the District’s social-emotional education initiative by ensuring that it includes conflict resolution and emotional well being as a tool to prevent violence. It is also important that students have connections to school so that small issues can be resolved before they become serious issues. The resource officer also plays a role here, as a counselor to students that are running into trouble.
We are using educational achievement data to identify subgroups of students for which an achievement gap exists. For example, in Anacortes, Latino and free-and-reduced lunch program students are behind their white and more affluent peers. As a whole, the community must come together to acknowledge that there are biases and misunderstandings that lead to some students being treated differently and not having access to all educational opportunities. The District needs to engage with families and students from the struggling subgroups to learn about the obstacles their students are facing. Then, the District must work, in partnership with other community groups as appropriate, to help students overcome whatever challenges they face.
I believe that learning is strong when students can pursue their interests with hands-on projects. To engage students and meet the demand for training, we should offer as many technical classes as possible. The career and technical training wing of the new high school will offer a nice range of opportunities with modern facilities and equipment. There is room for the District to grow in offering individualized courses of study at the High School. For technically-minded students, this could be a series of academic classes with an applied focus. This year, the State Legislature changed graduation requirements to offer more flexibility concerning technical and job training. At the local level, we should embrace this change to allow our students to take part in internships and other real world learning opportunities.
I will advocate for the equity approach described above for balancing educational opportunities and providing racial equality. Students coming from challenging circumstances are likely to have basic social needs that need to be addressed before they can concentrate on learning. As a community, we need to meet these needs. Students with a first language other than English need to be placed in an effective English language learners program as quickly as possible. One measure of the effectiveness of the ELL program is how quickly students can move through it, so that they are not missing out on other opportunities at school. A key here is that our students and families must feel included and connected to their schools, so that they are comfortable to seek support. The schools should know there students well enough so that they can identify developing problems and help as necessary.