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VOTE411 Voter Guide

School District 501 2, 5

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  • H. Dean Zajic

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    Sue R Bolley

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    Tracy Routsong

Biographical Information

What special strengths do you believe you will bring to the school board?

What is the most critical issue facing your school district, and what is your position on that issue?

How should a school board support its staff---classified, certificated, and administrative?

What additional school security is needed and how do you propose addressing that need?

What time commitment are you prepared to give the district?

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Personal Biography Hello I’m Sue Bolley. I have been a long time Topeka resident. I have lived in the College Hill area for for 19 years. My job was with Topeka Public Schools and I taught in TPS for 21yrs and retired 2 yrs ago. I have two adult children, Scott and Lea, and two grandchildren, Micas and Naomi. These people are the loves of my life. My interests are helping families that struggle with food shortages, gardening, volunteering in local schools. I am Sue Bolley, I would like your vote for School Board
Campaign Phone (785) 230-1854
Education Bachelor of Science from Washburn Univ. Masters of Science in building leadership from Emporia University
Community/Public Service Sue Bolley taught in the Topeka Public Schools for 21yrs and retired 2 yrs ago. Sue is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society which is active in helping new teachers and school buildings in the area. Sue is also active in the Nautilus Club that elevates the experience of living in the College Hill area and Topeka. Sue volunteers with Harvester and help drives people without cars to food banks. Sue mentors a middle school student and helps be that guide for life for this young student.
I have worked for public education for many years. I have work from several positions. I understand the budgeting concerns and our Title 1 budget. I’ve been in the position of having my own contract negotiated and have sat in on negotiations many times. Family concerns are important to me and I have been on the front lines of their concerns. From working in many buildings across the district from one side of to Topeka to the other, I have a clear understanding of the different needs. My education is in education and I have a Masters degree from Emporia University in building administration. I have had the opportunity to work with wonderful principals in our district of Topeka and help with budgeting and building concerns. It has been an honor to be on district committees on curriculum writing, professional development, testing, curriculum purchasing, and teacher training, just a few. This will give me a clear understanding in these areas as they are brought to the Board’s attention.
The most critical issue is the teacher and administrators retention issue. We lose too many well trained and wonderful educators to other district. We must figure out why they want to leave our district and what we must fix to keep them in our district. Our children deserve the best educators standing in our classrooms.
Every member of the school board should have open communication with all members of the education society. All staff must feel safe to approach us with issues of concern and not believe there will be any form of retaliation. The board must have clear expectations of what the superintendent’s job is and must also have knowledge of what is happening inside the buildings in our district. We must understand how the system works from top to bottom to understand and hear the staff’s concerns , as well as the superintendent’s concerns so we are more able to govern from our member’s chair.
School security is a new concern that our society has not had to worry about in the history of education. Our district has done extensive research on the latest protective measures to protect our students. I believe we need more training for our front offices on detecting people of concern without parents in the school family feeling unwelcome at our schools. Our district may need to look into ways of giving school families identification to more easily getting welcoming entrance into our buildings. We need to do more training for our staff to observe concerns and keep funding our building security from manpower to materials.
It will be an honor to give of the time needed to our education community in Topeka. I am retired and I am able to dedicate the time needed to do the job that must be done. I would not have run this race if I was not ready to give of my time to Topeka Public Schools.
Personal Biography Being hired by Washburn as an Assistant Professor, my family and I relocated to Topeka in 2007. I love being in education, and am happy to have the opportunity to teach and advise students. Choosing their school before finding our house, I believe in the importance of building a school community. My son is currently a junior at Topeka High while my daughter is a junior in college. Having spent years volunteering within the USD 501 district, I am eager to serve as a member of the School Board.
Campaign Address 1931 SW 32nd St.
Campaign Phone (785) 783-7780
Education Ph.D., University of Iowa; M.A., University of Northern Iowa; B.S.S., Cornell College; High School, Muscatine, IA
Community/Public Service DISTRICT SERVICE PARENT/SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVE: District Citizen’s Advisory Council; Committee for Gifted Curriculum; THS Principal Search Committee; Sheldon Pre-school Building Naming Committee; Jardine Middle – K-8 Initiative Committee; ELEMENTARY: Member of PTO and DCAC representative; Choreographed School Musicals - Assisted director as needed; Assisted cheer coach; Yearbook - creation, production, marketing, selling, etc.; Yearbook Committee Coordinator; Co-Coordinator of the Healthy Hawks; Volunteered in the classroom 1 - 4 hours a week; Chair/Volunteer of the Book Fair; Field Day Volunteer –et up, run an area, and clean up; MIDDLE SCHOOL: Member of PTO and DCAC representative - Secretary, Vice President, Co-President, Chair of Pizza/Bingo; Choreographer for fall musical for eight years; Volunteered with Egyptian program; HIGH SCHOOL: (*Current) - *Member of PTO and DCAC representative (Secretary, *Vice-President, President), Co-Chair of Spirit Wear, After Prom Game Room Chair, Concession Volunteer; *Scholars Bowl – Parent Volunteer; *Band Backers – Member; Secretary; *Scholarship Chair; Debate/Forensics Volunteer; *THS Drumline – Parent Volunteer; OTHER SERVICE: Kansas Youth Chorale Board Member; Helping Hands Humane Society Volunteer
Address 1931 SW 32nd St.
Campaign phone 785-783-7780
• Current parent of USD 501 high school student • Active USD 501 volunteer supporting classrooms, buildings, programs, and the district. • Member of District Citizen’s Advisory Council for nearly ten years. This group learns about programs and issues in the district, as well as researches special topics of interest serving as a liaison between the parents, schools, the Superintendent, and the School Board. • Earned a Ph.D. (doctorate) in Interpersonal Communication. I understand the importance of effective communication, transparency, and feedback. • Teaching at the college level for the past twenty years I see the effects of educational policies, as well as the opportunity to speak with students that graduated from USD 501. • Helped revamp our university teaching consultation program to help mentor and encourage faculty through our Center for Teaching and Excellence in Learning.
We, parents and guardians, teachers, administrators, and the school board are here for the students. Student success is a complex, but critical, issue. Ways that we can address student success include the following:

*READINESS– Expanding preschool and increasing academic rigor *OPPORTUNITIES – Enriching students through fine arts, dual language, and STEM *UNDERSTANDING - Addressing the mental health needs within our district *TEACHER RETENTION AND RECRUITMENT - Identifying issues and increasing support *STREAMLINING – Examining new methods to increase course availability at schools *ONGOING - Promotion of Pathways, TCALC, and College Prep Academy *NETWORKING – Collaborating with community for internships and services *GOALS – Increasing graduation rates, decreasing class sizes, and closing the achievement gap
All staff deserved to be heard and respected. I would work to create an atmosphere of open communication and appreciation. Listening to the needs of everyone at a school, being present, and having ways that allow for individuals to have a direct line of communication would help individuals feel comfortable coming forward with issues. Certainly pay and benefits also need to be addressed as well. We should be sure that our staff are being compensated appropriately for the work they do, and that they also have strong mentoring and growth opportunities.
There has been increased lighting around buildings, added cameras and security doors, stronger windows, and storm shelters for severe weather. When considering each building, I believe it is essential to listen to those most knowledgeable. Teachers, staff, administration, students (if reasonable, depending on age and maturity), and guardians would be essential sources of information for determining policy versus practice.

For students to be able to concentrate on school, they need to feel safe both inside and outside the building. Inside schools, we need to continue to work with our social workers and counselors to identify services for students in need. This could help prevent issues, including bullying. Policies that are already in place should be followed or readdressed if they are not working. Increased mentoring programs and community partnerships are also potential ways to help connect students to individuals who care about their needs.
Over the years, I have shown strong commitment to USD 501. Being on the School Board, I will take the time to attend meetings, analyze reports and data trends, observe classrooms and discuss issues with teachers, as well as attend the items that might pop up here and there. It is my goal to keep the lines of communication open and transparent. I am sure the time commitment varies based on the needs of the district and the time of year and I intend to be an engaged member.