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VOTE411 Voter Guide

USD 233 Olathe District 3 BOE

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  • Jennifer Gilmore
    (N)

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    Julie Steele
    (N)

Biographical Information

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

What skills, expertise, experience, or competencies qualify you for this position?

How would you suggest your school district address diversity issues for the most positive outcome?

With the recent pandemic, what technology or innovative changes do you envision for the district?

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Personal Biography Julie Steele grew up in the Olathe School District where she benefited from unique educational opportunities, compassionate teachers, and strong community support. That’s why, after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at KU and then a Master’s Degree in Special Ed (Early Childhood), she returned to Olathe to teach and to give all four of her children the same great opportunities. Julie is also a business owner and she is prepared to put words into action as member of the Olathe BOE.
Campaign Address PO Box 1
Olathe, KS 66051
Campaign Phone (913) 485-5540
Campaign Email houseofsteele1@gmail.com
Campaign Web Site http://votejuliesteele.com
Education • Northview Elementary, Santa Fe Trail Jr. High, and 1989 graduate of Olathe North High School • Graduate of University of Kansas (B.A. 1993) and Emporia State University (M.S. 1995) • Former teacher in Olathe School District
Community/Public Service • Infant Toddler Services, Former Board Member • Raven Parent Organization - President 2019-2020 • Olathe Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board Member, 2019 – present • Co-Chair of current capital campaign at Old Mission United Methodist Church
Looking Forward for Students: All students need to feel safe at school and have the mental health and social emotional support they need to be successful in the learning environment. We need to make sure we are meeting students basic needs of safety and mental health so they can develop and learn new skills in all areas of learning. Looking Forward for Educators and Administrators: Retention of our highly qualified, talented staff as well as recruitment of diverse staff that mirror our student population. We need to be creative and deliberate with our retention and recruitment efforts. Looking forward for the Community: Strong local schools drive strong local economies. We must continue being fiscally responsible while maintaining our amazing educational opportunities so that our district remains competitive and iconic in our area, which in turn supports and drives our local economy.
I am a former teacher in the Olathe District and I am current business owner. Both of those careers have given me a vast array of experiences that will add knowledge and insight to the BOE. As a teacher I learned the importance of how to communicate effectively with parents as well as how to manage a classroom that included students on IEP's and paraprofessionals and specialists in and out of the classroom every day. As a business owner, I have the responsibility of HR, managing our admin staff, and forecasting and budgeting, all of which has laid the ground work for being able to look at the district from the perspective of how it operates fiscally. In addition, I have four children who are vastly different learners, from one in medical school, another heading to law school, and one who graduated at 21 from her IEP from the district. As a family we have touched all corners of the district and this has contributed to my relatability to all types of families/students and their needs.
The school district should look for every opportunity to work with the community's leaders and organizations to address diversity issues together. From recruitment of a diverse staff, whether that's teachers or fire fighters, to educational programming that addresses our community's diverse needs locally and nationally, we are in this space together. We will be better as a district when we work with our community and combine resources to educate, address needs, celebrate our heritage and yet own our responsibility in the past while pushing ahead for a better tomorrow. We are ethnically and racially diverse here in Olathe and we should be educating our students about that and teaching them by example that in celebrating our rich diversity we are honoring everyone's story.
We must look at the past 16 months as an opportunity to assess what pivotal changes that we made as a district need should be continued and what changes need to be finessed and adjusted. For example, the opportunity to hold parent/teacher conferences via Zoom for parents who cannot make it to the school to meet in person is a change that occurred because of Covid but one that we should continue. Improving our opportunities for students who need to, or prefer to, learn from home has proven to be of paramount importance since we could not quickly or easily pivot back in March 2020. Our remote school option for the 2021-2022 school will be better than our past 16 months and we should always be looking for opportunities to improve. Lastly, learning to communicate in an on-line world, battling against misinformation and understanding bias in navigating to truth, is something our entire community could collaborate to find teaching tools and solutions for.