How will you, as a Board member, impact the J-D schools and community?
The way people accepted and welcomed me when I came to this country at the age of seventeen taught me a great lesson on what the definition of a community truly is. Having lived in the J-D school district for the past 15 years, and the overwhelming amount of kindness and support that we received has left a lasting impact on my family. If elected, I hope to do the same and leave a meaningful change in this community.
If elected, what would be the main goal of your agenda during your time as a Board member?
I have read this question many times and have contemplated on how to answer. In my eyes, the main goal as a Board member is to effectively solve the issues that are brought up at each Board meeting to help the students, teachers, and community function in the best way. If I am fortunate enough to serve on the Board, I will do just that and make the correct decisions to benefit the community as a whole.
Many areas in the school receive less attention than other areas, both financially and publicly. Do you believe they should all be covered equally? If so, how would you make sure all areas are covered equally?
Through my experience with my own special needs child, I know first hand how important the support from his teachers and aids allowed him to flourish in not only school, but as a person. Because of the support he received at school, he has not only achieved his academic goals, but exceeding all expectations. Therefore, I believe all areas should be treated fairly based on their needs. Every student should be supported to excel to the best of their abilities and talents. It is important as a Board member to understand the funding available and make responsible decisions on allocating funds efficiently and effectively.
Moving forward, how would you plan to make changes to our materials, classrooms, and other areas of the school?
Change is very important to every organization. I know from my own profession that the consumer is the driving force in how quickly we have to change. I understand when it comes to materials and classrooms, a good fit can easily turn into the very thing that impedes academic progress. With the unprecedented time in virtual learning, I believe we need to take a step back and reconsider how to help our students learn information in a different and efficient way. Finding new and creative ways to teach as well as providing the necessary material in order for students to be successful.
What do you believe is the most pressing issue facing the J-D district?
There are many issues facing the district, however I believe the most pressing is how to safely and effectively prepare for the transition of students returning to school this upcoming fall. In my mind, students are the most successful when they are learning in front of a teacher surrounded by their peers. The mental, social, and emotional health of the students this past year has been a major challenge, and allowing for all students to return to school five days a week will not only allow them to thrive and support one another, but also be a key way to move our district one step back to normalcy.
Many community members likely want to hear your stance on pertinent issues right now. What is your stance on the SRO position? What about the budget shortfall and COVID-19 restrictions being lessened?
To study, teach, and work in a safe environment is very important. I believe having a SRO in the J-D schools provides an added layer of protection to the J-D community. The SRO has the ability to have a better understanding of the student body through interaction with students and conversations with school administrators. It is my understanding that the state has increased aid to the school district. I don’t believe we should have COVID restrictions, we should follow the guidelines set and provided by the county.
What do you think of the position of student Board representative?
I think it is extremely important to have a student Board representative who will share the concerns and needs of the student body. However, it is vital that this representative is reaching out to their peers and is relaying the opinions of all students and making all voices heard. Even if the feedback that the representative receives is not what he/she necessarily believes, it is their job to remove their own opinions and share the students’ thoughts to the Board.
Do you believe administrators should have the final say over material published in the school newspaper, rather than students making the executive decisions?
I believe that administrators should have the final say over material published in the school newspaper for the direct reason that the paper represents J-D. The main reason why it is important to do so is to make sure that the material being published is not insensitive or targeting an individual or group. That being said, it is important that the views and opinions of students are not censored, and can be shared in an open and honest way without prejudice.
What are you going to do to make sure students’ voices are heard?
In order for students’ voices to be heard, I would strive to inform students that we are here for them and our main goal as the Board of Education is their success. Along with the voices of the student newspaper and communicating with the student representative, students should be welcomed to express their concerns at school Board open forums.
Whose opinions (students, parents, or school officials) should carry the most weight in establishing school policies? Please rank them in order of value.
I feel as though everyone should carry a somewhat equal weight in establishing school policies. Parents have the most knowledge and experience with their own child on understanding their strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, school officials and students are just as important in the matter because they are the ones most affected by these policies. Students and school officials have the best knowledge of how effective these policies are due to the fact that they are following the policies on a daily basis. I believe that everyone deserves their voices heard in matters such as this, however it is key that we take into consideration who these policies are affecting, and in what way are they helping or hurting the school and the people that are in the building.
All Board member articles 2021:
Carolyn Souser: https://jdrampage.org/meet-board-candidate-carolyn-souser/
Jalal Zoghby: https://jdrampage.org/meet-2021-board-candidate-jalal-zoghby/
Ruth Arena: https://jdrampage.org/meet-2021-board-candidate-ruth-arena/
H. Bernard Alex: https://jdrampage.org/meet-2021-board-candidate-h-bernard-alex/
Kelly Austin: https://jdrampage.org/meet-2021-board-candidate-kelly-austin/
Emily Costello: https://jdrampage.org/meet-2021-board-candidate-emily-costello/
Lisa McKenney: https://jdrampage.org/meet-2021-board-candidate-lisa-mckenney/