School Board candidate Q-and-A from Philomath News
April 27, 2021

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Q: What is your primary motivation for running for a School Board position?

As an educator, using my experience and fresh perspective to support Philomath School District is a way I can serve my community. I know firsthand how essential schools are to a community, and I’ve found this to be especially true in Philomath. The strengths of PSD inspire me as does the work the district is doing to grow, particularly around building opportunities for a high-quality education for every student and eliminating barriers that prevent that. Using my years of classroom experience and context from working with other districts, I will support those efforts and help the PSD continue to grow.

Q: As a board member, where would you look to make budget cuts and are there any areas you would not consider cutting?

Philomath School District already makes efficient use of the dollars available each year, so cuts would not be easy. If we must cut, it is important for the School Board and superintendent to look at the budgets that support us and cut those first, limiting direct impact on students as much as possible. Part of leadership is making sure to sacrifice before asking others to do so. While no area can be fully off-limits, we should protect high-impact programs serving vulnerable student groups as much as possible (for example, early elementary, special education, English language development.).

Q: What do you see as our district’s current strengths and weaknesses?

Low staff turnover indicates staff feel welcomed and supported. Leadership is committed to doing what’s right for kids. Our schools have excellent extracurriculars, incredible CTE programs, a phenomenal counseling team and caring professionals at all levels. The district also recognizes we can grow even stronger so all students feel welcome and supported to succeed. We can build our capacity to include families and students of all races and life experiences. Recognizing our perspectives as educators can help us support students with their own complex, developing identities. (For me, that includes recognizing my perspective is shaped by my whiteness and queerness.)Low staff turnover indicates staff feel welcomed and supported. Leadership is committed to doing what’s right for kids. Our schools have excellent extracurriculars, incredible CTE programs, a phenomenal counseling team and caring professionals at all levels. The district also recognizes we can grow even stronger so all students feel welcome and supported to succeed. We can build our capacity to include families and students of all races and life experiences. Recognizing our perspectives as educators can help us support students with their own complex, developing identities. (For me, that includes recognizing my perspective is shaped by my whiteness and queerness.)

Q: What do you believe are the main opportunities that the Philomath School District has in order to better serve its students and their families?

We can further engage and empower students as learners, using data and listening to students and families so that all students have strong opportunities for success. Listening is essential, and the pandemic has made it even clearer that students, families and schools must work together! When we listen to student and family voices, especially those traditionally listened to less, our decisions will be stronger. I’ve been learning this as a teacher, seeing how conversation and learning is enriched through relationship and listening. Through all of this, we can continue to support the whole person of students, families and staff.

Q: What do you see as the major issues facing the school district in the next four years?

Financially, there is a real chance our district will face the difficult combination of less revenue as a side effect of COVID at the same time as we see increased enrollment due to our growing Philomath community. Besides likely fiscal challenges, we will need to ensure our schools are welcoming, safe places for all students to learn and all families to enter. As a strong, closely knit district, we have the chance to evolve together to meet new challenges and opportunities that will surely arise.