1. Quality education for all—Strong public school system
I am passionate about kids, and providing all kids with a quality education is the best way to set them up for success. Our district has come a long way over the last few years, but we still have a lot of room to improve educational outcomes.
2. School Choice—Alternative programs
I love that families have so many choices for high quality education within the Anchorage School District, and it’s critical that we provide the support necessary to keep those alternative programs strong. It is also important to give teachers and principals the freedom to manage their own programs and classrooms with minimal district-wide mandates. I am particularly interested in expanding STEM opportunities for students. It will be a top priority of mine to expand the programs that are in high demand by students and parents so that no child has to be on a waiting list for the education they desire.
3. School Board Communication
My family has been members of the ASD community for more than 7 years. We have three kids in three different schools, so communication is imperative. We cannot think of a time that the school board has communicated directly with parents. Many parents I talk to don’t even know what the school board does. I would like parents to have a better idea of the school board’s business and to feel comfortable and welcome attending meetings. With the recent decision not to open Gruening Middle School and Eagle River Elementary for the 2019-20 school year, it will be increasingly more important for decision makers to communicate with and involve Eagle River families in finding the best solution for the students in each of the affected schools. As an engineer, details and logistics of complex problems are my specialty, and this is just the type of issue that I would be excited to help to tackle.
I do not think it’s appropriate for the State to take away funding that has already been allocated and budgeted for the current school year. It puts every school district across the state in a very difficult position, scrambling to maintain the course. Although it’s not ideal, I think it’s very possible to find ways to make changes for upcoming school years to account for reduced funding. Alaskans elected a governor who has pledged to be a budget hawk. The School Board and ASD will have to be diligent in campaigning for what our students really NEED because it is clear that we will have to figure out how to operate with less. Being smart about the budget does not mean you’re anti-education.
5. Unique Skill Set
I learned from an early age the importance of public service. We need quality problem solvers who can work with others to compromise and find solutions. We need professional, proactive community members to get involved in government at every level. As an engineer, I have been trained to look at data. Analyzing and using data is so important for a school board overseeing a district of this size.
Growing up working in my family’s business, my brothers and I were constantly involved in solving day to day business challenges and being accountable for everything from the cleanliness of the bathrooms to the bottom line of the balance sheet. That really is such a valuable amount of responsibility to have at a young age, and it taught all of us to be proactive, accountable, hard workers in everything we do.