Cave Creek Unified School District
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1. Are you a precinct committeeman?
If yes, for how long? Yes, and Terravita Captain, LD3, 1 year
2. Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you run for school board?
As an involved and committed parent actively involved in my children’s education, I served on PTA/PTO; school site council, ESL and GATE programs, chairing career day and of course, actively volunteering in my children’s classroom. Today, education is a national and kitchen table topic, and has become more about adults, administrators and politics than children. We must have accessible board members who care about our children and have a vested interest in the success of our students, district, and community. Humans will rise to the level of standards put before them. Setting and expecting high standards creates a container where children can thrive, knowing each step in their journey. Let’s return to high academic standards and excellence. As I speak with parents in the district, they have voiced concerns over their children’s safety, the best interests of their children being served by the school board, administration, teachers and staff. Currently, less than 50% of eligible children attend schools in our district. Parents have concerns over what’s possibly being taught and discussed in the classroom. We hear concepts that seem more like cultural warfare being bantered about and wonder how much and why so much time is being spent on non academic focused topics. Let’s truly open things up, with full transparency, ease those concerns and restore trust. We’re losing good quality teachers due to substantially lower pay than surrounding districts. Let’s find out where money is available, or where we can procure it and fix this. High turnover rates have a negative impact on quality education (our children.) In light of recent events, school safety is a constant nagging worry. Do we have School Resource Officers? Are they well trained, with a strategic plan? Armed and ready? What’s the CCUSD discipline policy for ongoing offenders? I’ve spoken with teachers who feel they no longer have a voice around potentially violent students. Medical mandates are also a concern. What looms around the corner and how will the district respond? And, of utmost importance, what affect will this have on our children, and their long term future and success? Falling academic achievement in CCUSD (and enrollment, as mentioned) is alarming. I commit to working with teachers, administrators and parents to determine WHY and to implement changes to turn things around. Children deserve the best we can give them. They've had a rough 2 1/2 years. Let’s make their educational experience the top priority AND GIVE them opportunities to thrive. They are our greatest asset and our future. Their opportunity to reach their full potential relies heavily on the role of the parent, school and its community. Trust, transparency, respect, and accountability go hand in hand with the education process. The governing board should be a catalyst for ensuring a positive environment for our children to thrive.
3. Do you support sexual education of children in the classroom? At what age do you believe this is appropriate, and do you believe that a parent should have the opportunity to opt out?
"Reproduction" as a system of the body and human experience - yes. "Sexual Education" as anything beyond that - no. That is not the school's role, nor in the scope of practice for teachers or staff in general. Parents should always have the right to opt their child out of anything they are not comfortable with.
4. Do you support the idea of parents being the sole stakeholders in their children’s lives?
Tricky question - typically the parent, yes, and in some cases, this would be the guardian. While not the typical case, there are cases where the "parent" is no longer legally involved in a child's life.
5. What is your position on critical race theory, social-emotional learning, LGBTQ inclusion, and equity issues in the classroom? What do you know of Bloom365 and Corwin Press and what are your opinions?
None of these items should be part of the Public Education curriculum. CRT - we all know that it seldom goes by this "name" any more. Yet the concept is regularly sprinkled throughout all levels and topics of education. SEL - in most cases, beyond a teacher's "scope of practice" and can be skewed to be opinion and politically based. Children do not need to be introduced to LGBTQ concepts, as a rule, and we already have laws against bullying. Kids today have enough anxiety, why introduce more? There will always be times when a teacher, staff or someone outside of the parental role should simply say - "that would be a great conversation to discuss with your parents." I am familiar and not a fan of ideology behind Bloom365 or Corwin Press. Let us PLEASE get back to the important issues of education and preparing our children to thrive and succeed in the world. Academic Expectations and Excellence!
6. Based on the limitations and powers of a school board member, what’s your platform?
To listen; to investigate and research; to evaluate and make decisions based on creating a safe, positive, learning based environment for children; including parents in the process, decision making for their children and conversations, while also respecting, rewarding and compensating teachers appropriately for their time and role in the education process.
7. What do you believe to be the biggest issue impacting K-12 students in Arizona?
A shift from Core Academics and excellence, preparing kids to read, write, count and do math to a focus on creating social justice warriors and activists, and developing a belief that they are either oppressors or the oppressed.
8. How do you think the state should support public education? Do you believe in expanding school vouchers?
I am a big fan of school vouchers and giving everyone a voice in the best choice for their child's education. We are not a "one size fits all" society about ANYTHING and public schools are not the right fit for every child. Let's do better to serve and support each individual child through choice.
9. Do you have a plan to fund renovations of schools in your area that are run down?
Not really a big issue currently in my district.
10. Do you have a plan to address the shortage of teachers?
First, get to the core reasons why teachers are leaving, and based on my current research, it is not purely "pay" driven. I don't believe the 3-4 core reasons are a mystery; the challenge is getting administration and legislators to move beyond just "pay."
11. Do you support allowing retired military or police officers, who pass background checks, to work or volunteer in our schools to prevent mass shootings?
12. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy.
Children are our greatest asset and our future. Their opportunity to reach their full potential relies heavily on the role of the parent, school and its community. Trust, transparency, respect, and accountability go hand in hand with the education process. The governing board should be a catalyst for ensuring a positive environment for our children to thrive. As a fully involved parent myself, I know the angst that goes into sending your children off to school, hoping that they are being handled appropriately and not having someone else's values force fed to them. I want to ensure that parents can feel confident in the choices they are making with regards to schools, by voting in a board that aligns with their own goals and values.