Paradise Valley Unified School District
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1. Are you a precinct committeeman? If yes, for how long?
Yes; since 5/5/21
2. Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you run for school board?
I originally ran as a write-in candidate in the 2020 election when I saw our current Governing Board members abusing their power and not respecting the Parental Bill of Rights. The Governing Board developed metrics even more strict than the CDC recommendations to determine the closure of in-person learning. Seeing the rapid decline in academics, I felt an obligation to run for School Board. I grew up in AZ and have resided in the PVUSD since 2004. I have been married for over 18 years to my husband, Scott Farr, and our son currently attends high school within the district. I earned my M.A. degree in Education, specializing in Curriculum & Instruction from Chapman University. I also attended Arizona State University on a Regent's academic scholarship and graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors and a B.S. degree in Marketing. While attending ASU, I was a Communications Teaching Assistant. After obtaining my M.A. degree in Education, I spent time in the classroom teaching second grade. I'm retired and have the necessary time to dedicate to the district. Most importantly, having a child in the district gives me a vested interest in the district's success. I also have an extensive business background as a Sales & Business Development Director overseeing Digital Advertising for AutoTrader.com and KBB for the West coast. Prior to this position, I worked as a Senior Account Executive in the Information Technology field helping major corporations align IT and Business initiatives and create operational efficiencies. Consultative solutions included Digital Intelligence, E-Business, Enterprise Architecture, Infrastructure Services, and Wireless/Mobile computing initiatives. My charitable volunteer experience has included financial support and volunteer hours with organizations such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Child Crisis Center, Junior Achievement, Feed My Starving Children, and St. Mary's Food Bank. Below are just some of my contributions to PVUSD: Classroom volunteer every year, apart from district imposed Covid restrictions Chaperoned countless school trips Volunteered for Project Graduation at Pinnacle High Volunteered multiple years for Field Days Volunteered for the Drug Prevention event at Desert Trails Helped teachers make copies and grade math assignments Taught Junior Achievement in the classroom for multiple years Gave Career Day presentations at Explorer for multiple years Photography Chair, JV and Varsity Baseball Team Lead for Pinnacle Baseball Volunteered to read 100 Senior Essays and submit feedback Helped serve lunch on Teacher Appreciation Day Financial donations to PVUSD for 12 years PVUSD needs Board members who will focus on academic success, respect parental rights, retain quality teachers, and keep politics out of the classrooms. Every family should have the right to choose the best instructional model for their individual child. A Board member's greatest responsibility must be the educational welfare of the students. It is the parent’s role to make the medical decisions for their child. My unique blend of both Education and Business experience coupled with my passion for education and children will help move PVUSD in the right direction. My top priorities as a Board member would be: Academic Excellence Recruiting and Retaining Quality Teachers Direct More Money to the Classroom Address Declining Enrollment and Test Scores
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?
I would support a sexual education program depending on the content. It is critical that the content is age appropriate. I do not believe any sexual education program should be taught before the 6th grade. I absolutely feel the parent should have the opportunity to opt out. I'd prefer that the parents had to opt into the program with full disclosure to the parents on the content.
4. Do you support the idea of parents being the sole stakeholders in their children’s lives?
I support the Parental Bill of Rights. I believe Parents have the right to make the medical, religious, moral and educational decisions for their children. I do believe there are cases of neglect and abuse which need to be reported to ensure the child's safety and well-being.
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?
In general, I want our teachers and schools to be focused on academics. I do not support any program that singles out a person's race, gender, sexual identity, or sexual preference as a means to treat students differently. I support equal opportunity and respect for all students, not equity. I wouldn't want any student to feel excluded. Although, I do not support a biological boy who identifies as a girl to be able to participate in girls' athletic programs since biological boys are genetically bigger and stronger. I see this as a safety issue and unfair to our female athletes. I also do not support a biological boy who identifies as a girl to utilize the girl's bathroom. Again, I see this as a safety issue. I would support some gender-neutral bathrooms on campus with individual stalls. Regarding Bloom365, I would not want to utilize academic time and financial resources on comprehensive SEL programs. From what I've seen, these programs are very expensive, they detract from time spent on academics, and there is little to no accountability. I support a message of treating everyone with respect; however, I do not believe treatment should vary depending on race, gender, sexual preference, or sexual identity. I believe the sexual education program could address the overall message of consent, boundaries, interpersonal violence, and "see something, say something." I do not support Corwin Press or any other curriculum which incorporates political agendas and woke ideologies with attempts to create social activists.
6. Based on the limitations and powers of a school board member, what’s your platform?
Board members are responsible for setting district policy, hiring/firing and oversight of the Superintendent, and managing the budget. My platform will be focused on academic excellence, directing more money to the classroom, fiscal responsibility, merit-based pay, and removal of any political agendas from the classroom.
7. What do you believe to be the biggest issue impacting K-12 students in Arizona?
I believe the biggest issue is the national level push for non-academic programs like CRT, DEI, LGBTQ, and SEL and their ties to federal funding. These programs are detracting from the schools' academic focus leading to a decline in education.
8. How do you think the state should support public education? Do you believe in expanding school vouchers?
I do support ESAs. Ideally, I'd like to see strong community based public schools which perform academically and meet the needs of their families. However, I believe each student should be able to attend the school which best meets their individual needs.
9. Do you have a plan to fund renovations of schools in your area that are run down?
PVUSD’s enrollment has dropped from over 31,000 students to approximately 27,500 students. The district has closed several schools. I would consider the sale or lease of underutilized properties to help fund renovations of existing properties within the district. I would also ensure the district is allotting purchase contracts to the vendors who are providing the best value. I will not be bribed by vendors trying to secure contracts.
10. Do you have a plan to address the shortage of teachers?
I believe we need to implement more merit-based teacher compensation plans. I'd like to see pay for performance bonuses. I do not believe all teachers should be paid the same. For instance, an English teacher should be paid more than a P.E. teacher considering the amount of time they need for planning and grading. I think the district needs to solicit more teacher feedback from all teachers, not just the Union teachers. I want to eliminate programs which deter from the teacher's ability to teach their subject matter. I do not support dual-modality teaching. A teacher should not be required to simultaneously teach in-person and online. I would encourage help from parents and volunteers to assist teachers both inside and outside of the classroom. I would support an environment where teachers feel respected and valued. I would like to foster an open-door policy for our teachers where they can reach out to any level of administration or Board member with concerns and/or suggestions.
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?
I would absolutely support allowing retired military and/or police officers, who pass a background check, to work and/or volunteer in our schools. Schools are in desperate need of more resource officers to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
12. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy.
https://www.ParentsForPV.com; https://www.facebook.com/LisaFarr4PV; Donations on Venmo @LisaFarr2022