Neighborhood: Downtown West
Occupation: Urban Planner, Economic Development, and Adjunct Instructor
Political experience: Never ran for public office
Your take on opening schools during COVID-19: Other schools have shown that it is possible to open safely. It is essential to address teacher concerns and work to get them vaccinated, and make sure that mask mandates are in place and PPE is available. We also need to utilize state and federal funds and resources to ensure schools are cleaned appropriately and safety measures are in place to deal with any issues.
Your take on the use and closure of existing school properties: My primary concern is making sure there is a viable plan for long-term success for today and a long-term strategy for the district’s future. I would like to see the school closings reversed until there is a complete assessment done of the district and a plan to move it forward. I do not support closing schools without re-adaptive uses for the building. These schools could become resource centers for multiple uses that focus on wrap-around services for children, parents, educators, and the community. Some schools can create specialized schools to help children thrive, such as a school for children with disabilities and special needs. Special education needs to be a priority to meet our students’ needs who have an IEP or 504 plan and need special educational assistance. A specialized school could assist in addressing these requirements.
Your take on reducing crime and violence in the school system: We must establish engaging experiences, address and resolve conflicts, teach children in early childhood how to deal with social conflict, and bring resources necessary for children to thrive. I want to reallocate funding in the school district to hire mental health professionals and train safety officers to interact with our kids. I favor finding ways to increase therapists, counselors, and social workers because it would benefit both academic performance and school safety.
Your take on ending inequity within the school district: Racial equity is a complex problem within our school system and community. Too often, education, teachers, and administrators may not realize there is an equity problem because of the biases in their education, training, and upbringing. This directly affects student outcomes, teacher performance, curriculum, admission, and so many other things. There must be specific language about systemic racism and the ways it diminishes academic achievement in our children. I am proposing a Wellbeing Strategy for Children to address equity, anti-bias, antiracist (ABAR) education, and other school district issues.
Additionally, we must forge strategic partnerships. My goal is to establish an advisory committee with subgroups to discuss specific issues within SLPS, and equity is one of the groups. Promoting equity is hard work, but it is necessary to overcome racial equity problems in policy, practice, and procedure to support all children’s development in our multiracial, multilingual, multicultural world.