Community involvement, past and present:
I have served on multiple boards, including Junior Achievement and Baranof Barracudas Swim Club. I have been involved in the Search and Rescue Incident Management Team.
Previous government or other relevant experience:
Sitka School Board 2018-present
Why are you running for a seat on the Sitka School Board this year?
I want to continue the progress the Board has made over the past 3 years. This includes working with our newly hired Superintendent Frank Hauser, continuing to build our relationship with the City Assembly and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and leading the district through the COVID pandemic.
What are your top two priorities if elected?
Reassessing our current school board goals and developing measurable benchmarks for closing the achievement gap; and continuing to build trust between the school district and our community.
What is your position on requiring vaccination or regular testing of district staff?
I do not support mandatory vaccinations or testing. However, I do support that any staff with COVID symptoms should be required to provide a negative test result prior to being allowed back in the school buildings.
What is your position on requiring vaccination or regular testing of all students 12 and older??
Same as my position regarding district staff.
When a vaccine is authorized for children under 12, what will your position be on requiring vaccination or regular testing of this age group? ?
Same as above.
Requiring students to wear masks has become highly political in some parts of the country. What is your position on masking in schools?
At this point in time, I support wearing masks in school when we are in the High level. However, I also support removing the mask requirement as soon as safely possible. I am open to the idea of removing the mask requirement even when we are in High if we continue to have 0 cases of transmission within the school buildings. But the bottom line is that kids need to be in school, in person, period. And if the only safe way to ensure that happens is by wearing masks, then I will continue to support that as long as it is proven to be an effective mitigation.
The initial rounds of CARES Act relief in the Sitka District were spent equipping the schools to deliver remote education, under a tight timeline. What do you think is the best use of the later round of relief funding, which can be spent over a longer timeframe?
I fully support the administration’s recommendations for use of this money. The Sitka School Board has listened to the recommendations of our Superintendent, building principals, and maintenance manager to authorize use of funds to date, and I will continue to support that model. They know the needs of the district better than anyone else and have been excellent at communicating those needs to the Sitka School Board.
Historically, the Sitka School Board has been focused on educational equity and closing the “achievement gap,” which is now also sometimes called “the opportunity gap.” How would you keep this issue in your sights during the district’s ongoing pandemic response?
The Sitka School Board will be meeting at the end of October to reassess our board goals for the coming year. I personally would like to see the achievement gap broken down into more measurable components so that we can identify which areas of the “gap” are closing and which areas aren’t, and then make the appropriate adjustments with our administrators to ensure that all areas are finding success.
Do you support the push for “culturally responsive education” in the district? What do you think culturally responsive education accomplishes?
Yes, I do support culturally responsive education in the district.
For many years the Sitka School District has followed a “whole child” philosophy, educating students as broadly as possible in academics, career and technical education, the arts, and sports. Is this still a realistic objective, given the constant budget pressure from the state? Or has something got to give?
Yes, this is still a realistic objective. The Sitka School District has proven that we can successfully keep these programs in the district without sacrificing academics, despite budget constraints.