Why are you running for this position?

After 18 years in the PLSAS community, I want to give back and be part of our future. I have tremendous pride in our schools and we have excellent people at work every day in our district. This collective body of students, teachers, administrators, coaches, custodians, coordinators and countless others has given so much to our community and my family. The board must ensure every child is valued, learning is equitable, best practices are shared, efficiencies are maximized and standards are high. A school board built on trust and collaboration will help take our district from good to great.

What are the top three issues you would face during your term?

It is time to bring collaboration and commitment into our board conversations. Collaborate doesn’t mean agree; in fact, it means compromise, while respectfully working towards a common goal. Commitment is listening to our district’s voices and working hard to make informed decisions.

COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on our budget even after a return to normal. We will face financial challenges related to this from a state budget perspective and the new board must work diligently in anticipation of these.

Equity must be addressed. Every child must be afforded the chance to belong in our district.

Have you been charged in the past year, or ever been convicted, of a misdemeanor or higher, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure

No.

As a board member, how would you foster communication with teachers and parents?

I am uniquely fortunate to have built strong relationships across the district while my kids have been involved at PLSAS. This, coupled with my work on the Task Force and in other district volunteer roles, positions me to hit the ground running as a board member. My relationships with teachers and parents are a very strong piece of why I am running. I can only expect these relationships to strengthen. I believe teachers and parents are the voices of our students, particularly those who are the most vulnerable, and we must listen to them.

Do you feel students should be attending the school year virtually, in person or via the hybrid model as they are?

The Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Education created guidelines using our best and brightest health care and education experts. I believe that we should listen to them and work within the guidelines they proposed.

Should the start of the 2020-2021 school your have been prolonged to further prepare students and families for the academic year?

The start of the 2020-2021 school year was delayed to give staff additional time, per their request, to prepare for this unprecedented academic school year. I felt it was a reasonable accommodation to ensure that our time is well spent with our students.

Would you have changed anything in regards to the board’s response to COVID-19 and fall education?

The district has done some incredible heavy lifting in response to this pandemic and tried to make the best decisions possible with the latest available information at every crossroad. While I respect that some decisions may look better or worse in hindsight, I am disappointed in the confusing and incomplete communication throughout the process. We can’t expect perfect decision making in the ever changing COVID-19 environment, but we can expect excellent and timely communication. A more effective communication strategy may have mitigated the anxiety and fears that families and teachers have felt through this difficult process.

What changes, if any, would you make to the district budget?

Our taxpayers rightfully demand budget accountability. The district should always seek efficiencies in how taxpayer dollars are spent.

PLSAS is one of the largest school districts in Minnesota. The strong majority of comparable schools in the seven-county metro area have a voter approved tech levy. I would support bringing forward a tech levy to the voters so we would be able to provide better support for our students and compete on equal footing with other schools in our area.

Open enrollment should be evaluated annually and used in a manner consistent with budget priorities.

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