Why are you running for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Board of Education?
I am passionate about education, and I am running because I want to ensure our district One91 is truly accomplishing its mission that every student is future-ready and community-strong.
I believe that starts with developing diversity, equity and inclusion standards and policies for the district to truly create a welcoming, supportive educational experience for everyone. We must go beyond cultural proficiency.
What skills and qualities would you bring to the school board if elected?
I am qualified for this vital role. My 24 years of experience in the nonprofit sector include working with Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, St. Paul Youth Services, CampFire USA, the Eagan Foundation and currently the SouthWest Metro Educational Foundation serving youth and families. Also, I serve on the Advisory Board at Fraser, providing a parent voice to help enhance and improve their service delivery to kids and families. I know my expertise in financial management, governance and setting strategic goals will help further our district.
What is your philosophy when it comes to budgeting?
My philosophy with budgeting is learning from the past two years and projecting any shifts on the horizon. I believe in conservative revenue projections and contingency plans built into the budget. I believe in transparency in the budget process. It involves all department leads, who then work with their departments to create their budgets and have discussions and recommendations on if expenses need to scale back. The budget must align with the goals for each department and the overall goals of the district.
What do you believe has caused the declining enrollment the district has experienced for the past decade?
I believe the district’s declining enrollment is connected to how the district is perceived as a welcoming place for people of diverse backgrounds, including people with special needs. If a parent doesn’t feel their child is part of the vision of the district or doesn’t feel as included in the district, they will look to another.
My son has special needs and participates in special education services. His transition to middle school was extremely difficult, and we were not getting the support we needed, to the point that we were exploring leaving the district. Because of the advocacy of Patrick and I and our support from Pacer, Fraser and Dakota County, we were able to work with District 191 to make changes to help us change our mind.
Also, in looking at defining achievement gaps by test scores, we must look at other means of measuring education progress, not just a test score, and market that progress. We must continue to address achievement gaps for our students.