Address: Candidate did not provide.
Family: Jason (spouse), Morgan 23 (daughter), Addison 10 (son), Ada 7 (daughter)
Employment: Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN
Education: Graduate of Apple Valley High School, Business School, Technical School
Hobbies/Interests: Art, community service, cooking, health and fitness, photography, travel and volunteering.
Previous experience that would prove helpful in position: Working on/with public employer group health plans and union health plans. Participation in solidarity associate groups at work. On diversity and inclusion work group at work. Active participant in my children’s school’s PTO.
I am creative and an innovator for change. I have many ideas that will turn things around for this district and our community. I, like many, have experienced the struggle and frustration of continued budget cuts and diminishing enrollment. This has led to schools closing in our district. I see the systemic racism that has underlying effects in our community. I feel responsible to do my part to make our district better. Not only for my children but for all children. There should not be an uphill battle for access to opportunities, education, safety or development.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
Increase enrollment, focus on becoming a fiscally responsible district, create a more robust racial and health equity plan.
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?
The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District’s student enrollment numbers have been declining steadily for 20 years. Why do you think some local families choose to attend public school elsewhere and what ideas do you have for attracting and retaining district students?
Much of what has been happening is based on perception. An inaccurate perception that seems to link lower test scores to quality of what is being offered by our district or even the diversity in our community.
Yes, there has been negative publicity surrounding our district, but one event does not make the entire district bad. We cannot attract new families and students overnight, but I do have a long-term plan I believe that will work and it involves looking at a Community School Model.
Over 95% of teachers in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District are white, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Education, but white children represent less than 39% of the district students. What do you believe is needed to recruit and retain teachers of color?
There is no easy answer to this issue, this is faced in many districts across the country. I believe strongly in “Grown Your Own” programs in finding students and other potential candidates in the district and partnering with local universities and finding financial programming and supports. There must also be some level of negotiating with the teacher’s unions as it relates to creating a diverse teacher population and whereas seniority should not always trump performance. To attract and retain newer diverse teachers’ unions need to see the benefit of creating better protections for diverse teachers just coming into the workforce.
The district’s unassigned fund balance — reserved for unexpected or contingent expenses — is projected to fall below 6% of the district’s expenditures this year. District policy calls for this fund to remain at 8% or higher. How would you look to rebuild the district’s financial reserves and what is your stance on the 8% policy?
When it comes to district finances you can leave no stone unturned. What can we do as a district to bring in revenue? Are we leasing as much unused space as we can? Have we done everything to reduce our human footprint, can we save money by being greener? Can we apply for more grants? There are many ways as a district we can look to make money and save money. We need to be innovative in our budgetary thinking. I understand the necessary shortfall, we need to do what we can to increase the percentage back to the 8%.
What makes you proud of ISD 191?
I am proud of our diversity and the real-world experience we provide to our students. Our preparedness offered to our high school students for college and the workforce is exemplary. Teachers and staff are committed to making this district the best that it can be for all children. Families here are supportive, I have been a part of a wonderful PTO at William Byrne Elementary and I have seen what school community coming together can achieve.
Why should voters choose you?
I am committed to helping our district grow and succeed. I have been completely invested in supporting District 191 over the past year and a half, as a district ambassador and committing to helping the high school develop a mentor program. I believe in strong supports for racial and health equity, we can learn from other community’s achievements and strive to be a leader in the state. Students and their needs above all else come first. I will not stop until these goals are achieved! I will listen with the ear of a fellow community member, and parent.