What, if any, is your experience in public office?
Why are you running for office?
I want to use my experience as an educator to help Lodi continue to be the great school district it is and help make it a district teachers want to work in and parents want their children to attend.
What do you bring to the table?
I think the greatest asset I bring is that I am an educator with 20 years of experience working in public schools. I know first-hand the obstacles our teachers, staff, parents, and students face daily. So often in education the people who make the decisions that directly affect school staff have no experience in the education field and those decisions are not always what is best for kids or educators.
What do you feel is the role of local government?
The role of local government is to represent the people of that municipality and make decisions that help that municipality not just survive, but thrive and become better for every citizen.
What are your top three priorities or goals?
One is to work with the current board to continue offering high-quality academic and STEAM programs in the Lodi school district. We have some of the best programs in the area, if not in the state and midwest. Two is to provide social-emotional programming that meets the current needs in those areas identified by our students. Three is to make sure teachers’ voices are not only heard but listened to and that the job expectations they are given are realistic and attainable. I think too often teachers are expected to put their jobs before their personal lives and mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
What, if any, do you feel are obstacles to those goals?
The largest obstacle almost every district faces is funding. A school board has to constantly analyze the financial impact of every decision they make. The board has to make wise choices with the limited funds they have to ensure they are providing quality resources for their students and fairly compensating the district staff. The education field is experiencing a significant decline in people entering the teaching field and staying in teaching longer than five years. Lodi has to make our district one that new teachers are excited to join and one that veteran teachers feel respected in and compensated enough to want to stay. This is not an easy task in today’s climate. Lastly, the district needs to take a deep look at the data recently provided by the middle school and high school students regarding their stress levels and mental and emotional health and the unsafe ways many of them are choosing to handle those things. It is not enough to provide high-level academics. The district must analyze how those high-level academic expectations may be negatively affecting students and equally provide mental and emotional health curriculums that teaches students how to appropriately handle those expectations in healthy ways. Social-emotional curriculum is just as important as academic curriculum.