Responses below are from the candidates and have not been edited. All candidates for a race who chose to respond were asked the same questions.
I graduated from Southeast High School and attended Kansas State University. I have been married to my husband, Marco, for 13 years. I have 3 step-kids who are grown and out of the house with kids of their own. Previously I was a small business owner in the construction industry focusing on residential remodels.
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What specific Wichita Public Schools issues deserve your immediate attention and how do you plan to address them?
The main issue is before the pandemic started, over 60% of our students were testing below grade level. With the COVID slide and the learning loss that has taken place over the last 18 months, the focus needs to be on getting students back on track to meet or exceed grade-level testing.
Teachers working with parents and students are going to be one of the most important solutions for this. Teachers can identify where a student is and where they need to be and create an action plan. Teachers are highly trained professionals and know how to teach, and they should have the flexibility to teach the best way for their students.
There are many interventions and programs that can be implemented to get students caught up to grade level. Progress will not happen overnight, but we need to get pointed in the right direction.
We simply cannot continue this downward trend in our district’s education. The current board has had a full-term to change the downward trend and they have chosen to focus their efforts on things that have not reversed this trend or even slowed it down. History is a great predictor of the future.
What are your thoughts on how the coronavirus pandemic has changed schooling? Include your thoughts on masks, social distancing, remote learning, and anything you would have done differently.
The COVID pandemic has made it much more difficult for parents, students, teachers, and everyone in the community. When the pandemic first started, I understood the abundance of caution. People should be encouraged to be healthy, make intelligent choices, and make the best decisions for their families. We should all go back to the Golden Rule, ‘treat others as you want to be treated.’ Instead of assuming the worst in others, let’s try giving people the benefit of the doubt. Each family has different needs and different health concerns; I believe families should be allowed to make personal health decisions for themselves and their families. I do not think the benefits of the mandates have outweighed the negatives. I believe that the remote learning option should be expanded to allow more people who feel remote learning is their best option to choose that.
What is your stance on critical race theory, knowing that USD 259 does not currently teach it?
I do not believe CRT should be taught in our schools. This is a national concern that continues to alarm people. Our community here in Wichita has made it abundantly clear they do not want CRT taught in our schools, and I will stand by that.
Would you change how much the school district spends on its different departments (teachers, safety, special education, etc.)? If so, how?
I would have an audit of the budget for the district’s various departments. Knowing what teachers need in their classrooms to be successful would be the top priority. Their opinions would be sought out to find their needs and how the district can best help. Good teachers are vital to the students, they deserve to be paid well, and they should not have to spend their own money on classroom supplies.