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 am married to Hollis Stabler and we have seven adult children and nine grandchildren. (Hollis is a Wichita Native and attended k-12 in 259).
I grew up and attended school in Emporia, KS. My mother is a retired special education teacher, and my father retired after fifty years as an engineer on the Santa Fe Railroad. I have been a successful small business owner for fourteen years. I am an international clothing designer and have won numerous accolades and recognition in the fashion industry. The most recent includes being the first Kansan and the first Native American to show a collection at New York Fashion Week in 2019. I have been invited to Paris and Milan Fashion Week 2022. For more than 35 years I have traveled cross country sharing my Native American Culture through fashion. I have worked with tribal museums documenting and reproducing original garments for preservation.
I worked as Para in USD 259 (3 years)
Currently on the Maize High Fashion, Apparel and Interior Design Pathway Advisory Committee (2 years)
Currently on the Executive Steering Committee for Botanica Pistils. Mission is to support the education and cultural programs and events at Botanica Gardens
Co-Founder of ICT Native Gala – Raising funds to benefit Wichita Native Youth cultural education, St Joseph Apache Mission Food Bank, and partnership with ICT SOS for pilot education program for middle and high school students with focus on Missing Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and human trafficking.
Member and Volunteer for Designing Women – Mark Arts
Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service-Class of 2020
Mid-America All Indian Center – Museum Committee
Wichita Warrior Society, Ladies Auxiliary, Secretary
Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:
What specific Wichita Public Schools issues deserve your immediate attention and how do you plan to address them?
As a school board member, I would like to find innovative ways to improve student performance. I would like to see spending focus on the classroom, and provide teachers with resources and improved training that will ensure success in their classroom. Long term goals and ambitious standards should be encouraged.
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.
2020 has hopefully taught us a lot about how to function during a novel disease. Without doubt our 259 students and teachers have suffered a great set back during the school closings. Suspension of face-to-face instruction has restricted the progress of students, and stymied the teacher/student communication and interaction. It has showed us how important it is for students to be in classroom.
Data shows that our students were already performing below grade level before the Pandemic. Student assessment will determine the loss of student performance. Once confirmed, adjustment and strategy for recovery needs to be determined. I would also encourage the elimination of social promotion.
Remote learning has not been effective for every student, and has been a hardship on teachers to balance their classroom and remote learning. We need to listen to teachers and the issues that concern them, and be proactive in providing resources that will ensure classroom success.
I believe masking is a personal choice, a parental decision on what is right for their own children.
What is your stance on critical race theory, knowing that USD 259 does not currently teach it?
First of all, as a Native American, I’ve always believed true history should be taught. Students should have a full understanding of our nation’s past.
CRT assumes that our society is layered in terms of race or other inter sectional differences. This is a divisive philosophy. The truth is that all doors to success are open to those with individual ability, determination and vision.
Would you change how much the school district spends on its different departments (teachers, safety, special education, etc.)? If so, how?
I have been unable to navigate the summarized budget that I have found on the USD 259 web page. It is not a complete picture of how the funds are allocated. The School Board budget must justify the expenditure of public funds. Every year there has been an increase of funding allocated for each student. Spending needs to focus on academics to ensure our students are learning and advancing. The School Board needs to be transparent and made accountable in seeking solutions for improved measurable outcomes for students. We must invest in each entity of education (re: students, teachers, safety, special education, early education, etc.) and provide a solid plan to accommodate the needs for success.