- Retired former educator
- Three Degrees from Wichita State University: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Master of Education, Specialist in Administration; 5 different endorsements on my teaching certificate
- Wichita Public School At-Large Board Member for 8 years (3 years as president and 1 year as vice president), Board Member Pando Initiative (formerly Communities in Schools)
- Board Member, Trees for Life
- Volunteer: Teach for Life, Assistance League (Operation School Bell), Read to Succeed (starting Fall, 2019, Read to a 2nd grader weekly)
Personal Information: Widow, 3 grown married sons (who all graduated from WPS) and 9 grandchildren (4 are currently attending WPS)
What specific issue facing Wichita Public Schools do you think deserves your immediate attention and how to you plan to address it?
The role of schools in society is to provide well educated students that can be productive citizens. To reach this, two years ago a new strategic plan was developed to guide the district. The Board now must monitor the 4 goals and 8 themes of the district’s strategic plan so achievement for all students will rise. This will result in all students being prepared for their future jobs or college. The strategic plan goals are: Increased graduation rate; Reading proficiently by 3rd grade; Increased career/technical education certification/college credit; and Students feel safe at school. The Board must stay vigilant about making decisions filtered through the strategic plan.
How do you think the district can improve teacher retention?
The teacher shortage is real. The HR Department was directed to offer open contracts to outstanding teachers. District recruiters work to find special education teachers. The Grow Your Own Teacher programs are used for both special education and regular teachers. WSU started the para to teacher program. We also must retain our current teachers. After cutting the budget by $90 Million over the first 6 years of my tenure on the board, in the last two years almost all our new money has gone to teachers and staff. They needed and deserved a raise. We have also worked to change the climate and culture of the district so teachers can feel proud that they are on the cutting edge of making Wichita Public Schools a great place for all students to thrive and succeed. This work continues by listening first then acting on what we have heard.
What do you think is the largest obstacle to student success/graduation and how do you plan to address it?
Wichita Public Schools is a large (50,000+ students), urban (76% poverty), diverse (121 languages are spoken in the homes), school district. This is a bonus for our students because the district reflects the world in which students will live and work. But it also makes our jobs harder. We must intentionally build into our system supports that will help every student grow from where they are to achieving at or above their assigned grade level. The academic expectation is high for every student. The new Standards Referenced Grading System will ensure that these expectations stay high no matter which school the student attends. The strategic plan sets the goals, and the expectation is that every student meets those goals to become successful citizens of the future.