- ED of Non Profit A Thrive Community
- BS in Business Education Minor in Econ.
- Ran for school board in 2017
- Transit Advisory Board Member
- President of College Hill Neighborhood Assn.
Personal Information: Married for almost 20 years with 5 great kids
What specific issue facing Wichita Public Schools do you think deserves your immediate attention and how to you plan to address it?
Our School Board must begin to have open and honest conversations about student achievement in our District and insist that we as a community understand the plan to improve them. 25% of our 4th grade low income students are at proficiency in Language Arts, 14% at proficiency in Math- 13% of our 10th grade low income students are proficient in Language Arts and 7% in Math- this is a crisis. Our School Board has not had open conversations at Board Meetings about our State’s flat student achievement scores for many years. Further we have not asked the follow up questions about the steps that our schools are taking to address this serious issue, at least not in public. The scores are embarrassing- but worse is our School Board’s tendency to not ask the tough questions of our Administration and demand action with our answers. We need to build up our schools by building trust in them- not being afraid of the tough issues- we can face them head on.
How do you think the district can improve teacher retention?
Respect- from our School Board, in ensuring that AS MUCH of our budget that can go to classroom instruction and teacher/staff pay is squeezed from our budget as possible. Respect from our other Government officials (Kansas has gotten a bad reputation for making teachers scapegoats) our School Board must work closely with our leaders to answer questions and communicate clearly so they know where the true issues are. Respect from our Administration by allowing successful teachers latitude to be the professionals they are and the meaningful professional development and coaching so that more teachers can grow into successful teachers. Respect from our Community- our parents and families that interact with teachers must be held to a standard of behavior that shows an attitude of respect for the professionals who have committed to teaching their students. Respect between teachers and students- modelling correct expectations of respectful behavior is the first step to teaching students who lack these skills, and as a District we have to have the expectation that the interactions in our classrooms will be ones of respect.
What do you think is the largest obstacle to student success/graduation and how do you plan to address it?
I am wary of equating graduation with success, because we unfortunately have graduated far too many students who do not have the academic skills to achieve success in a post High School world. However our largest obstacle to student success is our lack of student centered education practices from the earliest grades. 10-20% of our readers have difficulty with reading that can be easily corrected with proven teaching techniques. Our District and College/University programs have been slow to ensure that every K-3 teacher is equipped with the training needed to successfully teach every student to read. Similarly with math- we must do more than deliver a curriculum in our District- our teachers must be equipped with the skills to teach numeracy regardless of the curriculum that provides the daily processes. Further some of our students are in need of support (behavioral, medical, nutritional, counseling) to recover from trauma in their lives so that they can successfully access a great education. Understanding each student’s needs, planning for how to meet those needs and working closely with the families so they are met will lead to much higher rates of success.