Candidate for Hillsborough County School Board District 7

STUDENTS AT THE CENTER

Making significant progress in improving student learning and closing opportunity gaps is not only a professional duty, but a moral responsibility. Putting students at the center of every decision made by the school board will not only fulfill our professional duty, it will live up to our moral responsibility to ensure the success of the next generation. Educational standards will come and go, but one moral imperative is abiding—the deep responsibility for the learning of EVERY CHILD. It is not children’s poverty or race or ethnic background that stands in the way of achievement; it is school practices and policies, and the beliefs that underlie those practices and policies, that create the biggest obstacles. As a school board member, I will pledge to always put students at the center of my efforts.  READ MORE

INVEST IN OUR PEOPLE FIRST

I have been an educator for over 20 years—inside schools, at district and state levels, in Hillsborough County and districts in six other states. My experiences have been vast and varied, but I’ve found one constant regardless of role or place: every educational system is made up of people, and if we take care of them, they will take care of our students. Hillsborough County Public Schools has over 25,000 employees. How they see themselves, how room is made for all of their voices, whether they see representation at all levels, and how their lived experiences are valued within our learning community all contribute to the success and vibrancy of Hillsborough County Public Schools. Investing in teachers, staff, and employees monetarily, professionally, and supportively, will yield unlimited returns to our children’s learning. As a school board member, I will fight for increased investment in the people of this district, so they can provide the best education for our students each and every day.  READ MORE

LITERACY AS THE FOUNDATION

Literacy is the backbone of an effective curriculum. Reading, writing, thinking, and talking throughout the school day are the keys to positive reading habits, increased content knowledge, and sharpened thinking skills. Critical elements needed to ensure literacy is the foundation of our schools include providing access to high quality books—by ensuring every classroom has a robust library where students can see themselves, have their thinking (and biases) about others challenged, and be introduced to people, worlds, and cultures they know little about. “When students cannot find themselves accurately reflected in the spaces we create inside a school’s walls, they receive powerful messages about their visibility and value in the world outside the school’s walls” (Everett, 2018, p.23). Also necessary is supporting teachers and schools in designing culturally relevant curriculum and lessons with time to read, write, think, and talk throughout the school day. And, finally, partnering with families and caregivers to learn about each child’s interests, strengths, and talents to assist in choosing books that kids can, and want to, read. I firmly believe that “reading changes everything,” and as a school board member, I will act to establish literacy as the foundation of our public schools.  READ MORE