1) Tell us a bit about yourself and why you're qualified for this position.
My husband and I have lived in Antioch for 25 years and we have six children, all of whom attend or have graduated from Antioch public schools. I have a plethora of volunteer work and other experiences that I will use to draw from while I am on the board. I have been involved everywhere from being a Junior Achievement teacher, EMT, and PTA president to being a Boy Scouts leader, on the Crossing Guard, Budget Advisory, and Emergency Preparedness committees.
2) What is the number-one issue or challenge facing the Antioch Unified School District and what needs to be done about it?
The number-one issue is academic performance. Preparing a viable workforce and creating a college-bound culture is a challenge facing Antioch students that needs to be continually addressed. This year, for the first time in Antioch history, all 10th-grade students will take the PSAT. This will create an awareness of college and entrance requirements. I have personally helped direct the opening of three specialized schools that will help improve academic performance. We need to be more aggressive about identifying students who should be in Advanced Placement classes. College financing information and AP test funding need to be more easily accessible.
3) What is the second most important issue or challenge?
The safety of our students is another extremely important issue. Safety needs to be addressed at all levels, whether it is the closing of a campus to keep students safe at lunch or helping students cross dangerous streets. Parents send their children, their most precious gifts, to our schools for an education and they rightfully expect them to return home safely from school. I am a firm advocate of zero-tolerance policies.
4) Why are nearly one-third of students dropping out, and what can be done about it?
When students can't compete, they become embarrassed and act out, causing discipline issues. They're removed from class, missing instruction, eventually getting so behind they end up dropping out. Summer school delivery: 1) Students who are behind can learn the missed fundamentals, not just repeat failed classes. 2) Students looking for challenge can take enrichment courses. Each site should have a dropout committee to recommend a comprehensive, site-specific plan for intervention, including the study and evaluation of data, early identification of at-risk students, and ways to reach out to families and enlist their help in graduation.
5) Why do students, particularly minority students, perform so poorly on statewide tests, and what can be done about it?
I think minority students have not received the core foundation they need to build on and achieve success. Interventions must start earlier, with a particular focus on the transition years, grades five and eight. If we can reach students and teach them the skills and knowledge they have missed, we can help them attain their educational goals. Early articulation between elementary school and middle school before high school will help catch students before they fall behind in credits. We need to establish a set of credit standards by grade level to insure all students are prepared to move on to the next level.
6) What is your reaction to the teachers' no-confidence vote against Supt. Sims and what can be done to restore their confidence in district leadership?
I take this action very seriously and will continue to evaluate it. I believe the teachers voted this way because they are frustrated and they have every right to be. With the economy as it is, cuts are being made across the state, and people in most job areas are feeling them. This action is more about the teachers' frustration regarding the contract negotiations. I think the teachers' confidence will continue to be restored as the district improves its communication and the state budget becomes healthier.
7) Why should voters vote for you?
I'm a dedicated, tireless worker. I spend hours each week reading my board packet and meeting with staff members to make sure I am current on all situations. I study the issues that come to the board, ask appropriate questions of staff, and try to aid the flow of the meetings. I have championed the opening of specialized schools like Dozier-Libby Medical Magnet and Delta Academy for the Performing Arts high schools as well as the district's first K-8 school. These schools give parents and students more choice in their educational goals. Rigor, Relevance and Relationships equal Results for students in today's changing world.