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Original questions in black. Responses in blue.

 

Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is
there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?


From my professional background, I know that higher education in the United States is
rapidly developing new models of learning. We need to prepare every student to achieve
success after graduation, however they define it, which means we need to incorporate these
new higher education pathways into our K-12 curricula. In order to do so, we must address the
systemic inequities present in our district and empower all students and families to get involved.
I’m running for the school board because it has the unique ability to address these issues in a
transparent, effective manner.


How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?


As far as I can tell, they’re doing a fair job with regards to the mechanics of
administration, but they could stand to be much more transparent about these mechanics, and
especially be more communicative with the community about the process of dealing with the
pandemic. I think the lack of communication is a determining factor with regards to the
pandemic, because when people in the community feel like their voices are not being heard,
they rightfully feel resentful and not represented by their elected officials. I respect that the
board has a difficult task in these times, but that does not forgive some of the opaqueness.


How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if
unpopular, give a voice to constituents - even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to
state authorities?


A board member needs to provide leadership through engagement with the community,
backed up by science - the concepts are inseparable. Transparency requires that you make
your process clear, regardless of its popularity. An elected official should not hide behind false
barriers when they know they’re going to get pushback. I will endeavor to make decisions that
reflect the will of the community, and in the event that these decisions are unpopular, I commit
to being open to feedback and dialogue.


Did your district continue to adequately serve students during the disruptions caused by
the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue
providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done
better.


Yes and no. In the short-term, the district was able to move to remote learning quickly
and get most students engaged to start. There are some issues, though, and I particularly think
of mental health issues and accommodations for special needs students. These issues were not
given as much thought and attention as they deserved. The district has since attempted some
adaptations, but in the grand scheme of ensuring equitable access to education, it fell short of
what I think it should have delivered. For example, for special needs students like my son,
they’re supposed to have regular appointments with their therapists and other professionals, but

it was incredibly unclear about how to maintain those appointments when the schooling went
online. This lack of communication caused a great deal of unneeded stress for families, and
more importantly meant that these students lost out on critical help.


Do you have a plan on how to safely and effectively conduct classes in the spring? What
have you learned from the fall semester that you would change in the spring?


I want to get our students back in school as soon as possible per scientific experts’
recommendations. In order to keep our numbers where they are, we need to take a few steps.
This includes vaccinations of teachers, the distribution of masks and other equipment as
necessary, and the firm assurance of other school policies such as ventilation and social
distancing. These are prerequisites, otherwise our numbers will climb and we'd be forced to
reverse. I believe our community can do it, and I promise to fight for each family as I fight for my
own.
With regards to lessons from the fall, I think we need to prioritize in-school time as much as
possible. Ideally, that’s 5 days a week, but it may require a ramp-up period as schools get
accustomed to the necessary prerequisites for in-person learning. So, we shouldn’t shy away
from a hybrid model as a transitional phase, but we need to keep in mind that it’s a transition to
normalcy.


What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic?
Be specific.


Most importantly, we should follow scientific guidelines, and within what is safe, we
should prioritize the student experience. We should distinguish between risks of different sports,
for instance wrestling versus soccer. The former is an indoor sport requiring lots of close
physical contact both in training and competition. That’s more risky. The latter is outdoors and
requires relatively little physical contact. Perhaps more important is what the students do for the
other hours of the day, and that has a lot to do with the standards we set in classrooms and at
schools as a whole. A soccer game would still be unsafe if none of the players are wearing
masks during the rest of the day and aren’t observing social distancing guidelines when hanging
out with their friends.