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Spartan Considerations

1) Thought experiment. Much is made of the Board of Education acting as a collaborative body, but it is one comprised of unique individuals with different backgrounds, perspectives, and talents.  With that in mind…

What if you can replace, immediately, all of the other board members with clones of yourself.  Assuming you can work collaboratively with your other selves, what specifically would you want to accomplish in the next two years? In the next four?

The concept of seven people who think exactly like me is scary! I believe that many voices are important for good decision making. That said, clearly this question is about my priorities. In the first year, my priority is to restore public trust in our school system by engaging our staff and community to better inform us as we make decisions.  Over four years, I’d like to increase access to early childhood education so that students the can take their best first step, to expand elementary world language so that all students can graduate proficient in a second language, and provide experiential learning opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills in real world situations.

 

2a) If you are an incumbent:  Why should we trust you with another four year term?

Every decision I make is based on considering data, visiting schools, talking with parents and community members, and personal experience gathered as a parent and community advocate in North Laurel. I believe that as a board member I have been thorough, fair, informed, engaged, attentive, and available.  That is what I’ve been doing since day one and what I will continue to do.

 

3) What is the single biggest dysfunction impacting the Board and how can it be resolved over the course of the next four years?

I don’t think the board is dysfunctional, we have differences of opinion. Anyone observing the workings of the board recognizes our strong passions. After spirited discussion, a majority (not always the same) comes together to make a decision. This is not dysfunction, this is how decision making works. A functional board is not necessarily one with unanimous votes every time. I want to ensure all voices are heard and considered so that all constituents are heard as well.

 

4) The HCPSS lists , among a set of “guiding principles,” the following:

“Fostering a culture of collaboration, trust, and shared responsibility” (source:http://www.hcpss.org/about-us/)

Thinking about the past four years, Please provide one example of how the Board advanced that principle and one example of how the Board acted in a manner that ran counter to that principle.  Please elaborate on both examples.

As a result of finding mold at Glenwood Middle over the summer, by mid-September the board and superintendent established the Indoor Environmental Quality(IEQ) Advisory Committee, including parents, community members, HCPSS staff, and industry experts. Their charge was to make recommendations for how to describe and monitor indoor environmental quality not only at Glenwood but at all our schools.  The IEQ report was delivered to the Board on February 25th. All of the board members commented on the quality of the report and the inclusive nature of the plan, stating that they are looking forward to the implementation of the recommendations this spring.

Unfortunately, over the past year, several requests for information have not been handled well. This has shaken the public’s trust in us and has shown that we are not as collaborative as we need to be. I recognize that we must improve our processes for fulfilling public  information requests so that the responses people get answer their questions fully and promptly.