© Craig John Photography 2020
Our Vision for OCFSD
Strong public schools are essential, and I believe it takes the commitment of the entire community for public education to be at its best. I am running for re-election to the Oak Creek Franklin School District Board of Directors to ensure Oak Creek provides our children an excellent public education where learning is consequential, with arts, equity, and robust opportunities to learn about citizenship.
In Oak Creek, we are so lucky to have a growing community. We have great schools – teachers, curriculum, and activities. It is our job to protect our valuable community asset. I am committed to this community and have a significant personal stake in the district’s success. I am also committed to ensuring we are using our resources carefully and stretching every dollar so all of the people in the district feel great about the investments they make in our schools.
I ask for your support.
Every issue is a complex one, and every problem deserves critical analysis on behalf of the many unique stakeholders affected. Ensuring a plan is one that emphasizes stability and sustainability is vital to a healthy school environment. Financial stability of the district is key, as is the sustainability of programs, curriculum, and staffing. My goal is to ensure that decisions are made carefully to assure our school community that we can follow through on our promises, and ensure a strong future.
OCHS strives to ensure all graduating students are college and career ready. With growing concerns about the rising cost of higher education, there is notable desire in the community to foster strong relationships between OCHS, MATC, and local businesses, and I have and will continue to support this whole-heartedly. We have developed fantastic partnership opportunities that strengthen our community, and we will continue to be creative and forward thinking in this area, because we know that public education is the path to a strong local economy.
Great Schools for All Our Kids
“Equity is achieved when all students receive the resources they need so they graduate prepared for success after high school.” – Center for Public Education
All kids deserve a healthy, comfortable learning environment, with shared access to teachers, resources, and facilities that promote success. In my first term, OCFSD has made great strides in school equity, but there is much more work to be done. As a citizen focused on a bright future for Oak Creek, I will continue to prioritize bringing equity of all kinds to our classrooms and programs.
During my first term, I helped our district ensure that no matter what part of our district you live in, and no matter what school you call home, our children have access to equally excellent facilities, including spaces to learn, play, and perform. Importantly, we were also able to greatly improve access to our buildings, meeting or exceeding our facilities’ compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.
I also completed a 2-year term as the inaugural board representative for the Special Education Parents Advisory Council, providing advocacy and support, and helping to bridge communications between parents, teachers, and administrators.
Advocating for adequate funding for Special Education programming has been one of my priorities since being elected. I have gone to Madison to talk to legislators, testified at budget hearings across the region, and taken steps to better educate our own community on the positive impacts on all of our students when special educations programs are supported.
Currently, I am active with Parents Advocating for Equity in Schools (PAES), a Oak Creek Franklin parent led group that strives to ensure our schools provide a permanent culture of equity and inclusion.
Since my election, I have been an engaged board member, doing work that requires strong communication and leadership. I was immediately unanimously elected by the board as Board Treasurer, and have been re-elected to that position every year. In the role, I provide the community with important oversight and informational presentations on the state of district finances. In addition to my Treasurer role, and engagement with the special education and equity advocacy groups (outlined in another section), I am also an active member of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, having been very recently recognized by WASB for my dedication to my professional development as a board member, and the resulting community service.
For the last 2 years, I have been the OCFSD Board Representative to the Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance, a group of superintendents, business officers, and board members, dedicated to legislative engagement on behalf of our regional public schools. It is a role I am passionate about, and enjoy, allowing me to build relationships with other district leaders, and gain invaluable knowledge about the strategies and challenges across our regional public schools.
In January 2020, I was invited by some of our student leaders, the members of the Wisconsin Association of Student Councils to be their keynote speaker for the WASC Leadership Camp Reunion. It was a great opportunity to speak about leadership, connection and how to find and use your voice for good. Following that presentation, WASC invited me to co-present at the 2020 WASB State Education Convention with their students, to help other board members from across Wisconsin learn about WASC and the value of student leaders in decision making.
During my first campaign, I said I would support building a stronger partnership with MATC and other pre-college programs that might help our student access to career training, and we delivered. There are many options for our HS students to get that important early start. Dual enrollment with MATC and a Cooperative Academic Partnership Program with UW Oshkosh are just two examples of great career building opportunities.
I am very proud of our recent focus on expanding Tech Ed and Career and Technical Education classrooms and labs, including adding a high-bay auto shop addition, and upgraded culinary education, metals, woods, and manufacturing spaces.
I am dedicated to growing our student career readiness, and am proud to have voted to ensure One-to-One digital device access, so every student has the tools they need to engage in 21st century learning. We have also made exciting course and curriculum updates at the high school, to foster renewed excitement around advancing skills in information technology.
One of the most important votes I have taken in my time on the board thus far was the vote to hire additional Elementary School Counselors, as additional mental health and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) support for our students. We did not have enough for the size of our district, and the wholistic health and development of our kids deserves to be prioritized.
In addition to these mental health investments, I have also helped our district bring more attention to student physical health, through a focus on improved health room facilities in out buildings, drastically improved spaces for physical education at the elementary level, and improved athletic facilities across the middle and high schools.
During my time on the board, we have also taken actions to ensure safety of our students and staff. For example, our facilities have improved safety through the reconstruction of building entrances for higher security and safer traffic flows through parking and student pickup areas. We have also taken a decidedly cautious approach to COVID. We created OC Virtual, an entire virtual school, supporting the extended remote learning of over 1500 students, and we followed the guidance of DHS (aligned with the CDC), and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Health Directors to determine our timing on return. Taking this conservative approach gave students, families and staff a safe way to learn and teach during the local spike in community infections.