For the last several weeks, I have seen several letters to the editor in local publications from community members weighing in on the upcoming school board election. Some of these letters accurately state my qualifications and positions on issues and others do not. I would like to take this opportunity to share my qualifications for the school board position and clarify a few things.
I’m running for Paso Robles School Board because I believe in the promise of a public education as an integral part of our society and our democracy. Our collective investment in our public-school students now will determine the future of our town, region, state, and country. I am not in this race to accomplish a political agenda. I do not represent any political party, nor am I bought and paid for by the teacher’s union, as I have been accused. My main goal in becoming a member of the school board is to make sure our children can succeed and live up to their highest potential.
As a member of the school board, my goal is to improve the quality of education offered in our local schools. Our reading and math scores are below state standards. Our students should be reading at grade level by the third grade and I suggest we focus on early literacy programs in order to achieve this. For math, we need more resources and smaller class sizes. When children work through 5th and 6th grade math, we need to provide tutors and math labs to support students who are struggling. This will help them be ready for algebra by the 8th grade.
We must ensure our schools provide a safe environment for our students and ensure students are safe from bullying, gangs, drugs, vaping, and intimidation. Students can’t be expected to grow and develop when they are in fight-or-flight mode. We can only expect our students to succeed academically if we provide a safe, supportive, place to learn.
As a fiscal conservative and a taxpayer, I will ensure our resources are protected and our tax dollars are spent wisely, and I commit to fiscal stability and accountability.
I have enjoyed meeting so many new people while campaigning in this election. I have had many meets and greets, one forum, radio and newspaper interviews and I have canvassed neighborhoods with some of my supporters. I have learned so much from visiting with you about our schools. I wish I had the opportunity to meet more of you.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there have been some misstatements about me. My positions should not be misconstrued, they are very straightforward. In addition to my priorities, there are several clarifications I want to make about my experience for this role.
First, I believe strongly in the rights of parents and I encourage their engagement in our schools. I know their voices must be heard – that was my experience as a parent of two Paso Robles public school students and it still stands today. My son went to Virginia Peterson, Pat Butler, and Daniel Lewis; my daughter went to Paso Robles High School – a proud Bearcat. When the high school chose to go to a trimester schedule, we made the decision to move our son to Mission College Prep. I was vocally critical of the decision made by the school board and spoke at board meetings opposing the schedule change. I have, and always will, support families making choices for their children.
Second, there has been an ad running on the radio where a woman is heard shouting negatively about Marines. It is not my voice, and I would never say such a thing because I have the utmost respect for those who serve in our nation’s military. Several members of my family have served and one (a Marine officer) gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Third, a great deal has been written about special interest groups in this election. I agreed to be interviewed by the Paso Robles Public Educators (PRPE). I answered their questionnaire, and they endorsed my candidacy. I received $3800 from PRPE and $750 from the California Teachers Association. I also reported that there was a mailer sent out to all voters endorsing me by the California Federation of Teachers that cost $13,437.55. My campaign did not send out the mailer. I reported it as an in-kind donation as required by law. The PRPE is made up of teachers who have taught my children and yours, who are our neighbors, who help coach our children’s athletic teams, who lead our children in musical and theater productions, who help our agricultural students raise animals for the fair. They are not the enemy. Helping our students in their pursuit of excellence naturally includes a productive partnership with teachers. I am proud that they endorsed my candidacy and trust that I will put students’ needs first, always.
I have lived in Paso Robles for over 20 years and am dedicated to the community. My husband and I have loved raising our children here and have invested our time, talents and skills into making a difference. As a volunteer in Paso Pre K-12 schools and on local district initiatives such as the Superintendent’s Parent Council, School Site Councils, PTA’s and Measure H & T, I have loved being active and engaged in our schools. Even in my retirement, I volunteer twice a week for 5-7 hours each Tuesday and Thursday in the Paso Robles High School College and Career Center and read to children in elementary schools.
In my professional life, I have been working in partnership with children and families from infancy to college age for the last 45 years. Earlier in my career I was a neonatal intensive care nurse and after moving to Paso Robles, I spent the next 20 years working in education. I started out in early childhood programs and spent almost five years kickstarting the First 5 California program for San Luis Obispo County. That program has expanded and today, the early literacy program, “Raising a Reader,” is helping children and parents come together to read in over 40 sites throughout the county.
I had the opportunity to join The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County and spent over a decade managing the Scholarship Program matching students with scholarships so they could continue their education after high school either to go to college or to receive a technical degree. I worked with students, parents, high school counselors and teachers to facilitate the process. The best part for me was being with the kids and that is why I am on campus every week working with students. I work directly with students to help them find scholarships, apply for financial aid packages, and seek out vocational opportunities.
With decades of experience working with parents, students and schools, I know it is critically important for the person in this role to be someone who families can trust to do what’s right for their children. I am not seeking this position to carry out a divisive political agenda. I am an independent thinker and I like to hear all sides of an issue, do my research, and work for the best solution for our student’s educational needs.
Regardless of if you have students in the Paso Robles Joint Union School District, it is imperative that you exercise your right to vote in this election. The future of our public schools is at stake and I promise to do everything within my power to improve the academic performance of our local students while ensuring their safety and the financial stability of our district. I have the experience, drive, and leadership skills necessary to get it done. While I am disappointed that this campaign has gotten so contentious, I know that ultimately if I am elected to the school board, I will do my best and use all of my talents and experience to serve all students of Paso Robles. I humbly ask for your vote.
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors
and social media comments published do not necessarily reflect the
opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of The Atascadero News, The Paso
Robles Press or any of our affiliates. The authors opinions are based
upon information they consider reliable, but neither The Atascadero
News or The Paso Robles Press nor its affiliates, nor the companies
with which such participants are affiliated, warrant its completeness
or accuracy, and it should be relied upon as such.