What qualities, experiences, and beliefs make you a good candidate for school board?
I have 20-plus years professional experience as a teacher and administrator. I’ve designed courses and curriculum. I’ve handled budgets and designed programs. I’m comfortable and confident in working with administrators and developing communication strategies. That’s what I do every day as the Director of the Writing and Humanities Program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and that what I will do every day as a member of the ICCSD board.
Here are some of the positions I’ve held in our community:
- PTO president at Mark Twain Elementary 2010-11.
- Volunteer (communication strategy) with the grassroots organization that helped create awareness and support for the passage of the RPS in 2012/13
- Committee member-design for the new Alexander Elementary.
- Magnet School Task Force formed by the ICCSD in 2014 that will report on creating magnet programming in our district.
Why am I running?
This is a critical time for our community. We have an incredible opportunity to improve our schools and many of the resources needed to do so, but the hard work is only just beginning. We face new challenges: budget cuts at the state level, an ambitious building schedule for the expansion and improvement of our facilities, and most importantly, we face inequities in our schools that have gone unchecked for too long.
We need to seat a board that will face these challenges and stop the pattern of deferring to another time. The time to act is now. We must develop an advocacy network to challenge Des Moines and demand adequate funding each year. We need leaders who will work to unify our district under our shared goals: providing the best education and facilities for all our children.
Who am I?
Education saved my life. I was an adopted kid whose parents divorced, my mom struggled to make ends meet and my dad didn’t pay child support. I received free and reduced price lunch. Teachers gave me a ride home from extracurricular activities when my mom couldn’t get away from work. I was musically gifted from a very young age, interested in reading and writing, terrible at math, and socially awkward.
Fantastic teachers came into my life at just the right moments, helping me stay afloat. At every turn, at a time when I could have fallen through the cracks a teacher always grabbed me and helped me back up. My education provided me with a foundation that has helped my through the ups and downs of my life.
Now I’m a father. I’m a writer and a teacher myself. I have a daughter in the fifth grade attending Mark Twain Elementary and a son in seventh grade at Southeast Jr. High.
I am fully invested in the idea that every child deserves the opportunity for education to save his or her life, as it did mine. Every child must have the same opportunities to access programming, in buildings conducive to the best possible learning environment. Education is the greatest gift we can give our children. Education is our community’s legacy. In this world where so much is uncertain, education is the constant light.