Morgan Hill Times October 24, 2014
1. Biography and professional/personal background:
Informed by my experiences as a Registered Nurse, mother of two school-aged children, former English Learner, elected Trustee of four years in Morgan Hill Unified School District and aided by my bilingualism and bi-literacy, I will bring to the County Board a multi-layered perspective and commitment to thoughtfully and responsibly serve. I will also bring the concerns of those that call for responsible stewardship of our tax dollars and more faithful adherence to County’s duty to support districts as an imperative that will inform my decisions as a County Trustee.
I have been endorsed by teachers, the Democratic Party, County employee groups, Morgan Hill’s Major Steve Tate, Morgan Hill City Councilman Rich Constantine, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, a long list of serving school board Trustees and leaders from the non-profit and business community. (I was previously honored by the State Assembly for my work with at-risk and socio-economically disadvantaged youth).
2. Why are you running for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education?
Our community serves an increasingly diverse student population with a myriad of needs that our educational system must address with curriculum, programs and policies that consider community context, budgetary constraints, and resources. Those charged with supporting the mission of preparing our diverse student population to contribute fully to our economy, society and culture must be qualified and ready to be responsive to all stake-holders. I am running because I have a vested interest in helping create an educational climate that delivers an excellent education to all its students.
3. What do you think are the biggest issues in this race?
The achievement gap, implementation of Common Core, adherence to Local Control Accountability Plans, fiscal oversight and the often heated debate over the role of charter schools in our educational community are key issues in this campaign.
I believe supporting investment in evidence-based professional development of educators with a commitment to more systematically reach out to the parent community will greatly advance the goal of uniting around the goal of closing the achievement gap.
Thoughtful review of practices employed in approving financial expenditures will also serve to diminish the likelihood that issues such as the Foster Care database occurrence will happen again or the approval of contracts for superintendents which alarm our community.
4. What is your position on charter schools?
Charter schools with truly innovative programs that will provide quality educational opportunities for any and all students would be a welcome addition to programs already offered in public schools.
If the county board receives a petition on appeal, they should look carefully at the local decision. As a local school board member, I know that our district staff feels a responsibility to students and parents. In addition, the local board understands the community, beyond those who come to speak at a county board meeting.
I would consider the recommendations of staff and the rationale behind a local decision, but my decision would be made on whether or not we are adding a choice that is not only educationally sound but that makes the whole educational system better for all students.
5. Do you think state standardized testing trends adequately represent the success of schools?
Standardized tests are one indicator that can inform educators and community about the success of a school. After years of active engagement at the school site and years serving as a school board member, I can confidently point to other indicators of a successful school such as graduation rates, positive, safe and nurturing school climate, a rich and diverse curriculum that encourages creativity and curiosity in the minds of students, completion of A-G requirements, and access to educational options such as dual-immersion, STEM and STEAM academies to name a few. I would also add that an important indicator of a successful school lies in the positive and inclusive practices that foster strong and positive teacher-parent relationships.