Seattle Public School Board Candidate
As a proud Bernie Sanders Democrat, I am running this campaign as an Independent
In a democracy, we have civil discourse and create intriguing and dynamic debate to make decisions and move forward in a reasonable manner. I have a multitude of ideas and these will be many different conversations that I expect to have with the school board to speak and come to reasonable consensus on how to act to best protect and provide opportunity to Seattle students. Without dynamic dialogue, we will not move forward. I understand that the struggles for much of my platform will me a long and difficult road, but if we don't begin fighting for true student equity we will never achieve it.
Thank you for your support.
How do we decolonize Seattle Schools?
The U.S. Office of Education was established in 1867 with minimal changes over the next century until President Jimmy Carter established the U.S. Department of Education. Our education system is founded in colonial roots of Elizabethan British Imperialism, where the children of settlers across the British Empire were taught how to clearly write (cursive) English and perform basic arithmetic. Amazingly, these concepts (along with an extended summertime break so the children could help out on the farms) still permeate our 21st century education system. In a world with extremely powerful computing technology, we waste invaluable time training children how to write cursive for at least a full year in elementary school (when was the last time you intentionally wrote in cursive? When was the last time you had to read a handwritten document in cursive?) and memorizing basic multiplication equations because 'we've always done it this way.' If you agree with me, that it is time to seriously restructure our education system to make the lessons more valuable to the long term success of 21st century students, then please join me and vote for me. I am the only candidate who is taking the decolonization of our education system seriously.
8/8/17 -- Thank you all for your support! Unfortunately, I did not make it through the primary to the general election in November.
7/24/17 -- Regarding my decision to not respond to The Seattle Times candidate reporter was based on the Seattle Times endorsement panel's apparent dismissal of candidates without children, which is narrow minded thought process I don't believe the majority of Seattle voters subscribe to. Again, thank you all for your continued support!
7/24/17 -- Thank you to all my supporters for talking to your friends, family, and fellow voters about my campaign. Ballots are due for the primary on August 1. Please vote at your earliest convenience and drop off your ballots at a sanctioned ballot box or put a stamp on it and mail it in.
I am delighted by the recent platform addition of Mayoral Candidate Nikkita Oliver and her support of providing ORCA cards to Seattle students, an idea that is a part of my platform, to instill the mindset of public transportation into our upcoming generations as well to look at ways to reduce our bloated school district transportation budget. Candidate Oliver is also the only mayoral candidate that specifically highlights education in her platform, including early childhood education, opposing mayoral control of schools, and restorative justice to reduce the school-to-prison pipeline that clearly and negatively impacts students of color in our school district. It is not a far-fetched idea to imagine a city that works for all its children and not just the students in advanced school programs.
Our School Board is run by members of the community precisely because we do not want out-of-touch bureaucrats running our school system. I am a W2 wage earner and understand the plights of working 40+ hours a week to make ends meet. If this describes you as a voter, or if you're concerned about your children entering a world where their education system is not setting them up for success and you're anxious about exorbitant college tuition prices, I am the right choice for you to vote for School Board Pos. 4.
Electing more people that seem highly qualified on paper will continue perpetuating the status quo mediocrity. Year after year these are the types of candidates our city elects, and we continue to struggle with confronting our school district's serious inequities because the type of person that runs for school board (or receives a phone call from a Democratic representative telling them to run) typically is someone whose children are having success in the school district. As a childless candidate, I will advocate on behalf of all students without the bias of having children deemed successful in the status quo system.
7/3/17 -- Ballots drop soon, please note that in my race I am the only serious candidate that has a thorough experience as a working class wage earner. Several of the other well intentioned candidates come from backgrounds that allowed them to volunteer or advocate for public policy full time because they did not need to earn an income to support their lifestyles. If we are going to instill our culture and values into the Seattle Public Schools, we must honor our city's working class legacy and not elect candidates that have a passion for advocacy but no real life understanding of what it means to wake up early and go to work every day. Please review other candidate's work history thoroughly before considering your vote. Also, we desperately need a school board that governs responsibly and we do NOT need individual school board members that are going to be advocating for a small set of issues or issues that are most important to them and their families (running for school board because your children have to go to school in Magnolia rather than Queen Anne is, in my view, an inappropriate use of time and will ultimately prove ineffective on the school board). Many of the candidates in my race are satisfied with the status quo because their white children are esteemed benefactors of our racist and segregated public school system. I humbly submit to the voters to consider me--a candidate without children to influence my decisions on the school board, a candidate that has a history of earning a wage to support myself, a candidate who understands the limitations of what the school board can do but isn't afraid to toe the line to move our public policies forward (particularly in the mindset of decolonizing our school system), and a candidate who decided to run for the betterment of all of our city's school children. The other major candidate in this election was hand picked by the Democratic establishment to run, phoned up in the middle of the day (because if you don't work full time, you can take day time phone calls) and invited to run to continue pushing the status quo failures of our school system despite whatever statements that candidate makes to the contrary. While I appreciate our Democratic state representatives, I do not believe they should be calling up their friends and urging them to run so they can maintain a centralized control of Democratic power in our school system, our city, and our state. If you want a truly non-establishment candidate who will ask tough questions and will not shy away from answering difficult questions, please, vote for Sean Champagne.
6/22/17 -- As a parent of children in Seattle Public Schools, Charleena Lyles was an important member of our community. I want to acknowledge the tragedy that took place in her apartment in Magnuson Park. While we do not have all the information, I am inclined to believe the police officers insufficiently prepared to interact with an individual they were aware of and knew had mental issues. What we do know is the system failed Charleena Lyles. I stand in solidarity with her children, students in the Seattle School District, her family, and her greater community. Please consider my platform for opening school and public libraries as overnight shelters for homeless and housing unstable students in Seattle Public Schools because with the death of their mother, we must acknowledge there is a possibility that her children may be housing unstable. They should have the opportunity to stay overnight at their school libraries to have a warm, safe, and dry place to stay and study. As we approach the summer season, this is another great reason to support a year-round school system so once we have library shelters established they can be used year-round by students. Tragedies like the shooting of Charleena Lyles do not just happen during the school year and making our school system more flexible and year-round will help students maintain structure when they may most need it. Thank you--solidarity with her surviving family.
6/21/17 -- As a grassroots Independent candidate running for school board, I am not raising any funds in this race. Thank you for all of those who asked how you can donate to my campaign. Seattle School Board is free to file to run in King County Elections and I am not obligated to raise funds for my campaign. Several candidates for this non-partisan position are raising funds and I encourage the voters to do their due diligence and verify that your candidate is not receiving corporate funds or campaign donations. I am proud of the campaign I am running, I seek a seat at the table to move the conversations on the achievement gap, racial inequity, and critical school funding into a more aggressive position to stop doing studies and actually take action on these important topics and so much more. I will be most proud of this accomplishment without raising any campaign funds. Please, I ask you all to tell your friends, family, and fellow voters to support my bid for Seattle School Board.
5/24/17 -- I applaud Washington State Superintendent Reykdal's "to-do" list that includes updating our state curriculum to include a second language in addition to English for all students K-8. I believe this is a great first step toward a deeper understanding of language and culture for our students, and I will fight for updating our language curriculum in Seattle to make sure as this magnificent program comes online we will be prepared for students entering high school that have nine years of second language under their belts--it will require a far more robust and fluent secondary language program for all students in Seattle schools. Other positive remarks on his "to-do" list include his support of no longer requiring students to pass a state test to obtain their diplomas, getting more students in high school to earn college credit in high school, and increasing the focus on counselors for 8th graders to really begin the long process of what they want to do with their lives so 8th graders can enter high school with a semblance of a vision and path. We do a poor job of utilizing counselors now because they're underfunded and overworked, which is sadly a common story in our school system. I look forward to hearing more about his plans to fully fund public education in our state.
I am a Pacific Northwestern personal banker in Seattle, Washington. I love running, kayaking, and listening to KUOW among many other activities. I am married with dachshunds Hansel and Wimbledon. In light of recent events with the election of President Trump and the values of his administration, notably Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, it is paramount that ordinary people step up for public office and agree to be a part of the change. My mother's family is from Vermont, and my father's family is from Mississippi & Louisiana, and my parents worked in nuclear and as a kid I moved to Tri-Cities, Washington. I was raised in Richland, Washington at the bend of the Columbia River in Eastern Washington. I have been a resident of Seattle since 2010.
I work at Inspirus Credit Union, the former School Employees Credit Union of Washington, and work every day with educators, school employees, and their families in order to find ways to help them save money in their personal lives. My passion for education and my sincere interest in advocating for Seattle students encouraged me to run for school board. In addition, having an employer that is a not-for-profit financial institution that cares as deeply about education as I do is a huge advocate for me in this endeavor.
Why I'm Running
I am elected member of the Queen Anne Community Council and I sit on the Parks Committee for Queen Anne and we have a member who constantly has back and forth with a Queen Anne elementary school and their school buses impact on the neighborhood. Buses are dirty pollutants, despite school contracts saying the buses will be propane (they are not) and the school bus drivers systematically keep them running causing noise and environmental pollution in the neighborhood. Additionally, the biggest issue was the number of buses--8 for roughly 60 kids riding the bus every day. The school stated because approximately 250 students parents signed up for bus services they must always have an abundance of buses available. In a time where we lack general funds for teachers, counselors, and supplies, I do not believe it is appropriate to be such a wastrel approach with our bus services. In order to ensure Seattle Public Schools is meeting its promise to provide equal treatment to all students, I still think it's important to have bus transportation services but also to look into auditing bus records halfway through the year to see if parents have changed their minds by sending out verification forms to all student riders parents and adjusting the number of buses available based on the updated number of riders so the school district can effectively save money in the short term. Eventually, in the long term I would hope to find more efficient forms of transportation for the students like increasing access to ORCA cards from existing programs sponsored by the city.
It's important that the city elects school board members that reflect our culture and values, and in our changing city I think it's important to understand the well-intentioned parents that run for school board often times are weighed down by the requirements of parenting and the bias of seeing the school district through the lens of their own children that can actually misguide the direction of the school district. Anyone who runs for school board has a passion for education and obviously wants to do the right thing and make a positive impact, but it will take initiative and an unwavering determination to more aggressively demand more from our state and federal legislators. It's important to find ways to cut overly bureaucratic spending so we can begin investing in modalities that will truly show our support of our educators, like subsidizing rental housing for teachers and increasing teacher pay. In my opinion, simply because something unconventional has never been tried before does not mean it won't work nor does it mean we shouldn't try it. Our city is teeming with smart, vibrant, and ambitious people and as our city has embraced nation-leading policies such as $15/hour, work toward universal daycare, and paid family medical leave shows me that the voters of our city have an appetite for ambitious policies. Additionally, Seattle Public Schools became a leader in the fight to change school times to allow high school students sleep in later and elementary school students start earlier based on their biological clocks. Logistically, the work has just begun on that and we will need to continue holding a steady hand to continue allowing that policy to be implemented across the school district.
"Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry"
- Susan B. Anthony
"It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we've been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.
Ultimately, that's what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there's an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you're tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try to talk with one in real life. If you're disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you'll win. Sometimes you'll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America - and in Americans - will be confirmed."
- Barack Obama, Farewell Address to the United States 1/10/17