Vision for OCPS
For a safe, high-quality, inclusive education for ALL students and families.
Diversity & Inclusion
It should go without saying for anyone running for this seat, but I believe in an equal and robust public education for all students regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or learning style. Our unique individualism should be celebrated as part of our diverse community!
ALL students have a right to a safe classroom where they can learn, develop, and thrive with their individual gifts and talents. The concerns and perspectives from our diverse student body must be heard to ensure we are meeting their needs. We must continue to foster a culture of inclusion for everyone within OCPS, a place where all are welcome to contribute to the common goal: the success of our students.
Parent Engagement in College & Career Planning
As a parent of two OCPS graduates, I have witnessed first hand the stellar education provided by this district. Thankfully we have the best teachers! One area we can continue to grow is engaging our parents and students in all of their options as they move into upper high school. We must work with all students to provide course options to help them achieve their goals.
Although AP classes are a good fit for some students, we must also eagerly share other options such as our top-notch technical academies and dual enrollment programs. To provide students and parents with all of their course options, we can achieve this by creating a database of accessible information, offering information sessions district wide, and helping to create more individualized plans for student success.
Prioritize Mental Health
As a parent and as a leader at a state college, it is concerning to see increased student stress and anxiety levels, behavior issues, substance abuse and school violence. Our children need our support. Monitoring all the social and emotional needs of a student is an impossible task for one person.
We must create a culture in our schools where mental health is just as much a priority as academic success. The two go hand in hand. Parents, teachers, staff, administrators, SAFE coordinators, counselors, bus drivers, mentors, all play an important role in understanding the needs of each student.
We must provide schools with the appropriate resources, training and professionals that can help when a student is in need. Every school, at minimum, should have a licensed counselor to serve as a critical resource for students, parents and staff.
Update: See my response regarding the Uvalde, Texas school tragedy.
Teacher Pay & Retention
If you ask any recent graduate of OCPS what the best part of their education journey was, I bet they’d say “the teachers”. Our teachers are the heart and soul of our district. The tremendous efforts of our teachers cannot be measured by student achievement. I know this truth because I watch my wife working on lesson plans late into the evenings and on weekends. She is dedicated and motivated to give all she can to her students. But the financial compensation for these efforts remains far too low. It’s time to get creative with the budget and work to gain more funding. Pay increases will not only benefit teachers but the community at large.
Pay increases are one way we can retain our teachers and keep them from leaving our county, the profession or from burn out.
In addition to pay, we must ensure that our new and experienced teachers have the support they need to stay committed to this profession. We need to remove unnecessary paperwork, reward years of dedication, provide classroom tools and supplies, and make sure they know that the county trusts their professionalism. It’s time to let teachers get back to the art of teaching.
STEAM Focus K-12
As our students prepare for a workforce rooted in technology and advancements, it is more important than ever to make sure we are equipping them with the skills needed to be successful after graduation. STEAM education encourages curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving.
We can promote the foundations of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics through dedicated school STEAM labs, extra curricular clubs, community volunteers, internships, college and technical school collaborations, and so much more. ALL students can benefit from further developing our STEAM programs and in turn seeing their gifts and talents grow.
Other School Issues
There are so many more issues than those highlighted above. If you would like to discuss career pathways, school choice, teacher unions, censorship, etc. I am all ears. I'm usually available for an informal coffee chat every Friday morning at Panera. My volunteers and I are also organizing evening events. Please follow me on Facebook or Instagram for new event announcements. I look forward to hearing from you.