Candidate for School Board
My husband, Chris, and I have lived in Juneau for nearly 20 years and we have one son who attends Harborview Elementary School.
As a federal employee (NOAA Fisheries, Department of Commerce), the Office of General Counsel outlines permissible political activities and states: “You may run for office in a nonpartisan election, such as a school board election in which candidates are not identified by party affiliation.”
I reached out to NOAA Fisheries’ Director of Operations, Management, and Information Services to see if/how I could respond to this question and their advice was this question might “give the appearance of venturing into partisan politics, which our ethics rules do not allow.”
I work as a Fisheries Biologist for NOAA Fisheries at the Auke Bay Labs.
My area of expertise is in linking climate change impacts to fisheries in Alaskan waters, especially in the Bering Sea. Climate change impacts include changes in the amount of sea ice, water temperatures, and food availability.
I’m running for a second term on the school board because I’m passionate about public education and I think that with education come opportunities for our students. I bring a strong background in STEM, so science, technology, engineering and math and I’m very involved in outreach education with our schools. I also bring a depth of knowledge around special education and early childhood advocacy. My husband and I have one son and he is a second grader at Harborview Elementary School.
What’s something in Juneau’s standardized test data that informs an education policy you want to implement or action you want to take?
One of my main priorities is around early reading, so students reading at grade level by grade three. This has been a recognized priority of the district for a number of years, but we haven’t seen substantial improvement. I’m really committed to an overhaul of really rethinking and supporting efforts of how we teach, how our students learn, and how we close the achievement gaps around reading.
What do you think of how the district has handled COVID-19 in schools so far? Would you like to change anything?
The school district and the board have followed public health guidance in order to deliver education as safely and as consistently as possible. The end goal really is students in classrooms. We know that for the majority of our students, that is where they learn best – with their teachers and with their peers. But given the inevitable short disruptions, while close contact students need to quarantine, I would like to see us continue to bolster our academic support of those students as they transition to learning via distance for those short periods of time.
My approach is to express my point of view through open and honest communication, but also to listen to their point of view and to understand where they’re coming from. Differences of opinion are inevitable, of course, so ultimately keeping the decision student centered. We are there to advocate for and to make the best decisions for our students. So ultimately, our focus should remain on their best interests.
I am the proud parent of a second grader at Harborview Elementary. I’m also a co-founder of SouthEast Exchange, which is a community partnership between local science professionals and the Juneau School District with the goal of bringing place-based and hands-on learning opportunities into classrooms. I’ve spent many hours in classrooms, especially at Floyd Dryden Middle School, and I’m also involved in NOAA’s Sea Week programs.
Which parts of Juneau do you think are underserved by the school district, and what will you do about it?
One sub population identified in the equity pillar of our strategic plan are Alaska Native students. I support, through the board’s budget prioritization process, academic programs like the Tlingit Culture Language and Literacy Program. I also support through outreach education efforts with NOAA providing fisheries research experiences. I’m really excited about a recently funded internship opportunity for Alaska Native students that I will participate in as a mentor.