Stillwater Area Public Schools are an invaluable asset to our 18 communities. At this historic moment in time, we need visionary leadership to govern appropriately and move our district forward.
Let's get to work!
We are in a transformative moment in history and education. We are in a unique situation to totally reevaluate how education works for our community and our community is engaged as well. The reality of severe economic hardship is upon us and education has been underfunded for decades. It is time for us as a district to seize the moment and pioneer new ways of educating our students. As a board member, I need to find opportunities to communicate with the public and listen to their perspectives, while also advocating for the needs of the district and the value taxpayers will get for their investments.
I believe we need leadership who is looking forward and open to finding new ways to approach education. If we end up with leadership that is focused on getting back to the way things were before March, families will leave. The public has taken notice of our district and we are in crisis. Furthermore, families are now exploring other options to educate their kids. With the added competition, we need to step up as a district and remind families the value they get for choosing our amazing public schools. Stillwater may have the oldest district in the state, but let's show Minnesota we only get better with age.
The intense social unrest this summer coupled with the administrative purge at the direction of the current board majority have revealed some critical failures around equity in our district. Yet it has also given us an opportunity to engage in conversations with staff and students around how to better support our Black, Indiginous, People of Color (BIPOC) as well as other marginalized students. It is clear that our district needs work in cultural competency at all levels, board included. When students do not feel valued in school, their whole educational experience is impacted. As we work to close the achievement gap, our district has a rare opportunity to address these unseen yet destructive forces working against achievement.
Discussions around race and personal bias are a minefield of shame triggers. We must approach tough conversations with empathy and opportunity to grow from mistakes. Most importantly, we cannot allow any injustice to go unaddressed and unresolved. We will build criticality important connections with our students and community by ensuring that everyone feels welcome, always!
As board members, we must find common ground between the district and community and increase our revenue sources. We also need to seek out other revenue sources available from the state and possibly federal levels to keep our district afloat. We are also in a unique space to remind the public of how much schools actually do for our communities. This will impact our district and our entire community for the foreseeable future. It's a huge, heavy lift, but we cannot afford to drop the ball on this.
The most pressing initiative on the horizon is the 2021 levy renewal and bond proposal to rebuild Lake Elmo, build a second school in addition to Lake Elmo, and expand Brookview. These were the top items identified by the Community Design Team and absolutely critical to serving the population explosion in the district.
Building trust is one of my core platforms and it's desperately needed in our district. Responsible leaders hold individuals accountable for their actions in ways that allow them to make amends and grow. Just like in a classroom or family or work place, clear professional boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. Today's culture has us so interconnected that personal and professional boundaries constantly intersect and we are still figuring out where to draw new lines. I believe this issue has undermined trusted and fueled division in our district.