Age: 43

Family: two children; ages 11 and 13

Occupation: Owner of Avant Academic Coaching & Consultation

Lived in the district since: 2014

Why are you running: I am an educator with 20 years’ experience. I’ve taught all ages, preschool to university, in both public and private schools. My experiences have shaped my educational activism. My mission is to support the current school board to develop, implement and maintain progressive educational policies that are inclusive and responsive.

What’s the district’s next big challenge/opportunity?

Lack of trauma-informed resources for teachers, students and families — I will advocate for, and work to create, policy that aligns with current research to acknowledge the effects of trauma on learning and teaching and address the need for change in ways that feel supportive and accessible for teachers and students.

What will be your top priority once you’re on the school board?

If our goal is student success, teacher wellness is our highest priority. The research is clear that happy, supported teachers are effective, connected teachers. We should allocate existing funding to invest in teacher wellness initiatives that demonstrate our understanding of the positive relationship between teacher wellbeing and student achievement.

What can the school board do to stop the district’s enrollment decline?

We should invest in responsive & restorative practices that invite all voices in to share in the vision for a more inclusive district. Teachers need more frequent training in research-driven professional development opportunities to attract, retain and support a diverse and qualified teaching staff. We should also invest in creative social emotional training for teachers and students to support our students and staff, especially through these most recent changes in response to Covid-19. School districts that prioritize student, family and teacher wellness above a singular focus on academic achievement are already noticing the benefit to enrollment and test scores.

If cuts have to be made in the budget in coming years, what are the top priorities to protect?

Teacher salary and benefits, student food availability, support staff pay and benefits.

Do you support the district holding another operations referendum when the budget becomes untenable?

Yes.

Has the district done enough to ensure its schools are safe?

No, I think it is time we have hard conversations about how inequality in our school district is addressed, how to offer opportunities to include disenfranchised voices, and turn toward the wealth of research available that proves that students’ and teachers’ social-emotional wellness forms the basis for all academic achievement.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at

scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.