Election 2012: State Board of Education, District 2
October 17, 2012
Occupation: Educator, attorney, school safety expert, strategic planner and lobbyist.
Explain your background and how this qualifies you for the position you are seeking.
I taught 5th and 6th grade, trained high school students in job-seeking and on-the-job skills, was a juvenile prosecutor, represented abused, neglected children, and was staff attorney for the National School Safety Center. I am an expert on prevention of school crime and a strategic planner in juvenile and criminal justice specializing in interagency cooperation and communication. I was a lobbyist at two state legislatures, drafted legislation which became law, and can build relationships with leaders at city, county, school district and state levels. These skills are essential to gaining support for education reforms that are still needed in Nevada.
I have served on many boards and currently chair the Northwest Reno Neighborhood Advisory Board and am vice-chair of the Reno Senior Citizens Advisory Committee. I know how effective board members can work together to build consensus to execute their plans and to reach their goals for their communities. I have facilitated many strategic planning processes and helped many communities create action plans. I believe that the State Board of Education must create and implement a new strategic plan if it is to reach its goals and objectives to reform Nevada schools.
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What are the two most important issues to you and what should be done to resolve them?
Improving Nevada’s high school graduation rates is one of my highest priorities, both for individual students and the future well-being of our state. The second priority, and closely linked, is preparing all students to be career- or college-ready. An educated workforce draws new businesses and improves our economy. An educated community improves our democracy and the quality of life for everyone.
Let’s improve statewide graduation rates by:
• Using current data systems to create early warning and intervention systems that use the early predictors of potential dropouts (attendance, behavior, reading and math performance) to prevent students from dropping out in the first place. Contact all identified students and their parents and create individual plans to get them back on track.
• Identifying 3rd and 4th grade struggling readers and providing continuous remediation until skills are up to par. Do the same with struggling middle school math students.
• Reducing chronic absenteeism by engaging parents, assigning staff to follow-up, reporting statistics, and holding schools and districts accountable for improvement.
• Identifying and connecting with low-credit high school students and their parents to create individual plans for them to earn missing credits needed to graduate. Provide credit recovery programs that meet their needs.
Let’s better prepare students for college or careers by:
• Building strong partnerships between schools and the employment and business community to design classes to teach students the skills they need to get and keep a job in today’s economy.
Offer those clearly identified career programs in middle and high schools and continue support to magnet schools, technical and arts academies, schools-within-schools, and charter schools.
• Aligning high school courses with college courses to ensure that students master the foundation knowledge and skills while in high school that they will need in college. New Common Core State Standards will help us do that.
• Reducing costly remedial college courses by giving the math and English placement tests to college-bound high school students and providing remediation in high school until they can pass the placement tests.
• Eliminating Nevada’s high school proficiency exams and replacing them with nationally-known tests that are better predictors of knowledge, skills and abilities such as the ACT or National Career Readiness test, depending on whether the student is going to college or into the workforce.
Why should voters choose you over the other candidate?
Nevada schools have been struggling for years at the bottom of all the good lists and at the top of all the bad lists. The State Board of Education has long stood on the sidelines on most of the reforms that were needed and that were recently enacted by the Governor and the Legislature.
The newly restructured State Board of Education can become a strong voice and advocate for our K-12 schools. It is time to elect some dynamic new leaders to the State Board of Education to create an action plan to implement these reforms consistently and efficiently in every district.
I want to take on this challenge. I have the experience, leadership skills and vision to build proactive partnerships with teachers, administrators, parents, community, business and government leaders. With their ideas and commitment, we can create a workable plan that will improve our children’s education.
Explain your background and how this qualifies you for the position you are seeking.
I’m a retired emeritus awarded college professor of business and economics from Western Nevada College where I taught for almost thirty years.
I’m currently a Nevada licensed high school math teacher and I specialize in working with at-risk and special education math students at a Nevada state chartered high school, which achieved AYP.
Also, I currently serve on the “Private Post-Secondary Education Commission”, as a Governor appointee, which regulates private vocational schools. This work is in addition to my duties as a currently elected member of the Nevada State Board of Education, district 9.
Also, I am a fourth generation Nevadan. I have lived in Carson City for more than 30 years.
I was most recently elected for a second term to the State Board of Education in 2008 representing Carson City, Douglas County, and South and East Washoe County.
I was first elected to public office in 1988 as a member of the Carson City School District Board of Trustees. I served there for eight years, including as its president in 1993. In 1996, I was elected to the Nevada State Board of Education where I served for four years.
What are the two most important issues that you would address if elected?
My First Issue is working to adopt, implement, integrate and advocate these six following positions:
1. Adopting an innovative evaluation tool for beginning and ending school year assessments of all students to measure their real individual progress, such as “MAP” from the Northwest Evaluation Association.
2. Implementing the new improved computerized state High School Proficiency Exam in 2013. It will be much more user friendly with faster results. It’s being developed by the national consortium of states “SBAC”, which Nevada also belongs too.
3. Integrating the results of these new tests and assessments into the performance evaluations of all schools, administrators, and teachers in a fair manner, as mandated by AB222.
4. Ultimately, these steps (1, 2, and 3 above) will help to create a simple, fair, and understandable grading system of the effectiveness of our teachers, administrators, and schools statewide.
5. Advocating all college-bound high school seniors take the ACT or SAT college entrance exams.
6. Advocating all non-college-bound high school seniors complete the National Career Readiness Certification Program, developed by ACT.
My Second Issue is that I’m leading efforts to create two new charter public high schools in the Reno/Sparks area, in order to demonstrate how reform goals can be achieved:
The first new charter public high school, projected to open in the fall of 2014, will specialize in career readiness for vocational-technical job opportunities. The school will focus on partnering with private post-secondary vocational schools in our region in order to offer the most exciting career opportunities to high school graduates.
The second new charter public high school will focus on working with English Language Learners in our community. We will be partnering with the most successful language program design specialists in the southwest United States. This group has started five successful high schools for English Language Learners throughout the southwest and they will be starting their sixth school in Las Vegas next year. We plan to be their seventh school here in Reno/Sparks and we are projecting to open in the fall of 2014 also.
These new exciting educational opportunities for career minded students and also for English Language Learners are only a few of the changes that I am proposing for Nevada public education.
Why should voters choose you over the other candidates?
There are some candidates who want a gross revenues tax on all businesses throughout Nevada. I OPPOSE SUCH A TAX. This tax will only hurt small businesses, cost Nevada workers even more in lost jobs, and raise all our prices.
In order to improve education, what really matters is what happens in the classroom between teachers and students.
I understand this because I teach high school math and I specialize in re-mediating both at-risk and special-ed students. Also, I’m a retired emeritus college professor of business from Western Nevada College in Carson City.
I’m seeking your vote because I believe I can make a real difference. I’m the only experienced Nevada educator among all the candidates. I consistently use my experience, with new technologies, to effectively reach at-risk math students to help them become successful graduates. Nevada’s children are too important to be allowed to fail.