State Board of Education: Barbara Myers

Name: Barbara J. Myers

Age: 59

Campaign Web site: bjmyers49@aol.com

Education: BA in English; MS in Business Organizational Management; advanced degree work in Communication Disorders

Profession: School Speech Pathologist, Lyon County SD

Political experience: 3 elected terms-Ventura Unified Board of Education (total of 12 years); 2 elected terms-Nevada State Board of Education (total of 8 years).

Please write a short biography of yourself (you might include such things as birthplace, career, community involvement, family, etc.):

--Public school educator grades K-14 for 36 years. I've taught academic courses, vocational/technology courses and adult education courses. I was not a speech pathologist until 12 years ago.

--Married to Michael for 36 years; two adult children, three grandchildren

--Total of 20 years of public service in elected positions related to public schools. I served as liaison for both the NV State Board of Education to the Homeschool and Special Education Advisory Committees.

--Recognized and honored for state-level work in occupational education

--Advocate for special education

--Active in church activities locally

Have you ever been arrested? If so, when and for what offense? No

Do you have children, and if so do/did they attend Nevada's public school system?

I have grown children ages 32 and 34 who attended all public schools in Ventura, California. My grandchildren live in Michigan. The older two attend public charter schools in grades Kindergarten and 2nd grade.

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

--Cutting the number of Commission and Boards that currently exist related to public education. The system is fragmented and needs to be more cohesive.

--Working with Legislature to make changes as to how charter schools are sponsored and supported. Charter schools require close assistance and monitoring to be successful. There is no adequate infrastructure, currently, to assure that success.

--Working with stakeholders to find ways to attract and retain teachers, especially in hard-to-fill areas of special education, math and science. Students do not benefit when districts cannot hire enough highly qualified teachers and then retain those teachers.

How would grade Nevada's public education system (A-F)? What should be the goal of Nevada's education system?

I see things at my schools that suggest we are doing some things at the "A" level. I get reports that show Nevada getting failing grades in other areas. I feel comfortable saying there is room for improvement especially in graduation rates. I believe a mandated, standards-based report card would be very beneficial.

The goal is to challenge children to meet their potential and create opportunities for success. Children reach their potential at different ages. In some cases, that's not until adulthood. Creating a desire for life-long learning is the highest goal we can have for our youth.

How can school districts be successful under current budget constraints, which are expected to worsen?

Economic challenges are not new. I trust that school districts and local Boards of Education will make necessary cuts that are farthest from the classroom.

Proposition 13 passed just as I became a local board member in Ventura. Our Board was forced to dismantle the district, literally, brick by brick. We watched grass go brown, water faucets not repaired, classrooms not cleaned as often, libraries staffed by parent volunteers, etc., etc. Nevertheless, the teachers continued to teach and students continued to learn despite the deep cuts that were mandated. Everyone has to live within the budget constraints-that's a reality.

Would you support school vouchers, giving parents a choice of where to send their children?

I support parental choice. I've demonstrated that by serving on the Homeschool Advisory Committee and approving State Board-sponsored charter schools. I would like to see more magnet schools, schools-within-a-school, regional vocational schools, and alternative programs focusing on technology.

That said, I support the idea of "school of choice" for everyone. I would not support vouchers that go to private schools that are not required to take all students on a first-come, first-served, basis. I believe private schools exist because of the desire to not have the same requirements/restraints placed on them that are part of the public school system.

Why should voters support you rather than your opponent?

I have a proven record of elected, public service over a 20-year period. I have worked in two rural school districts Lyon County and Churchill County. I know, firsthand, the challenges here in the North.

In the North, there are only two, of ten, seats. I represent all of Douglas County, Carson City, and ? of Washoe County. The other member is not seeking re-election. Going into a legislative year, it is important that Douglas County, Carson City, and Washoe have a strong, experienced representative, that's me.

I believe I am the most qualified person with the best understanding of the current issues facing public education at this time of economic challenges.

What else would you like to say to voters about your qualifications and ideas?

One word describes me: Dedicated.

I've missed one meeting in eight years and that was to witness the birth of my third grandchild last year.

I have never accepted any monetary contribution for an election campaign. I've been elected five times and have not spent any funds, including my own (only filing fee).

I've been successful because I listen. I make decisions after all the input is presented. I read everything I receive. I respond to all phone calls and emails. If I accept an invitation to speak or attend a meeting, I show up and participate.

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