Tues Q&A with James Lemaire
Why are you running for the school board?
I am running for school board because I see this as my opportunity to perform a civic duty. I have an interest in education and the impact it can have on individual lives and the future of our country, and I have the time to be able to meet the needs of this position.
How are you qualified for this position?
Apart from good listening skills and basic good judgment and management skills, I hope to bring some additional technological savvy and insight to the school board. I can help inform and guide decisions concerning the application of technology within the school administration. Several of the school districts in Nevada are my clients, although Carson City is not one. I can also help inform and guide decisions on how best to provide the infrastructure for the use of technology in the teaching environment, and the teaching of information technology itself.
As a manager, I project costs, provide resources, and then supervise the work to make sure the projects are completed according to the functional and financial goals. I would bring the same abilities to the school board.
What changes would you like to see in the Carson City School District?
My grandmother always told me, “Under spend your income.” With that in mind, I’d like to see the ‘rainy day fund’ be gradually increased from its current level of 2 percent of the annual budget to 5 percent of the annual budget. Also, improving communications between teachers and classified employees, and the school district and school board can only help the management process.
What would you like to see remain the same?
The valiant and successful efforts of students and staff to improve their test scores!
What are the biggest challenges you see facing education today?
Funding, of course, but the ‘No Child Left Behind’ unfunded mandates bring some special challenges. Also parity of funding and the potential difference in quality of education offered between schools. I believe that education is not as valued in our culture as it is in others, nor is it as valued in our culture as it has been in the past. The instant gratification we receive from TV and other forms of electronic entertainment make the delayed gratification process of hard work and studying a more difficult thing to sell to our students.
What will you do to address those challenges?
First, we need to do everything we can to keep the students in school through graduation. We can’t teach them if they aren’t there to teach. We need to provide a learning environment that is challenging, dynamic, and stimulating and we need to recognize and reward achievement.
Charter schools, and special programs within our schools, can help us tailor the programs to meet the needs of various groups of students rather than use a one-size-fits-all approach. When we spend effort and dollars to educate, we need to get commensurate benefits.
What are your outside interests?
Lately, I’ve been doing several carpentry and woodworking projects and playing guitar and bass in a band. I also enjoy flying sailplanes, snowshoeing, hiking and scuba diving.