I love serving on the Leon County School Board.
I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be–making a difference for our kids, teachers, and public schools every day.
This job is a perfect fit for my passion for kids and my 36-year leadership experience as a teacher and principal.
Whether it’s deciding how to open schools in a pandemic, helping a parent with a bus stop problem or passing a budget that puts our children and employees first; it all feels important. Working collaboratively with Superintendent Hanna and my school board colleagues, I’m proud of our many accomplishments over the past 4 years.
Here are a few highlights since my 2016 election:
- Recess Every Day—now, every Leon County elementary student gets at least 20 minutes of recess every day.
- No D’s and F’s for our youngest students–-kindergartners and first graders no longer get Ds or Fs on their report cards, instead they get an “N” for not yet.
- Less time wasted on testing and test prep– We passed a resolution to eliminate using students to “load test” computers for testing, saving valuable instructional time. Schools have been given more curriculum autonomy to better fit the needs of their students.
- Safe Schools for All and No armed teachers–After Parkland, we were one of the first school boards to pass a resolution to hire only certified law enforcement officers and ban arming teachers in our schools.
- We devised a detailed safety plan at each school that included funding Mental Health Counselors at every school.
- We added safety patrol monitors at each school.
- In conjunction with the Leon County Sheriff’s office and the Tallahassee Police Department, we hired professionally trained law enforcement officers to help protect our children at every school.
- Speaking Up for Public Schools–I wrote an Op-Ed piece about the continued drain on resources by giving away tax dollars to unaccountable corporate scholarships for private schools.
- Getting our Message Out!–We recently initiated a Strategic Communications plan to better communicate with parents, recruit teachers, engage the community, and market the innovative programs in our public schools.
- Creating Community Partnerships— Our Purpose Built partnership with Leon County Schools and Hartsfield Elementary School has potential to be a game changer in South City. We plan to launch a new “Primary Years–Pre-IB” program in the next 2 years at Hartsfield. I’m proud to be on their advisory board and am committed to supporting this holistic community transformation.
- Sabal Palm Community Partnership will also make a REAL difference with our 25-year partnership with FSU, FAMU and Children’s Home Society.
- Increased Emphasis on EQUITY
- It’s all about Pre-K— Providing a full day of quality pre-kindergarten for students who live in poverty is one of the best ways to close the achievement gap. We invested $100,000 to fund the other half day of VPK at our Title One Schools. We are also reaching out to all private VPK providers to establish a “Forward Leon-Gold Seal” curriculum and partnership.
- Weighted funding for field trips, supplies and activities for low SES schools
- Investing in our Schools—Despite seriously inadequate funding for our teacher salaries and schools, we have worked hard to cut costs and distribute the savings into our schools and employees.
- Continued from 2018-19:
- •Pay raises for all employees = $6.6M
- •Funding for Student Activities and the Arts = $1M
- •Deans for every Middle School= $250K
- •Additional Operations Funds for schools = $500K
- • Emergency Reserve = $5M
- •School Safety Monitors = $1.2M
- •School Behavior Specialists = $800K
- New for 2019-20:
- •Funds for additional pay raises for all employees = $6.4M
- •Enrichment for Elementary, Middle/Special Schools = $300K
- •Additional Support for Lower Performing Schools = $300K
- • Restorative Justice programs in certain schools = $100K
- •Additional Funding for Pre-Kindergarten programs = $100K
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