I will be sworn in as the newest member of the Shorewood Board of Education on April 22.
With your support, I won a three-year term on the board. (Click here for full election results)
If this election got you interested in school district politics and operations, please, please PLEASE continue to pay attention. Here are a few ways you can be involved and informed:
1. Volunteer in our schools. You don't have to be a PTO parent or even a parent to make a difference in our schools, and you'll learn a lot about how our schools run (and how delightful and smart our students are) by spending even a few hours a month in a school. Don't wait to be invited -- call or email the school and offer your help.
2. Show up to meetings. Sure, we all hate the idea of sitting through another meeting after maybe we sit through too many at work, or we have been dealing with our own kids' demands over dinner. But I promise your presence makes a difference, and if you stick around, you will learn a ton.
The Board's regular meetings happen the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. Agendas and notices of special meetings are all posted online. You can also watch videos of each meeting. Being there in person is more fun, but if you're curious about a specific agenda item and want to hear discussion or Q and A, you can find the videos online.
You can also look for our "linkage" meetings -- which technically are open to anyone, but are organized by interest group so the board has a chance to meet with people who have all sorts of interest in the district, including students, parents, teachers and community members.
3. Keep in touch. Not just with me, but with your kid's teacher, the principal of the school nearest you, the superintendent, and the entire board. None of them (us!) know what's on your mind until you speak up. If you're thinking it, you're probably not the only one. And if you have a question, you're probably not the only one.
4. Take it to the state. If you're frustrated with high property taxes, and wish teachers were paid better and wish we had all the resources we need to deliver a first-class education to any and every child who walks through the door -- if those things get you fired up, then tell the school board, sure, but also make yourself a nuisance to the people holding the purse strings in Madison. Right now the state is working on its next biennial budget, and the more they hear from people who value public education (and vote accordingly), the better.
More about me if you're new to this page:
I am a working mom and PTO volunteer, a former journalist. I work in corporate communications and spend a lot of my free time watching my two kids play baseball or rooting for the Milwaukee Bucks (our family's favorite spectator sport).
I am a proud Democrat and a strong believer in public education. I am happy to live in a community where so many of my neighbors feel the same way. I've been volunteering my time helping the PTO since we moved here. My family put down roots here because we love the Milwaukee area and wanted to live in a progressive community with strong public schools.
We made a great choice: Shorewood has beautiful schools full of wonderful teachers. At every grade level, our students are wise, analytical, outspoken and talented.
The time I've spent volunteering in our schools, attending board meetings and researching in my free time has reinforced my strong support for public schools as the heart of our community.
My support and care for our schools also means I am determined to see clearly where we can do better and where we may even be failing our students. In some areas, our current leadership has been falling short. Deficits in leadership were laid bare last October, when the fall production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" was cancelled following an embarrassing roller coaster of on-and-off-again decisions and reversals by school leaders. Kids were devastated, adults angered, and neighbors divided.
The conversations about race that followed the play's cancellation revealed that despite years of talking about achievement gaps and diversity, too many black students are spending every day in our schools feeling voiceless and powerless. I think we need to do some work as a community beyond the schools, and I've joined in on that work. But it's also clear our district leadership could benefit from a change at the top.
It's time for a change on our board. New voices will make a big difference in charting our community's path forward -- and not just where racial equity is concerned.
April's election was also when voters approved the district's request to borrow $65 million to fund facilities renovations and repairs, and to exceed the state-imposed revenue limit every year from now on by $275,000, earmarking that amount for facilities maintenance, repairs and improvements. We need our school board to be committed to thoughtful and informed decision-making and oversight of facilities work. I'm honored to have a seat at the table as we take on that task.
Mom of two Lake Bluff students
Former newspaper reporter
Corporate Communications Director, Anthem, Inc.*
BA, Kenyon College