What would you bring to the Ames Community School District as a member of the Board of Directors?

As community members, we all have diverse backgrounds and experiences. When policies or decisions are brought before the school board, it is important to take the time to consider how those policies or decisions will impact everyone involved. As a school board member, I will value the input of teachers, students, parents, and the community and will work hard to make sure I am seeing issues from multiple perspectives and not just through the lens of my own experiences.

Why are you a good candidate for the school board?

As a parent of children at the high school, middle school, elementary, and preschool levels, I have experienced many of the challenges facing our schools at each of these levels. I have also had the opportunity to serve on PTOs, parent advisory groups, and nonprofit boards throughout the Ames community. As a member of these community groups, I actively listen and seek information, I make myself available to answer questions, and I use my voice to advocate for what I believe is right. I believe these qualities and my experiences as a parent in this district make me a great candidate for school board.

What is your top priority for the Ames Community School District?

My top priority for the district is to improve communication and trust between the district/school board and the community. The feedback I am hearing from parents and community members is that they do not feel included in or even aware of the decision-making process. While I understand that meetings are open to the public and posted on YouTube, and that agendas/minutes are available on the website, this information is not easily found or interpreted. I would like to see the board create an intentional communication plan to push out information to the community instead of requiring the community to seek out information. Improving communication and transparency will improve trust between the board and the community, and I believe that is critical before we can address the other issues our district is facing (enrollment, behavior, mental health). 

In addition, when considering solutions to some of these other issues (enrollment, behavior, mental health), I will approach decisions by considering at the best available evidence as well as feedback from parents, teachers, students, and the community. I believe we are stronger when all voices are heard, and I will work to bring all voices to the table when we make decisions about the future of our district and our children.

What are banded-grade attendance centers, and do you think this model is a good choice for Ames?

The idea of banded-grade attendance centers has been discussed by the current school board as one potential solution to our enrollment challenges. In this model, some of the current elementary schools would serve students in grades K-2 while the others would serve students in grades 3-5. Moving to this model would be a complex process that would impact our students and our education system in many ways. I do not currently have enough information about this model to say whether I believe it is a good choice for Ames. However, I do think it will be extremely important to consider all the potential implications of such a change and to seek input from all stakeholders — teachers, students, parents, Ames residents, etc. — before making any decisions.

What tools and strategies would you suggest the district use to help our students struggling with mental health issues?

Mental health initiatives should be research-based and follow recognized best practices, such as the following:

  1. Employ trained mental health professionals to provide services to students in the schools.
  2. Provide intensive, ongoing training to help staff recognize signs of mental health issues and to understand the correlation between behavior issues and mental health.
  3. Educate students about mental health issues to provide them with strategies to find help or to help peers as well as to build empathy and understanding for those struggling with mental health issues.
  4. Implement trauma-aware instruction to build a culture of belonging and support and to build strong one-to-one relationships between students and teachers/staff members.

Got a Question?

Don’t feel like you are “in the know” when it comes to the Ames Community School District? Wondering what makes the upcoming election really important for kids and families in Ames? Don’t worry…I’d love to try to answer your questions!

Send a message using the form below, and I’ll answer it as soon as possible.