On Sunday, September 15, Sabrina held a potluck kick-off event at Roosevelt Park. Over 50 people came together to celebrate the official launch of her campaign. Here’s the speech she gave to the crowd.

Welcome

I want to thank each of you for joining me today for my campaign launch. I am truly honored that you’re here. It means so much to me because you are the reason that I am standing here. I am running for school board because I’ve been listening to parents, teachers, and community members and what I’m hearing is that they don’t feel their voices are valued. I want to change that. More than anything else I’ll mention here today, I want you to know that I’m standing here for you. I am standing here, asking to be YOUR board member.

Background

I have lived in Ames for the past 30 years. I graduated from Ames High. I’ve chosen to stay in this community and raise my family here. I have served on PTOs, been a Girl Scout troop leader, president of the board at Prairie Flower, a homeroom mom, and a volunteer at countless other events and activities. I have children currently running the full gamut of educations programs offered in Ames. They are enrolled in Ames High School all the way down to Northwood Preschool. Each of my children, like all of yours, has very diverse needs and experiences. I know what it means to be their best advocate.

My desire to run for school board grew out of all these experiences along with so many others. In each of these roles, as a parent and community member, I’ve been in service to both my children and the children of Ames as well as their families. However, this small and limited in capacity in comparison to what I know I can provide. Serving on the Ames School Board is an expansion and extension of the work that I’ve already been doing. I’m not interested in politics. I’m interested in helping our schools and our kids.

These are the principles that will guide my work as your board member. These are my promise to you.

Promise #1: I’m Listening.

I’ve been listening and I’m going to keep listening. Some of the things I’ve been hearing from parents, teachers, and other community members have been concerning. It’s because I’ve been listening that I have decided to initiate this campaign.

Promise #2: I’m Accessible.

Your voices will be the driving force behind everything I’m doing as a board member. Therefore, I must be accessible to you to regularly engaging in dialogue with YOU about what’s important to YOU. To do this, I will be holding regular listening sessions (just like office hours) to ensure that you have the opportunity to share your thoughts with me frequently.

Promise #3: I’m Speaking Up.

As your school board member, you can be certain that I will be speaking up and I will be asking challenging questions. Most importantly, when you hear me speak up in board meetings and ask tough questions it’s YOUR VOICE I want you to hear echoed on my words. I intend to elevate your voices through my service on the board.

Promise #4: I’m Ensuring Evidence-Driven Decision-Making.

Decisions involving your children and their education should be based on a thorough review of the best available evidence. While certainly there are many factors which influence how a decision is made the foundations should always be based on the evidence. I am willing and eager to dig deep to make sure we have the best information available to us as we go about our work. As a board member, I will hold steady to this principle when policies involving our children and the use of our funds are discussed.

Promise #5: I’m Transparent.

You deserve to know what’s happening in our schools and more importantly in the process of making changes an improvements to our district. When you have questions, you should be heard, and you deserve an answer. We are NOT a board that works behind closed doors. We work out in the open. We work with our community to best serve our community. The school board process should be open, available, and accessible to you and I am here to say I will make that happen.

Call to action and Closing

Sometimes in life, we’re forced to pick sides. I believe now is one of those times and I’m picking the side of our kids. I am launching this campaign for all of our children. I want our children to have the best educational experiences possible, tailored to their unique needs and abilities. I want our precious funds to be treated with respect and to be utilized with an appropriate level of frugality.

I am asking you to join me by casting your vote on November 5th for Sabrina Shields-Cook. If you recognize the importance of the principles I’ve mentioned above, please join my campaign. I welcome your volunteer time, your financial support, and your voice when you share with others about what I’m going to do as your school board member.

Thank you so much for your time here today and for your support in the days ahead.