School Board of Highlands County District 5
This week, Highlands Today will be running question-and-answers from School Board of Highlands County District 5 candidates on why they are running and what they think are the challenges the school board faces. Early voting is from Aug. 16 to 23 and the primary is on Aug. 26.
Q: Provide a bit about your background – your profession or if retired what you did for a living?
A: I am a mother, an educator and a businessperson in this community.
First and foremost, I am a mother –I have identical twin 9-year-old boys, Sebastien and Dominic. They will begin fourth-grade in a few weeks.
I am an educator. I grew up in Highlands County and began teaching for the School Board of Highlands County in 1998 after graduating from UCF. I hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as a master’s in Educational Leadership/Administration.
I have held various teaching positions in our county for the last 15 years until June of this year when I became a member of the school board. During my teaching years, I worked as a speech language pathologist for Pre-K through 12th grade students. I have taught regular education in the elementary setting, and most currently special education and resource teacher for kindergarten.
I am a businessperson – my family owns and operates CENTURY 21 Compton Realty. I obtained my real estate license at 19 years of age and began working part-time. Since then, I have earned my broker’s license and have become the vice president of the company.
I have been immersed in the school system for the last 15 years being a teacher. I have a commitment to be a critical player at the school where I teach, volunteer and where my sons attend, and within the community. Along with that comes a responsibility to our schools, students, teachers, parents, and community members. Q: Why do you want to be a school board member?
A: Children and our educational system are near to my heart. Our children are our future. The education of students is an extremely important priority for any community. Citizens have strong beliefs about what should or should not occur in the schools. Dealing with these challenges, as well as with limited resources, changing demographics, and ever increasing expectations require sensitivity, patience and a strong commitment to the education of the children in the community. These are characteristics I possess and will bring to the school board.
Q: As you see it, what are the major issues facing the school board and briefly state your ideas for addressing those issues?
A: For as long as I can remember, budget has always been a topic of discussion for a school board member. Budget is a major issue, but as in any family or business, we will need to work through this together. There will never be enough money for all the programs or ideas. Simply stated - we must learn to function within our means.
School safety is another hot topic in today’s world. While the school board has already upped their efforts in this area, it is necessary for us to be constantly reassessing our safety plans to ensure we are prepared in the event of an incident. One simple idea: consistent “office” signs labeling the front office at every school. The signs should be identical in size, color and font and placed at the same height at each school to make it easily identifiable for first-responders in the event of an emergency. This will also make it easier for parents, substitute teachers, visitors, and new students coming onto campuses. We should be ever vigilant to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
Q: Are there any issues or policies, etc., that have been addressed by the board or superintendent, that you disagree with?
A: I disagree with increasing ad-valorem taxes on taxpayers especially when we are asking voters to approve the half-cent sales tax. That being said, I do not mean rejecting monies from the state or decreasing monies allocated from the state for funding. I hope voters will agree that the half-cent tax levels the playing field, meaning everyone pays including tourists (35-40 percent). It does not tax food or medicine. The revenue would be used for safety and security, maintenance at 17 schools, new construction at two schools and technology.
Q: Why are you the best person for the District 5 school board seat?
A: I bring a unique set of skills being a mother, educator, and businessperson. I believe all three of these qualities make me the most qualified candidate.
I am vested in our school system as a parent, teacher and community member. I will work to continue to improve our efforts through education, training, and implementing programs that target our student, teacher, and parent needs.
I am a candidate with an open mind and willingness to listen and learn. I understand that working together to come to the most beneficial outcomes is key. I am dedicated to do my best to continue to build a strong, healthy, financially viable school district.
Community and school involvement
Curriculum Leadership Team
Reading Leadership Team
Common Core Standards Summer Institute
United Way coordinator
Relay for Life committee leader
ESE head teacher
SAC/PTO committee member
Response to Intervention team leader
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Team coordinator
Florida PROMiSE Training K-2 Mathematics
Crisis Prevention Intervention Team member
Teacher of the Year- Kindergarten Learning Center