Lives near: South 27th Street and Yankee Hill Road
Occupation: Software engineer
Political party: Republican
Education: Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, California Institute of Technology
The pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption to education, affecting students in many ways including academic losses and mental health issues. How should the district address those issues going forward?
The district is currently considering many potential academic and mental health supports to address pandemic learning loss. Examples include serving more students in summer school, providing additional teacher plan time, and additional academic support in afterschool programs. Federal funding is available for some programs, which must still be identified and prioritized.
LPS’ state aid allocation decreased significantly last year and is expected to do so again this year. What do you see as the biggest budget priorities and where should the district make cuts if necessary?
Decreases in state aid have required the district to reduce positions and reassign personnel from support positions to classrooms. We must continue to focus the budget on teaching and learning, making cuts as far from the classroom as possible. We must also continue community partnerships, such as the new high school focus programs, where costs are shared with other public and private partners.
The district has embarked on efforts to better address equity issues, a focus that began before the Black Lives Matter protests but has intensified since then. What are the best ways for the district to further that work and ensure educational equity for all students?
Equity occurs when student outcomes and experiences in school are not determined by race, gender, family income, or other demographics. Ensuring that all students have the opportunity to be successful in school requires that we identify and remove systemic inequities in our policies and practices. Improving equity is an ongoing effort that must be done collaboratively with our students, staff, and the community.
The district recently reallocated money to continue the expanded school resource officer program, despite concerns from some that it will increase the school-to-prison pipeline. Do you support the program? Why or why not?
I strongly support the school resource officer program as part of a comprehensive approach to student safety and success. In 2018, the LPS Board and city officials created the Safe and Successful Kids interlocal agreement, which supports preventative, protective and proactive programs, like mental health, threat assessment and afterschool programs. The middle school SRO program includes safeguards such as officer training, data collection and clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
What, if anything, should the district have done differently to address the pandemic?
The past year has been one of unprecedented challenges. LPS students, staff, and community supporters have gone above and beyond to address the pandemic while allowing learning to continue. Nearly every aspect of how schools work was reinvented with the help of health officials and other experts. As we learned more about the virus, we improved the plan and did things differently. I am deeply grateful to the families, teachers, administrators, staff, and community for supporting our students.