I am the mom of three boys who have spent the last ten years in the Manatee County Schools. My oldest son Kevin is a graduate of Lakewood Ranch High School and is currently a Junior at USF Tampa working toward a degree in Computer Engineering. I am also blessed with twin boys, Aidan and Brendan, in their senior year at Lakewood. I've been married for 27 years to my husband Mark. We have devoted our lives to raising good citizens and kind young men who also value public education like we do. While we miss our native city of Chicago, East Manatee has been our home since 2009.
I have an undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire in Economics and an M.S.Ed. in Elementary Education from the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY. I come from multiple generations of teachers. Most importantly it was my mom, an elementary reading specialist, that inspired my love of teaching young children to read.
I am a long-time educator and Florida certified. I have taught in NY, the city of Chicago, its suburbs and right here in Manatee County. I am Orton Gillingham and Reading Recovery trained and I have experience working in Title 1, urban, suburban, home school and virtual settings.
If elected to the School Board of Manatee, I plan to make sure our children and teachers are more than a score. The high stakes attached to the state assessments must end as well as our reliance on educational technology in place of highly trained, highly qualified educators, especially in remediation classes.
Restoring valuable instructional time, investing in evidence-based materials and high-quality professional development for our teachers is my priority.
It was during the Education Practices Committee settlement hearing on October 8, 2019 in Ft. Lauderdale that inspired me to run for the Manatee County School Board District 1. The state substantiated fraud with the district's artificially inflating graduation rates. Taxpayers were conned into voting for a millage increase and hundreds of children were hurt by this scandal. This was a step too far for me.
I believe that children come first, not developers. Developers care about school grades, parents care about their children. Parents rights are put in jeopardy when board members serve developers first. Our ESE children are not receiving the appropriate level of services that they need to succeed, at the expense of a district grade. Too much funding is going toward testing and not enough is being directed to our programs for student with special needs.
I regularly attend board meetings and have since the introduction of the FSA in 2014 because oversight and citizen accountability is important in public education. While at these meetings it became apparent that parent's rights were continually being trampled on, too. Parents have the right to limit high stakes testing. Parents have the right to direct their child's education and to choose classes that best suit their child's curriculum needs and interest. Parents have the right to fiscal responsibility and transparency from our board members. I will provide the truth transparency and trust that all board members should be providing to their constituency. Systemic change is needed in Manatee, especially at the highest levels of our district administration. The days of the good ole boy network needs to come to an abrupt end and more funds directed back to our classrooms.
Our children, teachers, and especially parents deserve a voice. It would be my honor to be that voice in Manatee County to restore the trust, transparency and truth that citizens expect.
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