1. CPPS Criteria and role on the board:
Ability to Work Effectively With Others/Exhibits Needed Skills and Experience:
Throughout my life I have built a reputation for being someone who people went to with their problems. One of my strengths is being approachable and being trusted to see problems through to completion. Although I may not always have an answer immediately, I take pride in my determination to learn and find a solution.
I believe that it is critical to make steps towards increasing diversity in our community. There is so much that we can learn from each other and I believe it is vital for our youth to see people in leadership positions that they can see themselves in. Personally, I have found a passion in learning and taking steps in spreading the word about what can be done in our community. Worley Street Roundtable is an example of a locally grown organization that is focused on the betterment of our community. I am extremely excited to take part in that organization and to see it grow.
Organizational, Fiscal, and Leadership Skills
I take pride in being fiscally responsible, and I would like to see the school board continue on being diligent in their future planning with taxpayer dollars. This is a responsibility I would not take lightly as a member of the board. With the uncertainty of funding from state and federal levels it is especially important to be transparent with the taxes that our community has been graciously giving over the years.
At work, I am in a lead technologist position where I have a direct role, under my supervisor, in making decisions that are best for the laboratory. I am in charge of day to day operations of the laboratory and ensuring necessary quality assurance testing is performed and filed correctly. I have been awarded the “Role Model” and “Yes” awards for my hard work and dedication at University of Missouri Hospitals.
Seeks Excellence In Education
My wife and I are lucky in that we’re about to celebrate our first year in our new home. We are happy to put down roots in the community and do whatever we can to see it improved. I believe this starts with a strong foundation of public education. I have a strong desire to see a population of educated individuals be able to succeed. Being able to provide a quality education to any child, regardless of their circumstance will have a profoundly positive impact on our community.
Community Builder and Leader
I am vice chair of the Mayor’s Council of Physical Fitness and Health. We are tasked with improving the physical fitness and health in all citizens of Columbia and Boone County, as well as enhancing their quality of life. We are currently in the process of restructuring the council, where I am excited to have an active role in improving the efficiency and initiatives of the council.
I proudly support the Missouri Rural Crisis Center and phone bank with them regularly. They are an amazing organization which support family farmers and rural communities, promotes safe, affordable, and high-quality food for communities, protecting the environment, creating economic opportunity for rural Missouri, and engaging Missourians in the democratic process.
Strong Advocate For Public Education
I have so much enjoyed getting out and talking to people face to face by knocking on hundreds of doors over the last weeks. I believe it is vital to actually be plugged into the community if you’re going to say you represent them and that people like school board members that are accessible to them, especially outside of traditional meeting hours. When people feel comfortable and connected, we open honest, transparent lines of communication, and these informal conversations are often where the most valuable information is gathered. I have spoken to teachers, principals, homeowners, and parents and have a heard a wide variety of issues that are important to them. I want everyone here to know that you are supporting a person who hears those issues and wants to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to have their voice heard. Now, I certainly won’t agree with everyone on everything, but you can trust that I’ll stand strong on my values and beliefs, and I can promise I will listen respectfully and make sure I understand where people are coming from.
2. What do you consider to be key challenges facing CPS and how will you contribute to meeting that challenge?
Of the many issues facing the board, maintaining and recruiting top tier teachers and staff, as well as showing continued support for current teachers, is a top priority with a large impact on student success. I would like to schedule meetings with teachers in their environment and let them know that they have a friend on the school board and their voices are being heard. This means putting in face time, and not only relying on them to be able to fit into their busy schedules time to attend the public comment period of the board meetings. When teachers feel valued, appreciated, and have their needs met, then students will benefit from the active engagement our teachers will have.
I am also concerned with the budget. With continued uncertainty coming from state and federal funding, it is more important than ever to seek efficiency and streamline processes to be able to get as much value out of every taxpayer dollar that is received. I also agree with the board’s current trend of keeping an 18-20% reserve and would like to see the budget handled in a fiscally responsible and transparent way.
Safety is also primary concern of mine. I believe it is the position of the board to ensure that an adequate and safe environment is addressed in all Columbia schools. I would like to see this done by working to build a trusting culture in our community and schools.
3. What do you think CPS does particularly well, and how do we sustain that?
I believe the board has done a good job with the budget thus far but there is always room for improvement in public feedback and transparency. With continued state funding shortages, the need to make every dollar count is more important than ever. Also, taxpayers want to know where and how their money is being used, so I believe that transparency and openness of the decisions being made should be a top priority of the board. I have had training in process improvement techniques that I would be able to bring as a unique strength to the board.