I believe in a child-centered education. Children are only young once and that time is precious. Our kids only get one chance at an education and must maximize their experience, ensuring they have opportunities for a bright future. The Knox County School System has a responsibility to enrich the lives of all our children. We must ensure Knox County Schools provide a learning environment that is innovative and flexible, so student success is our only purpose.
One area where I’m passionate about providing more opportunities for our students is in early literacy. Too many children cannot read at grade level, and it is an issue that knows no demographic boundaries. In fact, I have experienced it in our own family. Thankfully, we caught it early, and our teachers worked with us to develop a plan.
Literacy is the foundation upon which our students learn throughout their lives. We need to double our efforts, so every student is a strong reader.
We are blessed with schools full of teachers and administrators with the skills and heart to teach our children.
Unfortunately, too often, our school bureaucracy get in the way of teachers teaching and students learning. It’s frustrating to our kids, teachers, principals and parents. As your school board representative, I will work to empower our parents, teachers and principals to have the authority to tailor the system to fit the needs of the child. The downtown leadership must support our teachers and students, and not hinder their progress.
One area we where we need to significantly improve is in our testing processes. We need to hold our schools to the highest standards and testing is critical to check on progress. However, our current system has caused more problems than it has helped. Online tests crash, paper tests results take six months, and the result is testing information not providing timely, helpful data points. We can and must do better.
Schools are a focal point of any community and are the reason that many of us live here. Our schools rely on our community for support and to lift them up. We need to deepen these bonds.
I have spent the last 6 years working alongside our teachers and administrators at Hardin Valley Elementary to bring community support to various initiatives within our schools. As your board member, I will work hard to ensure all our schools have the strongest community support possible.
Additionally, our schools need to be doing their part in supporting our community by providing post-secondary or vocational readiness – ensuring a strong and stable workforce to fuel the future of our community.
I want to see us work harder at creating and strengthening partnerships with all the incredible resources available to us, including the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge Laboratory, the Tennessee Theater and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We could create teaching opportunities and show children all the ways they could use the skills they are learning for the future.
We must always remember that our schools are preparing the next generation and the Knox County Schools must be able to adapt to meet the needs of that generation and the challenges facing us today.
We invest over 500 million dollars a year into the school system. These are hard earned tax dollars and we need to make sure that every dollar is spent efficiently, with the greatest impact being felt in the classroom.
Our future is so bright, and I look forward to serving to make sure we build on all the successes and miracles that our schools perform every day.
In the COVID-19 era, we have seen that our district was not prepared for the crisis. Our teachers were prepared to teach – many teachers prepared lessons over spring break and prepared themselves to teach via distance learning or whatever means necessary. Unfortunately, the system was not prepared and kept teachers from doing what they do best: teaching.
Knox County should be a leader in distance learning and create more pathways for every student to learn no matter the circumstance. No one wants to take away from the personal classroom experience, but we must be prepared and flexible for whatever comes our way whether it’s an ice storm, a flood or another pandemic.
Ready To Get Started?
Join me in building on the success of our schools and ensuring that all of our children are prepared for the future.