1. Why did you decide to apply for the open position on the Bismarck School Board?
There are so many reasons to get involved. First, I’ve always been one to be part of the solution; complaining about problems only gets you so far, and then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and offer the skills you have to make things better. Additionally, my mom was a teacher for 35 years, so involvement in local schools is pretty much a part of who I am. Last, my experience with the Northridge PTO and the playground committee there has been amazing. That project proves that together we can do anything.
2. What separates you from the other candidates?
The most exciting part about this process is that the school board has received applications from a full slate of very qualified candidates for the position. What an incredible opportunity for the current school board members to take a look at themselves, see what skills would enhance the board the most and then choose the candidate with those skills. Here is what I would bring to the board: I owned my own law firm for 10 years, where I practiced divorce law, mediation and collaborative law. During that time, I also served as a board member and officer on a number of non-profit boards, including my daughters’ daycare, a private adoption agency serving older youth and various professional and church organizations. More recently I became a certified trainer in "crucial conversations" (a conflict resolution model of communication), and had the privilege of training nearly 300 coworkers on those skills. All of those experiences developed my strength as someone who is able to build consensus while holding people accountable, even in situations where emotions are strong, opinions differ and stakes are high. Based on the recent facilities committee recommendation and the public response, my skill set will provide great value to the board over the coming months.
3. If selected, what would your priorities be for the district over the next 10 months?
My goal for the remainder of the term is to do my best to make sure the decisions being made take into consideration potential long-term consequences, and ideally are made in an effort to get to a goal, rather than to put out a fire. I am also interested in how the decisions the school board makes impact the city as a whole.
4. Do you plan to run for a term after this 10-month period?
I will be considering whether to run for election over the coming months regardless of whether I am chosen to fill the interim position.
5. What are the main issues facing the school district right now?
Our city is developing rapidly and our student population continues to grow at a high rate. I would love the opportunity to participate in overcoming the resulting facility, funding and growth challenges facing the district. In doing so, I would seek out ways to meet the needs of these growing areas while not losing sight of how critical the older, core areas are to a healthy school district and city.
6. What is one thing the Bismarck School Board does well? What is one thing you think it could improve?
My experience has been that the school board is a good listener. I have really enjoyed hearing from the community during at the school board meetings over the past several months. Having participated in a continuous improvement committee through my employment, I understand that change can be challenging, but we can always find ways to improve our communications, processes and outcomes.