Jordan School Board
What kind of support could your campaign use most?
UAC 2022 School Board Candidate Survey Responses
Tell us about yourself: this could include biographical details, a list of hobbies, professional accomplishments, or anything you’d like to highlight.
I graduated from West Jordan High School. I then moved to Provo to attend BYU. I received a BA in Spanish with a math minor from BYU. I joined the Utah Army National Guard and studied Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. I met my husband, Sam, there.
We have six kids; oldest is 22, and youngest is 9. We love camping and road trips and camping road trips together. We also enjoy video games, card games, and board games. All of my children have attended schools in my district and 22/23 school year I will have a student in elementary, middle, and high school.
I enjoy gardening and feel very successful when I grow enough tomatoes to be able to bottle my own produce. I am currently trying to figure out how to gracefully get rid of my lawn. Why is there so much Kentucky bluegrass in the desert?
I have been a math aide in the Jordan School District since January 2017, at Joel P Jensen Middle School since August 2019 and at West Jordan High School (both schools are in my district) before that. I love math! I frequently help ELL students in Spanish with their math and with Jr high navigation. I love my job, but honestly it can be very discouraging.
Describe your strategy for victory in your campaign; i.e., what is your messaging? How will it appeal to a majority of voters in your district? Are you working closely with any other campaigns?
I am planning to walk and knock doors throughout Jordan School District district 7 beginning in August. My plan is to introduce myself and find out what people think about public education. I speak Spanish and hope to reach out to more people through that.
I am working on my website and yard signs also.
A decision to run for office can often be a difficult one: why did you decide to run for school board, i.e. what are your guiding principles?
Growing up in family active in politics and the community, I believe that those who are able have a responsibility to serve. I have always felt like I would run for an office. When I found out that Jen Atwood was not seeking a third term, I decided that now is the time.
My district (7) is unique in the Jordan School District. Development has really slowed; there are more ELL students and title one schools, and there is an aging population that decreases the number of elementary school students. I see needs at the schools I have worked at.
As a candidate I have been invited to parent meetings and have seen unfounded fear. I am dismayed when a group appears to believe they are on the moral high ground and should be able to determine what is right for other people's children. I am also dismayed by the high level of mistrust these groups have for teachers.
I want to understand where everyone is coming from and base decisions on data.
What professional or volunteer experience do you have in the Utah education system?
From 2005-2008 I was lucky enough to volunteer 3-4 hours a week at Jackson Elementary School when my two oldest kids were students there. My husband was a student at the U and worked a swing shift. Because of Pell Grants and GI bill I was able to choose to be a stay at home mom. It was a great experience. I was also on the School Community Council (SCC) at Jackson when my kids were students there. I was president of the PTO too for one term.
We moved to West Jordan in 2008, and I was still easily able to volunteer at my oldest kids elementary school for a few years until Sam got a better job and I started working as a math tutor at Fortis College.
I've been on the SCC of all of my kids' schools.
I'm currently treasurer for Columbia Elementary PTA.
I've been on the PTA board for WJHS and got have been involved with the grad night party several times, getting donations, setting and cleaning up, planning.
What community groups, nonprofit organizations, or professional organizations do you belong to or align with?
I belong to a church.
I have a yearly neighborhood night out on the first Tuesday of August (excepting the past two years).
I think we are members of KBYU FM and KUER.
What local community members, professional associates, or elected officials have encouraged you to run for office or endorsed your campaign?
The teachers and administration at JPJMS were pretty jazzed when I told them I was running.
One of my sisters is a state legislator, Marsha Judkins, and she has encouraged me to run. My other sister, EmmaLee Haight, is a teacher at WJHS, and she has encouraged me.
Force for Good
Based on your educational philosophy/core values, what is at least one way that you can positively influence your school district as a school board member?
I am very open minded and a good listener.
What do you believe is the best way for local or state school boards to support administrators?
What do you believe is the best way for local or state school boards to support teachers?
School boards have to trust teachers and believe that the vast majority of teachers do not have an agenda other than teaching students to think critically, communicate effectively, and solve problems. School boards need to make sure that teachers have the resources they need, including professional development, to do this.
What do you believe is the best way for local or state school boards to support students?
School boards can support students by ensuring that businesses and development partners with schools by giving donations, internships, volunteer hours, etc. Another way boards can support students is by making district properties more water wise and energy efficient and looking for transportation solutions.
School boards support students by resolving personnel issues.
School boards support students (and admin) by making sure there are clear memorandums of understanding between between school resource officers and the schools, and requiring bias and sensitivity training for resource officers.
Boards support students by supporting teachers.
What do you believe is the best way for local or state school boards to support parents?
I think boards can support parents by listening without prejudice and helping parents and other stakeholders understand how they can be more involved in public education and how to resolve their own concerns by talking directly to the teacher or administrator they have questions about.
Boards can also find ways to encourage administrators to allow parents and other stakeholders to volunteer in their schools.
Boards can support parents by clarity about what the school board can actually do.
What is something the school board you are running for has done right?
I think Jordan School District school board conducts meetings in a professional and (generally) civil manner. The members spend time in the community and at their schools. They pay attention to the data, and their surveys are usually clear. They hired a very good superintendent.
I was happy to hear them all vote in favor of pay raises for school staff last month.
As a school board member, what specific, achievable goals do you have?
I want to understand more about how to support ELL students and their families. I would like to make sure that the board does NOT make an anonymous hotline to report teachers. (Something an ad hoc committee was discussing.) I want to understand more about how to support SPED students and their families.
There is a well-established and transparent process for book challenges and removals; recently, a minority of parents and parent-groups have advocated for testing the limits of established practice by using social media to spread disinformation about books and librarians. How do you feel about the existing policy and efforts to circumvent it?
I do not think we should change the current policy. I was dismayed by some public comment at the last board meeting about this. One parent said that she had spent hours at several school libraries and had found a number of pornographic books at the high, middle, and elementary school. I am curious what they see as pornographic. This parent had suggestions to change the current policy. I am not in favor of the changes.
Teaching American History
Another ongoing debate is focused on the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Utah’s K-12 schools. If you are asked: “Are you promoting Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools?" How would you respond?
I usually ask, "what do you mean by CRT?" and listen to whatever concerns the person has. I have found that people with these questions usually are not going to listen to or hear anything I may say.
What role do school boards have in establishing policies that promote inclusion and diversity?
Everyone deserves a safe space in public education. Having been in classrooms, I think some training for teachers on how to shut down potential harassment and what potential harassment looks like is in order. I support title nine and preserving girls only spaces in school. I don't know how to answer this question.
Mental Health in Schools
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are prevalent among Utah’s youth. Do you believe Utah’s educational system has a role to play in supporting the social and emotional wellness of its students? How can school boards support the needs of Utah students?
I support SEL. I believe a growth mindset is key to learning, growth, communication, good relationships, personal progress of any kind.
Do you support governmental appropriation of taxpayer funds to provide support to parents who wish to have their children attend private schools?
Politicization of Education
How has the politicization of education changed the campaigning process—and the nature of school boards, themselves? Is this change beneficial to Utah's public school system?
I think state school board was just made partisan for this election. I am sick about it. Maybe it will be beneficial, but I can't see how. I am glad local boards are still nonpartisan.
Is there an unasked question you would love to answer? Please tell us about the issue you are passionate about that we have not touched upon.