On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly District 9 and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education District 8. To help inform voters, the Homer News will introduce the candidates, show their answers to a group of questions and give them an opportunity to make their pitch on why you should elect them. This week, we share point of views from the candidates.
Absentee in person voting is now open at the Homer City Clerk’s office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Election Day is 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5.
Borough School Board, District 8
Current District 8 school board member Mike Illg’s seat also is up for election. He has chosen not to run for re-election.
District 8 includes the city of Homer and Kachemak City.
The candidates are:
When our family moved to homer ten years ago, we knew we wanted to invest our time and our interests into actively being involved parents and community members. Along with our business partners, we started a Support Vessel marine business that has grown and now employs 30 people and supports many of our local businesses year round.
Our four children have been students at Chapman, Paul Banks, West Homer and are currently in Homer Middle School and Homer High School. Throughout my children’s academic career I have volunteered in their classrooms, on field trips and in every one of the PTA, PTO and booster clubs at each school. I started West Homer’s annual talent show and spaghetti dinner fundraiser. This gave me an opportunity to coach each participating student on their talent entry for several weeks prior to the show so each presenter was confident and prepared. Five years ago, with my boys, I started the annual tradition of making homemade cards and flowers to present to each middle school girl on Valentine’s Day. I am proud that this tradition continues today.
I love to sing and perform and my children have enjoyed performing and volunteering in many Homer productions. I taught voice lessons and created Homer’s youth and children’s choir. When HCOA decided not to do their annual Jubilee, I rallied other passionate volunteers and created another performing arts show called Kaleidoscope to continue to give kids the opportunity to perform and share their talents. When a second year of prom and celebrations were cancelled at our local high school, I organized volunteers that fundraised and carried out an incredible outdoor senior night and junior/senior prom for 190 kids so these kids could celebrate their accomplishments and end the year on a positive note.
I have always been passionate about our youth in this community. I am a hard worker and I’ve never backed down from a challenge. Now, more than ever, our school board needs parents who have children currently in the schools that are directly affected by the decisions being made. A school board functions best when it is represented by a diverse group of stakeholders. I am willing to serve you and our district with parental input that is invaluable during this unprecedented, difficult time.
The world changed 18 months ago and if you do not currently have children/teenagers in your home dealing with these challenges, I encourage you to reach out to a few families that do before you vote. This year has had a personal effect on everyone. We do not fully understand the extent of the damage caused by lockdowns, isolations, strict mandates, inconsistent schooling and cancelations of their sports, music, social gatherings and celebrations. The increase in depression and anxiety with our youth is very real. Their mental health needs to be a priority moving forward.
We need to heal and build trust again between parents, students, teachers and the administration. We need to unify and better communicate the unique challenges impacting our children to give them consistency and the best opportunities in education that Alaska has to offer. Please contact me with any questions or for discussing any concerns and be well informed before you vote October 5th 907-299-7442.
While attending a middle school event last week I ran into some 40-year-old ex-students who had children in middle school. These kinds of community events always come full circle for me, as I’ve seen so many generations pass through our local school systems. Most of these students left upon graduation, developed careers, had families, and at some point chose to move back to Homer for one underlying reason: our schools and the community. What a tribute to the school, the “Crown Jewel” of our community. I’m proud to still frequent these circles and run into folks who approach me, share their lives, introduce their now-school-age children, and continue my long-held passion of showing up for students and families.
The tradition of a “school community” was a value they vocalized, sharing this familiar bond with their children. Schools have to become the unifying pillar for residents. We need safe, attractive schools to be open and accessible for everyone regardless of age and personal bias. We need to start the dialogue and model civil discussion to help our students understand the diversity of ideas that make our country strong.
To limit a school board election to a single-issue debate marginalizes the true complexity of making a school district strong. Quality instruction, appropriate curriculum, budgets,
extra-curricular interests, basic competency requirements, home-to-school communication, and work-ready vocational education programs are important topics we needed to discuss. Somehow we have lost dialogue of those topics for a politically-charged, social-media-driven frenzy that has put the main talking points smoldering on the back burner.
My main goals for the school board would be:
1. Get students in school as soon and safe as possible
2. Develop a quality strategic plan to help guide future decision making.
3. Pick an instructional goal for students at all levels.
(ie. competent age-appropriate reading and writing skills)
4. Develop communication systems at all levels
(ie. Borough Assembly to School Board; Borough Maintenance to school
5. Create community partnerships that bring more resources into our schools to meet community needs
As a district we need to prioritize learning outcomes for students at each level. Elementary students need to know how to read, no exceptions. Middle school students need to formulate a sense of self as that fits into a larger group, have basic literacy and math skills, with exposure to elective classes that create school buy-in. High schools need to quit catering to
for-profit colleges, and develop a renewed interest in vocational programs that create the best and highest-paying jobs in our local communities.
Finally, I encourage all people to get out and vote on October 5th. This is your opportunity to choose an experienced, knowledgeable, and unifying long-time educator, so that future generations may experience a quality education. Never before has your voice been so necessary to identify where your vision is for our schools, and for our greater community. Your vote will guarantee the vision we have for these “Crown Jewels” to develop, grow, and prosper within our town.