The Coronado Times is conducting short interviews with all candidates for Coronado Unified School District board of trustees. All candidates have received the same six questions and the answers are in their own words; each candidate is invited to share photos; interviews are published in the order received. November 8, 2022 is election day.
Q: What experience will you bring to the school board?
A: I have a unique historical perspective of Coronado; I was born in Coronado and my family has been in Coronado for four generations. I attended Village Elementary, Coronado Middle School, graduated from Coronado High School (CHS) and then from San Diego State University. I have a vested stake in Coronado as I am a homeowner and the proud parent of three sons, the youngest of whom is a recent CHS graduate (2021). I am currently a member of the Coronado Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Coronado. I have always believed in giving back to my community and was CHS Football Board President for four years, served on the Islander Sports Foundation Board for two years and was an active PTO member. I own and operate a small business in Coronado, so I am well aware of the need to operate within a budget, support all involved stakeholders and consider the stresses that the pandemic has put on all of our community. My experience in fiscal management and responsibility, my family values, and deep ties to Coronado all make me a highly qualified candidate for this position.
Q: In your mind, what are the biggest challenges facing CUSD today?
A: Despite the superhuman effort of our teachers, staff, administration, parents and students, the pandemic created challenges for our students and staff that must be addressed. We need to ensure that every one of our stakeholders have the information, inspiration, resources and tools that they need to create and support a healthy and high-functioning learning environment. Status quo is easy to cling to but we need to go ‘above and beyond’ to bring our students and teaching staff back to the excellence that Coronado is known for.
Q: What is something CUSD does well?
A: CUSD was recently named the number one K-12 school district in San Diego County based on graduation rates, student-teacher ratio, spending per student and attendance and suspension rates. This is not only an outstanding representation of our town and community but also a reason for our high real estate values. This excellence is only possible with the collaborative hard work and amazing dedication of our teachers, staff, administration, parents and students. We as a community and school district value hard-work, mentorship, connection and honoring tradition. It is this that keeps families thriving in Coronado for multiple generations.
Q: How do you feel about local control?
A: Coronado residents should have power in Coronado. We have a unique school district in San Diego County and therefore, local control is fundamental to our successful education system. It is always important to work with state and federal leaders but I’m a homeowner, a small business owner and parent and I know that a national datapoint may or may not be relevant to what’s happening in Coronado. I welcome collaboration with state and elected leaders and critical advocacy groups and my door will always be open to them, but at the end of the day, the buck stops with local parents.
Q: What is your stance on social-emotional learning? Do you think that teaching children empathy, responsible decision making and emotional awareness is important in schools?
A: Happy, successful young adults must be able to regulate their feelings, work well with others, make responsible decisions and cultivate trusting, positive relationships. These skills need to be modeled, taught and reinforced. All students deserve a school environment that fosters a sense of acceptance and one that is free of bullying or harassment. I trust educators and parents to work together to find the appropriate experiences and curriculum that will ensure that Coronado students are well rounded citizens with the necessary life skills for success in school, work and life.
Q: As you must be aware, school board meetings can be contentious, but it’s important for board members to work together. Do you think you are good at building consensus? Please provide an example if possible.
A: Not only does the School Board need to work well together, it must also work well with teachers, staff, parents, students and the Coronado Community. The only way for that to happen is to communicate in a civil and productive manner with all stakeholders and to have full transparency with the community it serves. Sometimes that means carefully considering opposing opinions and sometimes it means pausing to collect more information before making a decision. But it always means communicating with the community it serves about the issue at hand, the process of evaluating all potential outcomes and any decisions rendered.
As the owner and operator of Island Yoga Coronado, I work with students, teachers, staff, vendors, federal and state agencies to coordinate a smooth, well run studio. Also, working with the CHS football team for six years (four years as booster president) and the Islander Sports Foundation gave me a huge amount of experience working with all stakeholders, proposing options and creating consensus, much like a school board member.