2016 School Board Candidate questions
1. Describe your involvement/participation in the arts and cultural activities in Juneau.
a. How many times per year do you attend or participate in an arts and cultural event?
I attend events approximately four times per year.
b. What types of events do you attend or participate in?
I enjoy attending Theater in the Rough, music showcases, events for Folk Fest at the State Office Building, and my family always tries to get out to see the Nutcracker.
c. Are you currently a member of any Juneau arts organization(s)? Which one(s)?
2. What role do the performing, visual and literary arts have in education?
I am of the opinion that the arts are an essential part of an effective education. It is easy to agree on the value of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) focused curriculum, but I feel that this acronym should include the “A” for Arts so we have a STEAM focused curriculum instead. Early in my education I was presented with the opportunity to play bass clarinet. Music excited me and stoked creativity I would carry into other disciplines. I was also involved with theater, and that boosted my confidence and improved my public speaking. My participation in school radio shaped my skills at forming effective messages. It think all of these types of experiences better prepare students to deal with how life operates after high school. Music, theater, and art engage parts of our brain that enhance creativity, independence, and critical thinking.
3. Arts programs and art instruction in schools frequently are viewed as frills, with budget cuts reflecting that. What are your priorities in setting budgets for school programs and how do you determine them?
I see great value in funding the fine arts, as our structured learning environments are enhanced by its incorporation. My priorities will be first in funding the classroom curriculum, including the arts, and then working on how we can support the schools on the administrative side. As the person responsible for the DOR budget, I am familiar with finding efficiencies in administration while shielding core program functionality.
4. Juneau has been selected as one of fifteen sites nationwide to participate in the Any Given Child program. Are you familiar with the program and Juneau’s involvement? What role can the school board play in making this program a success?
While I am familiar with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts program, I am not familiar with how far down the path of implementation Juneau has gone. It is clear to me that a program such as this that supports K-8 full access to the arts should be bolstered by the School Board. If elected to the board I would propose that we have incremental meetings with our community liaison and Arts Team so we can better facilitate implementation during the phases of the program. Even at a time of shrinking budgets, the School Board could consider allocating existing space and materials to be used throughout the program cycle.
5. The Juneau School District recently received a Margaret A. Cargill Foundation “Artful Teaching” grant to work in collaboration with the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council and the University of Alaska SE to prepare new and emerging teachers to build the arts education opportunities in Juneau’s schools. What impact do you see this long-term grant having on the Juneau Schools, and what role does the school board play in that?
Grant money is a gift to our children and the community. I feel the School Board should view any grant in that light, and treat it with the care and appreciation it deserves. When you prepare new and emerging teachers with the skill set to incorporate arts in education, the long term effect may change the culture of education in Juneau at a foundational level. When the arts are widely accepted in our community as a building block for future career success in any field, we will have done a great service to our current and future students of Juneau.
6. Other thoughts or comments?
You can count on my support for the arts if elected to the school board, and I hope you will consider voting for me on October 4th. Thank you!