Thursday, April 18, 2024

Lake Chelan School District Board of Directors

Posted

Q&A Christy C Nielsen, Candidate

  1. Please briefly introduce yourself and tell our readers why you are running for a seat on the Chelan School District school board.

My name is Christy C Nielsen. I have lived in Chelan for 15 years. I recently retired after 17 years working as the pharmacist at Lake Chelan Hospital. I graduated from Omak High School then went on to earn my Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy & Doctor of Pharmacy from Washington State University. I earned additional credentials in Clinical Informatics from Johns Hopkins University. My education is one of my most valued assets. A robust public education for all students is one of the things that has made our country great. I have noted that trust & confidence in public education is being eroded. My goal is to support our local schools, students, teachers, administrators & support staff to provide a comprehensive education to our local children based on and trusting the professional expertise they bring to the table as educators.

 

  1. What professional or personal experiences and qualifications make you a suitable candidate for this role, and how do they relate to education and the school district's needs?

In my personal life I have been a life-long learner, a trait that was instilled in me by my parents & teachers I have had. I was the head of a department of a community hospital which gives me insight into stewardship of public resources & fiscal responsibility. I appreciated that LCH involved employees at all levels to promote financial literacy promoting understanding of our part in the financial success of the organization. I participated fully in the process of gaining public support & design of the replacement hospital for the community. 

 

  1. What do you see as the top three educational priorities for the Chelan School District, and how do you plan to address them if elected?
  1. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math)
  2. Safe & supportive learning environments, equity & inclusion
  3. Teacher recruitment & retention

 

  1. School budgets are a critical aspect of a school board's responsibility. How do you propose ensuring responsible financial management while maintaining educational excellence?

When working with funds that come from public sources sound stewardship is a mandate. Scarce resources should be wisely allocated to prioritize & maximize student achievement & well-being. I plan to engage with school administrators, teachers, staff & community members on issues around sound budgeting and monitoring of district resources, long-term financial planning for future needs, investment in technology to improve efficiencies and outcomes. In addition, working with entities at the local, state & federal level to ensure that the school funding is adequate to meet the needs of students in our district.

 

  1. How do you plan to actively engage with the community and solicit input from parents, teachers, and other stakeholders to make informed decisions?

There are many avenues to work with the members of our community that have a stake in educating our children not limited to regular attendance of school board meetings. I would encourage the continued use of modalities like the newsletter & social media presence. Personally, I would like to visit classrooms and to attend school events to get a better feel for how the schools work day to day. I am willing to make myself available to respectfully engage with any member of the public or staff on matters that pertain to my work on the school board. I will be open-minded & diligent in learning the role of an effective school board member.

  1. In an increasingly digital world, how do you propose integrating technology into the classroom to enhance learning while addressing potential challenges?

Effective use of technology requires several considerations: Infrastructure investment, personnel training, selection of  appropriate products & monitoring to ensure furtherance of educational goals & curriculum standards, implementing policies & procedures overseeing use of digital resources. Challenges include ethical use, digital literacy, overcoming the digital divide, monitoring screen time, evaluating the impact of deploying such resources in relationship to student outcomes. I have experience in deploying & maintaining technological resources in the health care setting.

  1. What steps will you take to promote equity and inclusivity in the Chelan School District, ensuring all students have equal access to a quality education?

Diversity, Inclusion and Equity should be a foundation for a public school. Schools are a microcosm of the society we live in & should reflect & support the diversity of those in our community. Policies & Procedures that support DIE initiatives, monitor for effectiveness using objective criteria. Support & accommodation of children w/disabilities in curriculum & facility accessibility. Provide for curriculum & resources that reflect diverse perspectives in learning materials.

  1. How do you plan to support and retain high-quality teachers and staff within the district?

Chelan is an expensive community to live and work in presenting challenges to recruit & retain teachers & staff. Ensure competitive & adequate compensation that reflects this reality. Support professional development, extend recognition & appreciation, ensure open & transparent communication between school board, administrators, teachers, staff, children & parents. I believe that it is critical to recognize & affirm the professional expertise of our teaching staff by listening & learning from their experiences & responding to their needs.

  1. Reflecting on the recent pandemic, what lessons have been learned, and how will you apply them to improve the district's response to future challenges?

As a health care provider, I understand the challenges of messaging when it comes to an evolving public health crisis. The pandemic’s impact on education required the rapid creation & implementation of alternative teaching models from in-person, hybrid & remote learning. This knowledge gain is useful going forward in case of future events, but also allowed an accelerated integration of technology in education that can be further explored & built upon. Communication, communication and more communication is required to keep everyone informed with timely and accurate information as well as to counteract misinformation. Engage the community resources to help meet student & family needs during a stressful circumstance including but not limited to mental health, access to technology & other resources especially to ensure underserved communities are not left behind.

  1. What is your long-term vision for the Chelan School District, and how do you intend to work with other school board members and administration to achieve it?

As a new school board member, I recognize that there will be a learning curve. I hope to communicate with more experienced board members, administrators & teachers to get up to speed & learn the mechanics of how to effectively engage for the benefit of the students & families of LCSD.

  1. School board members often must collaborate with other board members and district staff. How do you plan to foster a spirit of cooperation and teamwork?

Open, respectful and transparent communication is key to working with others to plan and achieve goals. I will do my best to carefully listen, to follow through on any commitments, to base my decisions on evidence and desired outcomes for the success of students. I work best in a culture of cooperation & will do my best to foster that with all the stakeholders as my prime focus & responsibility. I do not play zero-sum games.

  1. How will you ensure accountability and transparency in decision-making processes within the school board?

The structure of the school board calls for open meetings & provides for participation by the public to express concerns & views. Ensure that all guidelines & policies are carefully followed to ensure transparency and accountability. Review & update policies so they are relevant & effective. Regular updates & communications via the newsletter, social media, local media and other forms of community engagement and visibility. I also recognize I am accountable to the community & will willingly engage honestly & sincerely, according to ethical guidelines & policies, with other board members, administrators, staff, teachers, students, families & community members.

  1. In a few sentences, please summarize why voters should choose you as their representative on the Chelan School District school board.

Education has given me the tools that benefited my life both as a student and as a citizen. I want to pay it forward so the students of today can also benefit from a quality public education to cultivate their dreams and aspirations. Access to a comprehensive, quality public education is the right of every American child and has served our nation for generations.

 

These questions should provide a comprehensive view of your platform and vision for the Chelan School District, allowing our readers to make informed decisions in the upcoming election.

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