Guest commentary: School Board candidate aims to bring an educator’s voice to room
I am running for the Aspen School Board because Aspen needs a professional educator’s voice in the boardroom. Raised in a family of teachers, I learned the value of public education at an early age and always wanted to become a teacher. I earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education, a Master of Arts Degree in Music and Theatre Education, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration. I began my career on Long Island, where I was a middle school choral conductor and director of the annual school musicals. My family was excited to move to Aspen in 1993 when I landed my dream job at Aspen Elementary School, enabling us to raise our daughter in a small town with a strong school system. I taught music and choir for 20 years and we consider ourselves very fortunate that our daughter attended the Aspen public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Since retiring in 2013, I’ve been actively involved in our community and our schools. I’ve worked as the assistant conductor for the elementary school choir and as a substitute teacher, and I continue to offer piano lessons to local children. I have deep roots in the community. I’ve enjoyed singing with the Aspen Choral Society since 1995 and have served on its board. I also volunteer at the Aspen Thrift Shop.
I believe I am uniquely qualified to provide an educator’s perspective that has been missing for too long. My tenure at Aspen Elementary gave me a deep appreciation for our dedicated and highly qualified staff, our small class sizes, our active community of parents, and our focus on educating the “whole child”. I am proud of our strengths as a district and mindful of the challenges we face. I understand how board policies and budget priorities play out in the classroom and can contribute to decisions that lead to positive outcomes for our students.
As a board member I would like to see our district focus on the following priorities:
— Our evolving response to Covid should follow the science, the advice of local health authorities, legal precedent and our best judgment to ensure a healthy school environment. Because we want our students to attend school in person, this currently means requiring masks in school buildings and encouraging vaccination.
— To attract and retain the best teachers, we must stay competitive with other mountain communities. We should compensate teachers well, expand housing options, and seek innovative ways to encourage staff longevity.
— We must strengthen core academics and arts programs, and align curriculum across the district. The expansion of the International Baccalaureate Program to the elementary and middle schools would be part of this process.
— To empower every student to reach their unique potential, we should continue the work of the district’s Equity Team to promote opportunity, access and inclusion.
— Open communication that invites the participation of all stakeholders is essential to a healthy district and community. We must continue to monitor and improve the district’s climate and culture. As board members we should listen to parent, staff and community concerns and strive to be models of respectful discourse and cooperative problem solving.
If you agree that our school board needs a representative who can bring classroom experience to the boardroom and a balanced approach to the decision making process, please vote for Stacey Weiss for Aspen School Board.
Editor’s note: There are six candidates running for three open seats on the Aspen Board of Education. The Aspen Times has offered each candidate a guest column of 600 words or less. The election is Nov. 2; ballots will be mailed out Oct. 8.
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