I am very proud of my accomplishments and the efforts I have made these last four years.
I promised that I would visit schools and listen to stakeholders to ensure their voices were heard. I have done that, not always with the exact outcomes I anticipated but I worked to best resolve the concerns that meet the needs of the majority.
I have visited numerous schools in the entire district and have made multiple visits to schools that needed my attention. I listen to all stakeholders at the school – teachers, support staff and administrators – to see how we can effectively make changes. Many times this has meant meeting with the parents and community as well to receive their input.
I have made myself available to the people of Pinellas County. I return phone calls quickly and even take on tasks that are not my responsibility. I have helped several families find housing so their children have a safe and secure environment. I believe that every child deserves a place to call home so that they have the foundation to be successful in school. I found that it is difficult for our citizens to find Section 8 housing and stable shelters for families that are homeless. I have learned how to navigate my way through this to help people. I served on the Homeless Leadership Board for Pinellas County for two years and that gave me a tremendous amount of knowledge that I am using to help those in need.
I am serving my fourth year as the Board Rep on the ESE Advisory Committee. This is a group of parents, teachers, administrators and community agencies. This group listens to concerns of how to make sure we are educating our special needs students to the best of our ability. This is an issue that is so close to my heart. I was a special education teacher for over 33 years and I am a parent of a child with special needs. I am here to help parents navigate the sometime overwhelming process of obtaining the services their child needs.
I am currently sitting of the Pinellas County Safety Committee. After the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, I felt that my teaching and administrative experience had given me the necessary skills to contribute to this committee. I even went to classes that were offered to the staff and I felt were just as important for me to take.
I am currently the co-chairman for the Pinellas County School Board. I feel that I have the ability to bring people together and encourage their voices to be heard.
I am a member of the Florida School Board Association and am almost done getting board certified. This training has taught me how to use my voice respectfully yet firmly to make sure our districts needs are being heard in Tallahassee. I was recently voted to be the Advocacy Representative for PCS in FSBA.
I have joined the Martin Luther King Jr Scholarship and Event Foundation in Tarpon Springs. I feel strongly that the local youth should get involved and understand what Dr. King stood for. I have made sure that the schools have participated in the festivities, including my family. Tarpon Springs is a wonderful example of how a community and the schools can work together to grow a strong foundation for our children.
One of the major concerns I had in 2016 was that parts of Clearwater, Dunedin, and Tarpon Springs were being overlooked. I worked with several people including Commissioner Heather Gracy and the principals of Dunedin schools to address citizens’ concerns and advocate for suggested changes. Through this I started working with a few realtors asking questions to see what home buyers in our area were looking for. With that I went to Dr. Grego and Growing Greatness in Dunedin began. Garrison-Jones has a Dual Language Program that has received state attention and we are working on growing this program so kids can stay with it all the way through high school and graduate with a dual diploma. All of the Dunedin schools have developed videos that anyone can access to see what Dunedin schools are about. I am not going to stop here. I think each area of our county should have this so potential buyers to our area know what we offer in our school district.
I also worked to help Elisa Nelson Elementary in Palm Harbor become a reality. North County needed a gifted and literacy program. It was also important to the community to see the building come back to life after tragedy and enhance their area.
I now have over 37 years with Pinellas County Schools. This is my community that I have raised my kids in. We have a daughter at USF in the Honors Program, graduate of the IB at Palm Harbor University High School. We have a son who will be a junior at Dunedin High School. I am a member of PTSA and SAC. I was formerly the secretary of PTSA at Palm Harbor. My husband Robert continues to teach mathematics at Osceola Middle School and is beginning his twenty-eighth year of teaching. His is a veteran of the U.S. military.
Although I am proud of my accomplishments, there is much work left to be done. We are living in challenging times however I feel that with the input of the community we as a county can work to determine lasting solutions. I look forward to continuing to serve this county and seeing our Pinellas community grow.