Jessica L Johnson
1. Why are you running for the school board? In your opinion, what is the most important role of a board member?
I’m running for school board to assist in putting the focus back on academics, beginning with reading proficiently. The academic success of all our children is the future.
The most important role of a board member is to put in place a vision and strategy that ensures high academic achievement in the communities’ children.
2. Why are you seeking our endorsement? What does the endorsement of our unions mean to you personally?
I have no interest in receiving the endorsement of any union, as they are not who I will be sworn to serve come January.
3. How has your racial identity shaped and informed your world view? How are you actively working to expand your own racial and cultural lens?
My identity is much more complex than either the heritage of my ancestors or the pigmentation of my skin. We are one human race and identity is defined by an immeasurable number of experiences that no two humans share.
4. As described by the Minnesota School Boards Association, what does governance mean to you in terms of board work and the role of the school board members?
Governance as it pertains to school board members means setting the policies, standards, goals and rules of measurement to which our communities’ children are educated. In doing so, they must develop methods of collecting input from the community and parents on their priorities in education. They then are tasked with establishing a clear strategic plan or vision and hiring a Superintendent to implement it in district schools.
5. What has been your personal involvement or knowledge regarding unions and collective bargaining? How would you, as a school board member, interact with union leadership?
The experience and knowledge of unions I have is limited to trade unions. The concept, however, is the same. A union membership is established to protect the employment interest of its members. As an elected school board member, my interaction with union leadership will be limited to conversations revolving around the details of employment of union members or collective bargaining.
6. Share examples of systemic and institutional racism that you have experienced or observed in Stillwater public schools. How will you work toward dismantling those barriers?
If the union has evidence that systemic or institutional racism is occurring within our district, please share. I would work with the other board members to put an end to it if found to be true.
7. How do you think decisions should be made that impact curriculum, assessment, staffing, and school management? What are the roles of teachers, paraprofessionals, and administration in these decisions? What is the role of the school board in these decisions?
Curriculum, assessment, staffing and school management are left to the Superintendent within the scope of the board established Strategic plan and district policies. Input from administration should be sought by the Superintendent, through their respective chains of command, and considered when implementing.
8. How do you define collaboration? What would collaboration among your fellow board members look like to you?
The labor of working together for a common goal. With agreement from fellow board members, we would identify issues, set goals for correcting issues and then work together on a path to obtaining said goals.
9. What steps would you take to actively work on trust-building with each of these groups? a) District administration; b) District staff including paraprofessionals, custodians, food service workers, counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, secretaries, school bus drivers, early childhood educational assistants, community education staff, technology support staff, nurses, and teachers; c) District students and families, including racially, culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse students and families; d) Fellow board members; e) Our community at large.
I will build trust by communicating openly and honestly. By showing through actions that I will follow through on commitments. By leading by example with empathy and compassion.
10. Describe current and future initiatives that you feel are priorities for our district.
Obtaining grade level reading, math and science proficiency in a safe and welcoming learning environment for all. Once obtained, I would look to the community for initiatives they deem a priority such as facilities updates, specialized courses, etc.
11. Thinking about the next five years, there are bound to be economic challenges facing public education in Minnesota and in our district. How do you propose to address these economic challenges?
By proactively minimizing spending.