Candidates for Phoenixville Area School District School Board 2021

Phoenixville Community Education Foundation’s mission is inextricably linked to the mission of the Phoenixville Area School District. We believe that an informed and engaged community is vital to the success of our schools. To that end, we invited all candidates for the 2021 school board elections to provide information about themselves and their candidacy. We are sharing this information with our constituents to help them make informed decisions on election day.

Below we have posted the answers as given by each candidate, with no edits. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order. PCEF is nonpartisan and will offer no opinion on candidates. Our goal is to encourage voters to educate themselves and make an informed choice in the election.

Please note that May 18th is a primary election. Each party is choosing candidates who will go on to run in the general election in November. Not every candidate listed below is registered with both the Democratic and Republican parties. We encourage you to research which candidates will appear on your party’s ballot on May 18th. And please remember to vote!

Municipality of residence

Phoenixville Borough

Education and professional background

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from West Chester University. I have also earned a Master of Education degree in Literacy with a Reading Specialist certification. In addition, as an educator I participate in ongoing professional development about various aspects of education. I have worked as a special education teacher and general education teacher at the elementary level for 13 years.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to run for school board?

Growing up with parents who were public school teachers and then pursuing my own career in education has made public education a passion of mine. I am motivated to run for school board so that I have the opportunity to bring my own firsthand experiences and knowledge to continue to make Phoenixville Area School District a competitive school district that provides an equitable and engaging education to all students.

What do you see as the primary role of the school board?

The primary role of the school board is to collaborate with all members of the school district to guide district policy, set goals, and ensure that we are providing the best education for our community.

What would be your priorities for the school board, if elected?

If elected, my priority for the school board would be to collaborate with the members of our school district to ensure that we are providing an exceptional education that supports all students in the Phoenixville Area School District.

Municipality of residence

East Pikeland Twp

Education and professional background

We are truly an “education family.” My wife, Katie, is a special education teacher in the neighboring Owen J. Roberts School District. I handle media relations for Pearson, the world’s leading education company, where we have been working to make education more accessible and affordable for people in all phases of life. We have two children who will attend public schools in Phoenixville — our daughter will be entering kindergarten at the Early Learning Center in the fall and our son is 18 months old.

Previously, I worked on the communications teams for two elected officials who are passionate advocates for education — former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Congressman and now-Governor Jared Polis. During my time with Senator Lieberman and Governor Polis, I saw how important it is to put politics aside when dealing with education, and make decisions that are best for students and their families. I hope to bring this same passion and commitment to doing what is best for students to our community.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to run for school board?

This next year will be so important in minimizing any long term impacts from thedisruptions caused by Covid on students and families. I  believe our current School Board and administration have done an excellent job of navigating this unprecedented situation. With a number of current members choosing not to run for reelection, I want to make sure we have committed Board members who will build on this progress and make decisions to help keep our schools and students safe and moving forward.

What do you see as the primary role of the school board?

I believe the primary role of the school board is to provide the administration and teachers with the support, guidance, and resources they need to provide a world class education for our students. They also should foster open lines of communication with the community, both proactive and reactive, to ensure the value of a high-performing school district is appreciated by people who may not currently have school-age children

What would be your priorities for the school board, if elected?

If elected, I have six priorities that I would want to work with the Board and administration to achieve:

  1. Attract and maintain a world-class faculty through competitive salaries, supportive  leadership, and an environment that encourages and rewards creativity and innovation
  2. Diversify school leadership and staff
  3. Build out communications capabilities and strategy to highlight positive stories from around the district
  4. Give back to our local community, while helping students gain an appreciation of civics education and real world experience with volunteer and internship programs
  5. Revenue neutral reform of occupation tax
  6. Work with local governments to encourage smart growth to build tax base

Municipality of residence

I am a life-long Schuylkill Township resident.

Education and professional background

I attended Case Western Reserve University and received a BA in Art History with minors in Mathematics and Physics. I also did extensive elective coursework in Geology, Astronomy, and Computer Engineering. After school, I became an entrepreneur and launched Bryn and Friends Pet Care LLC, a service offering a wide variety of personalized, reliable, flexible, and convenient in-home pet care solutions.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to run for school board?

I have no children of my own yet, but talking to friends and neighbors, I have heard first hand the struggles that our students have faced this past year. Hearing their stories and concerns has inspired me to step up and serve our community by running for school board.

What do you see as the primary role of the school board?

To me, the primary role of the school board is threefold: the board should advocate for students, support teachers, and listen to parents.

What would be your priorities for the school board, if elected?

If elected, my first priority will always be to put students first and to empower teachers to do the same. Right now, the most important things that we can do to achieve this are to focus on helping all students safely transition back to in-person learning and on ensuring that our schools remain open and sports and extracurricular activities continue as normal. In addition, I will prioritize students by working to keep politics out of education, using the model that schools should teach students “how to think, not what to think.”

Municipality of residence

Schuylkill Township

Education and professional background

BS Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M
MA Mathematics, West Chester

I started professional life as a petroleum engineer, then spent several years as a trailing military spouse, part-time web designer and piano teacher, and full-time parent before going back to graduate school. I currently teach mathematics at West Chester University.

My husband Mike and I have lived in Schuylkill Township for 20 years. Both of our children attended PASD schools. My son (PAHS Class of 2013) attended Schuylkill and PAMS in the old buildings and construction trailers, then went on to earn an electrical engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh. My daughter (PAHS Class of 2018) was one of the first students in the new buildings and is now in her third year at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to run for the school board?

I want the best possible education for students in my community. I served as a parent volunteer in the district for many years (if you attended any of Mr. Wilson’s concerts at Schuylkill, you probably heard me playing the piano), and now that my children are grown, I can serve in a different capacity. I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in Fall 2020 and am currently serving as chair of the policy committee.

What do you see as the primary role of the school board?

My role on the board is to work with other members to get the business of the district done in a professional manner that reflects the needs of students and families and priorities of the community. This includes working with administration on district goals, regular review of policies to make sure they are in line with these goals and overseeing the district budget.

What would be your priorities for the school board, if elected?

  1. Focus on the end goal: improve graduation rate and make sure PASD students are prepared for life after high school, particularly STEM competency.
  2. Address challenges caused by the pandemic: allocate resources to identify and appropriately address student and staff needs (academic supports, mental health, technology, etc.)
  3. Look to the future: succession planning for top administration, future facility / technology needs and associated costs, financial health of the district, etc.

Municipality of residence

Schuylkill Township

Education and professional background

BBA Temple University; Currently pursuing an MBA from Temple University. Realtor for 11 years. Prior to that my experience is in business administration and social services/adult training programs.

Is there a particular issue that motivates you to run for the school board?

I have personally experienced the challenges faced by parents and students because of the pandemic. The current board has done a great job of navigating the unknowns. And I would like to build on their foundation and continue the work it takes to lead our district to a position of advancement.

What do you see as the primary role of the school board?

The primary role of the school board is to ensure that our district resources are allocated appropriately, fostering a vision that is inclusive of our community/student body. Providing an environment in which all students have an opportunity to thrive and grow into productive citizens in our society.

What would be your priorities for the school board, if elected?

My priorities would be ensuring that students and teachers/administration are supported with the resources needed to recover from the effects of the pandemic and focus on advancing the Phoenixville District into the future.

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