PPAA’s 2020 Candidate Endorsements: School Board Candidates Ready to Make Student-Centered Changes
By Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona | Sept. 2, 2020, 4:39 p.m.
The debate surrounding schools reopening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light just how powerful school district governing boards are. As a voter, you help elect governing board members for the school district in which you live. School board members are the unseen decision makers in your child’s schooling and have the power to shape your child’s education.
Some of their direct responsibilities include:
- Hiring the district superintendent
- Determining curriculum for schools (which stipulates how educators teach the state-determined standards, including sex education)
- Determining salaries of employees and creating and enforcing disciplinary policies for teachers and administrators
- Management of school property and acquisition of equipment and supplies
- Overseeing the district’s budget
And now, during this pandemic, they decide how and when kids return to school. PPAA is proud to endorse these elementary school board candidates who align with our issues, such as providing honest and accurate sex education, and are advocates for students and families during trying times. Your vote is crucial now more than ever this election season. Help us see these candidates to their respective governing boards this general election, November 3rd.
Phoenix Elementary School District
Quanta Crews is a mother of a Phoenix Elementary District student and has seen first hand how the voices of parents are essentially silenced when there are no parents with kids in the District serving on the School Board. Crews is looking to build relationships and make the District work for the students by taking into account their needs, outlook and future. Her goals are to increase financial support for educators, end criminalized disciplinary language and practices, and increase access to extra curricular activities across the district
Creighton Elementary School District
Creighton is one of the first school districts to have Planned Parenthood Arizona trained teachers use a comprehensive sex education curriculum and work with administrators and parents to institute a K-8 sex education and child safety program. As some champions are moving off the board, PPAA is looking to a slate of new champs to take over.
Heather Ayres is a lifelong Arizonan who has been an educator for over 20 years. She currently works in the Isaac School District as an elementary school teacher where she is the local President of the Arizona Education Association. She is actively involved in making sure teachers and staff have a positive work environment, which she believes ultimately benefits students. A proud product of public schools herself, Ayres is an advocate for the public school system.
Lindsey McCaleb has been an educator for 11 years, beginning on the Navajo Reservation. She even taught for the Creighton School District for five of those years. She is currently the Technology Coach for the Balsz School District. McCaleb has participated in many district committees, learning how to improve the district, implement initiatives, and create positive school cultures that promote high academic achievement. She also has experience and training as a Flipped teacher, which effectively integrates technology into instruction to enhance and extend student learning. McCaleb is focused on a data-driven goal-setting that aligns to a common vision, engages clear and collaborative communication, and organizes plans that prioritizes the needs of the stakeholders.
Sophia Ramirez is a mother of two school-aged children and works for Maricopa County Superior Court as a part-time social worker for children in foster care. Ramirez believes children have a voice that, at times, is silenced and believes in amplifying those voices. Ramirez is also a Precinct Committee Person for the Democratic Legislative District 24, a volunteer for Moms Demand Action, and on the Democratic Latino Outreach Committee. She was taught the value of hard work from a young age and is now taking it upon herself to create action in her community. Ramirez started with the Adios Arpaio campaign and blossomed from there. Her vision is to unify children, the community, and the district.
Kyrene Elementary School District
Wanda Kolomyjec is a former high school teacher, a small business owner, a professor at Arizona State University and a mom of three children who attended Kyrene schools.She is a proud supporter of public schools and a champion of children, teachers, and administrators who help contribute to a strong and inclusive community. Kolomyjec is another PPAA endorsed candidate who has witnessed firsthand school board leaders making decisions that are not always in the best interests of students or staff. She has decided to give back to her community by running to serve on the board.
Madison Elementary School District
Karen Gresham is a Phoenix native, born and raised, and a former Certified Public Accountant. She left accounting to focus on her three children, two of which are currently going through the Madison School District, and to volunteer in classrooms, on Parent Teacher Organization boards, for public education candidates and for other charitable organizations. Gresham has made a career of fundraising causes she supports and cares for. She is also a longtime supporter, volunteer, and donor to Planned Parenthood Arizona, and believes strongly in making sure students have access to honest, age-appropriate sex education.
Tags: Endorsement, school_closures, candidates, voting, Election Day, ElectionsMatter, general, november, school, schoolboard, Candidate Spotlight, Health Equity, elections, Election 2020, Election, Arizona