Why are you seeking reelection to the KC Public School Board?
I am seeking reelection to the Kansas City School Board for the At Large seat because I want to continue the press forward on KCPS’s work toward regaining full accreditation. Accreditation represents a major milestone for our educators and families, and the city overall. Student-focused board governance, stable district leadership and a talented superintendent have helped KCPS implement systems for continuous improvements. I’m also passionate about expanding internships and community learning experiences for our high school students to prepare them for college and career – and I’m prepared to help bring in more business partners to assist. As a longtime KCPS parent and champion for public education, I’m proud of the role I’ve played in recruiting a top-tier superintendent, strengthening neighborhood schools and making sure students have the tools they need to grow – and I look forward to keeping this momentum going.
What are your immediate priorities?
Achieving full accreditation from the State of Missouri, a goal we have been driving toward for the past 7 years;
Recruiting and retaining Black, Latinx and other teachers of color through targeted recruitment efforts within and outside of the region, and through expansion of our “Grow Your Own” program;
Tackling persistent underperformance in KCPS schools that need additional instructional resources and community and social supports to meet students’ needs;
Expanding community internship opportunities for students through our College and Career Readiness efforts so that KCPS students become this city’s talent pipeline for future careers.
What are your long-term goals for KCPS?
Push academic achievement to higher levels at all grades – and make sure students have access to extracurricular programs that keep them motivated and engaged in school.
Build strong connections between our schools and neighborhoods so that residents regain confidence in their neighborhood schools and come back to lend support for students.
Work with community leaders to seek a levy that can help KCPS upgrade its buildings and provide students programs and environments that can meet their future learning needs.
Why are you running for school board?
I am running for school board because I am a quality public education advocate and product of this district. I am also a mom of two children who will be students in the district for the next fifteen years. I hope to be able to amplify the voices of parents as partners in improving outcomes for children. I celebrate the growth that we’ve seen in the district over the last few years and believe that there is still a great deal of opportunity to strengthen the district. With sixteen years of supporting young people in education, I want to use my experience, energy, and fresh perspective along with community perspective as a champion to fight for kids in our community.
How have you previously been involved in the district?
I currently serve as the Executive Director of Kauffman Scholars Inc. (KSI), a postsecondary success and scholarship program. KSI has supported thousands of students and families in navigating the journey to and through education beyond high school and into careers. Many of the students that Kauffman Scholars has served are KCPS students. During my early years at KSI, I was a College Advisor to hundreds of students and worked closely with various KCPS counselors, students, and administration to better serve students. From a volunteer standpoint, I also served three years as a Coach for Girls on The Run at Faxon Elementary. I selected this site because I understand the importance of representation and wanted to impact young girls who could themselves reflected in me.
What are your immediate priorities?
I am concerned about the lasting impacts of COVID-19 and what becomes our new normal. My immediate priorities are related to a full re-opening for in-person learning balanced by those who will still engage in virtual learning. Students were not in person for a full year as we navigated the pandemic. My concern is how we account for learning losses and also allocating resources to support the socio-emotional and wellness needs of students and teachers. Additional priorities are improving student outcomes beyond accreditation once achieved and creating structure to engage with stakeholders beyond this election cycle.
What are your long term goals for KCPS?
My long term goal is a laser like focus on improving student outcomes for all kids at all schools. There is currently an opportunity gap between the most marginalized student populations (special needs, low-income, brown, and black students) and white students. I understand that it will take relentless work and time to close this gap. I intend to be a constant drum beat that improving students is forever work and is our ultimate goal as a district. This will be our journey until every student at every school is receiving a high quality education experience with high levels of learning and achievement.
The election for Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) Board of Directors is on April 6. KCPS is guided by a seven-member Board of Directors elected by the district’s residents. The Board of Directors has many duties including governance, monitoring the use of financial and human resources, education planning and evaluation, appointing the chief administrator and the Superintendent of Schools, and facilities management. KCPS is geographically divided into five sub-districts, each with an elected in-district representative. There are also two at-large positions. Board member and Treasurer Manny Abarca of sub-district 3, which represents Northeast Kansas City, is running unopposed. Tanesha Ford is running against current at-large board member Patti Mansur. This week, they spoke with The Northeast News about their priorities heading into the election.