On the Issues
Addressing these issues inspired me to run for office. I'm eager to hear from and work with our community members to best represent Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Why am I Running?
I am running for Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education because our schools are strongest when we foster community involvement through open communication, transparency and inclusiveness. With my background as a clinician, an educator and researcher, I know how crucial it is to use critical thinking and analytical skills to evaluate and address issues that are faced in the education system. As a child of refugees whose family struggled to get to where we are now, I know how racism and inequalities can impact children and adults at their core. Community centered schools can provide the support and guidance for people of color, underrepresented and marginalized religious groups. I am passionate about addressing the issues facing our city and public schools, especially surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism, transparency and curriculum assessment.
What issues are important to me?
Ann Arbor Public Schools have many strengths that other districts do not have, and that includes the diverse representation of people and expertise, the strong teachers and staff, and the strong academics. It is amazing to see all the different representations of people, from refugees to people of color to various religious groups. It is also wonderful to see strong advocates for our children, who are the teachers. Ann Arbor Public Schools also has room to grow and progress to an improved and new level of education. The challenges facing Ann Arbor Public Schools include issues surrounding community engagement, open communication, opportunity gaps in education, and diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism.
Facing the Issues:
I will strive to foster community input and discussions at all levels.
Getting input from all members of our community is not just based on surveys and open comments at board meetings. This must be true engagement of all members of the community. These members include students, families, teachers, staff, alumni, community partners such as the University of Michigan, local and state representatives, and administration. There must be multiple modes of community input, including outreaches, focus groups, school visits from Trustees, phone calls and other methods of communication. But the crucial part of fostering community input is to ensure that all members of our community feel inclusiveness, transparency, and part of the decision-making process. As a researcher and clinician, I have worked with many different people and professionals with various opinions and perspectives. I am a strong collaborator, I am an engaged listener, and through my experiences throughout my life, I can relate to many of the members of the community. I bring a unique perspective as a refugee, a person of color, a person of a marginalized religious group, a child that was in poverty, a scientist, an educator and a healthcare worker. As your Trustee, I will ensure all voices are heard and addressed.
Open Communication, Transparency, and Inclusiveness
I am committed to ensure open communication, transparency and inclusiveness of the schools to provide social, emotional and educational support to all members of our community.
We need to not only share the decisions made by the district, but we need to also communicate the reasons behind these decisions. Most importantly, we need to keep in mind that decisions are not static and allow for open lines of communication among the administrators and community, and ongoing reassessment of the decisions made. I am a believer of being open to constructive feedback to grow as a leader and a community member. In the end, we are serving all the members of the community.
Opportunity Gaps in Education
We must analyze and address opportunity gaps in education to ensure consistency throughout the district.
We need to evaluate student learning, teacher resources and development, student resources and support, and other factors such as the inequities, especially in people of color, refugees, and other underserved populations. As a researcher, clinician and educator, I have strong critical thinking and analytical skills that can help assess opportunity gaps in education and factors associated with these gaps. Based on the data, I plan to implement interventions and initiatives that can address these gaps and provide increased resources and support, such as dedicated time for teachers for development/training and extra tutoring for struggling students.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism
We must analyze diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism (DEIA) needs and implement sustainable interventions to ensure these needs are addressed.
The pandemic brought to light the opportunity gaps and inequities, especially in people of color, refugees, people of marginalized religious groups and other underrepresented populations. Unfortunately, these issues were happening long before the pandemic. It is time that we truly address these issues with leadership that can take action and involve all members of the community to provide input and actionable goals. We also need to create an environment that fosters inclusiveness, especially evaluating the curriculum, extracurricular activities, resources, the hiring process of teachers/staff, childcare, preschools and support. Addressing issues related to DEIA is a priority and we need to act now to support our students, families, teachers, and staff that are the most vulnerable. As your Trustee, I will make it a priority to address issues related to DEIA and put these concerns of our community above all in the decisions that I make on the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education.
What do I bring to the table?
Throughout my career, I have been involved in addressing these issues through:
Developing student organizations and faculty, staff and student support regarding DEIA initiatives and awareness.
Developing and analyzing curriculum and innovative skill based learning.
Utilizing critical thinking in addressing opportunity gaps in education and implementing innovative interventions and research studies.
Advocating for people of color, underrepresented groups, and marginalized religious groups.
My experiences and expertise will be an asset to the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education.