Oakwood School Board
As a district that prides itself on excellence, we look forward to supporting our teachers and staff as they work toward making our schools the best they can be.
To us, this means fostering a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environment as we believe this is most conducive for learning and growth. We also believe that it’s important for students to learn how to engage in civil and respectful discourse with one another and how to thoughtfully consider different perspectives. This will not only benefit them in their personal lives but will help them to be successful citizens in the very diverse world in which we live. We also hope to intentionally grow and support diverse faculty, staff, and students to our schools.
Meet the Candidates
Oakwood school board
As a long time Oakwood resident and product of the Oakwood school system, I look forward to the opportunity to give back by serving our schools and community on the Oakwood School Board. As a parent of children in the school system, I care about maintaining academic excellence in our schools, while also making essential improvements. I look forward to supporting our teachers, staff, and students in all that they do, including the work they’re doing to make our schools as welcoming and inclusive as they can be. I also value hearing about parents’ experiences and will take those perspectives into consideration when making decisions that affect our students.
I have devoted my career to helping children reach their potential. I am honored to be running for the Oakwood Board of Education where I can put my experience and talent to work for our school district so that every student can thrive. I am committed to maintaining excellence in our schools and fostering progress and innovation. Furthermore, as a parent of two children in the Oakwood school district, I am strongly invested in the success and well-being of our schools.
As a lifelong educator I am excited to bring my classroom perspective and passion for another four years to the Oakwood School Board. I bring a practical, hands-on classroom perspective of how school policies and procedures impact students, staff, and the community. I am ready for the next four years!
Our Shared Values
oakwood school board
Our common goal while running for Oakwood BOE is to maintain and advance a high level of academic excellence in our schools.
We support and promote programs that maintain and advance this academic excellence. This includes supporting what our schools already do well in addition to encouraging and extending innovative programs, teaching methods, materials and equipment, enrichment activities, and community partnerships.
An excellent school district offers each student the opportunity to reach their highest potential. Thus, we believe in excellence for everyone, regardless of ability. We are committed to making sure that Oakwood provides an inclusive, accessible learning environment for students with a diverse range of abilities.
While we know that Oakwood strives to meet the unique needs of all learners, we also know that parents of special needs students have not always felt heard in this district. We are committed to changing that.
We encourage parents of students with special needs to voice their concerns and we support initiatives to provide teachers with high-quality, relevant training on how to teach students with learning disabilities.
By working together and listening to each other, we can create a more inclusive – and excellent – school environment for all our students including those with special needs.
We are pleased with Oakwood School Board’s recent formation of an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Task Force as well as the publication of the school’s EDI website, which shares information and resources on these topics.
As a district that prides itself on excellence, we look forward to supporting our teachers and staff as they work toward making our schools the best they can be. To us, this means fostering a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environment as we believe this is most conducive for learning and growth.
We also believe that it’s important for students to learn how to engage in civil and respectful discourse with one another and how to thoughtfully consider different perspectives as this will not only benefit them in their personal lives but will help them to be successful citizens in the very diverse world in which we live.
We also hope to intentionally grow and support diverse faculty, staff, and students to our schools.
Another area that is especially important to us is the social and emotional well being and education of students, faculty, and staff.
We support initiatives, training, and programs that support social and emotional health and education. This includes providing support to students and staff as well as promoting resilience and building on strengths.
We support the promotion and education of social and emotional skills that include relationship and community building, perspective taking, empathy, decision making, and flexible thinking. These skills are not only important in developing rich and rewarding lives for our students, but they are essential for students when they enter an ever-changing, globally connected, and diverse workforce.
We also support decisions based on science and data. We listen to experts in their respective areas, and we rely on their recommendations. We recognize that many situations are nuanced, and it is important to take into consideration various aspects of any situation.
Our primary mode of decision making is science based and data driven. As an example of this, we applaud the current Oakwood Board of Education for requiring masking for our elementary schools during the ongoing pandemic.
We are grateful that the Board followed the CDC’s recommendations, at least at the elementary level, to best serve our collective student body, the faculty and staff, and our community.
Another value on which we are running is improved transparency and communication between the community and the school district.
While we appreciate Oakwood school district’s social media presence, we know that clear communication and transparency of decisions (to have the why/how a decision was made and not just the what the decision is) are essential.
Moreover, we believe there should be more and better opportunities for parents and community members to share concerns with the district.
oakwood school board
Serving on the school board is a big responsibility. Board members must understand the values of their community and the needs of the students. They must also have high standards for academic success and be versed in best practices for student achievement. That is why I believe that Lauren Kawai, John Wilson, and Laura Middleton are right for the school board.
These three candidates all have backgrounds in education. They understand that when educators talk about the importance of equity, they do not mean equality in outcomes (as another candidate framed the issue in her letter to The Oakwood Register), they mean equity in opportunity to flourish. Equity in opportunity involves insuring that all students get the support they need to reach their full potential, whether they are gifted in some area or have an intellectual disability, whether they more typical in the neurocognitive functioning or more divergent.
Lauren, Laura, and John also understand that teaching for diversity and inclusion does not mean teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT), which is not typically taught in K-12 schools. It means teaching with the understanding that students come into the classroom with different experiences, backgrounds, talents, and challenges, and that students learn best when they can draw on their own experiences and access the lessons in a variety of ways. Another candidate is on record for urging the Oakwood school board to rethink the diversity training that faculty and staff receive, and focus instead on academic achievement and fact-based learning. Yet academic achievement cannot be divorced from attention to diversity and inclusion.
I am an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I have been teaching students there for 17 years. I can say unequivocally that teaching for academic success with high standards for achievement go hand and hand with teaching with a view to the diversity of talents, backgrounds, and experiences in the classroom. The curriculum needs to speak to the students’ experiences and to be presented in a way that is accessible to multiple styles of learning. A key goal is to cultivate students’agency in, and responsibility for, their own learning. It is hard for students to be invested in their learning when the curriculum does not help them understand who they are and how they fit into this world. Just as important, students cannot thrive when the feel disrespected and misunderstood.
The world is becoming increasingly smaller. To thrive in their post-secondary education and jobs, our students need to have global knowledge and intercultural sensitivity. And that too is what an attention to diversity and inclusivity provides.
Teaching for diversity and inclusion is neither easy nor intuitive. Anyone with experience in education knows the challenges of creating an inclusive learning environment, but should welcome opportunities to foster student belonging, agency, and success. That is why I endorse Lauren Kawai, Laura Middleton, and John Wilson.
For over 25 years I have been involved with various school districts around the country, and as most of you know, Oakwood is already among the very best. This year I am voting for Lauren Kawai, Laura Middleton, and John Wilson because I am convinced that they have the perspective, expertise, and commitment to help keep what is exceptional about Oakwood on track. I trust these candidates to help the district pursue full equity, and I believe they will work hard to help all our amazing teachers and staff to meet the individual unique needs of all our amazing students.
Early in-person &
absentee voting begins