I am a mother of 4 children ages 5 to 11. Three attend Lower Gwynedd Elementary and our youngest will start in the fall. My husband and I moved to Lower Gwynedd in 2012, 3 days after the birth of our fourth child.
I grew up near Austin, Texas, where I attended Westwood High School and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. I attended McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, for graduate work. There, I met my husband and earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience with a focus on electrophysiological studies of learning and memory -- how neurons that fire together, wire together.
In graduate school, I co-founded an organization, Let's Talk Science, that took hands-on science into classrooms to supplement curricula. I became especially interested in ways to keep children interested in science, and in particular, keep young girls interested in STEM-related courses. My work as an intern at @discovery.ca, a daily science news show, was a natural extension of my desire to increase science literacy.
A fascination with critical periods of brain development led me to study neuroscience. The idea of pairing teaching techniques with curricula that capitalize on critical periods of brain development led me to advocate for immersion language instruction, and to become a certified Montessori Guide for children aged 3 to 6.
For the last 12 years, I have owned my own consulting business creating medical content for healthcare professionals.
We love living in Lower Gwynedd and have directly benefited from the excellence of Wissahickon public schools. But there is still work to be done to ensure every student reaches his or her full potential. We need strong voices to protect our public school system from Federal and State policies that would undermine its integrity. I am committed to preserving excellence, fiscal responsibility, and advancing programs that close achievement gaps. Our children's interests and our community's interests come before special interests and party interests.
It would be an honor to serve our children and the community as a member of the School District's Board of Directors. I am counting on your vote.
Don't forget to vote in the primary May 16, 2017 and the election November 7, 2017.
We are fortunate to live in one of the best school districts in the state. That excellence pays dividends to our students in the form of a top-notch education, and to our community residents in the forms of a better-educated community, high property values, and increased demand for real estate. As a Wissahickon School Board Director, I will fight to preserve this excellence and in doing so, ensure that our student and community interests are protected.
SB 76 aims to reconstruct how schools are funded in PA by removing property taxes and replacing funding with local sales tax and personal income tax. While most of the community would undoubtedly welcome lower property taxes, there has been no credible evidence put forward that the rearrangement of taxes would support the funds needed to maintain our excellent public schools. You can read the bill here. Dr. Crisfield, WSD Superintendent has expressed concern that this bill is a "a recipe for mediocrity."
Although we have a relatively large budget (~100 million dollars), competing demands on finite resources necessitate that we critically evaluate how that money is spent so that we optimize return on investments, and keep property taxes stable. As Dr. Crisfield, stated in a letter to parents/guardians 2.6.17, "There are many built-in cost drivers that demand a fresh, creative look at how we do everything in order to squeeze out every efficiency we can without compromising the level of excellence the community expects of its schools." You can read the full letter here. Dr. Crisfield has also posted a survey soliciting commentary on the proposed Master Facilities Plan. The survey is open through 4.13.17. The Master Facilities Plan was distributed via email from WSD. You can read it here.
One of the strengths of the Wissahickon School District is its cultural diversity. Last year, I had the privilege of co-coordinating LGE's international night event. It was amazing to see so many families of disparate backgrounds come together to share customs, food, and culture. WSD also has an economically diverse student population. 50% of African American students and 60% of Latino/a students in WSD qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. WSD data show achievement gaps between students on the free and reduced lunch programs compared with those who are not, and achievement gaps across ethnic backgrounds. WSD has embarked on a 10-year plan to close these achievement gaps. We must ensure that we approach this endeavor using SMART criteria so that all of our students can achieve their individual greatness. This must remain a top priority for the good of our students and our community.
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