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Board Candidate Shawn Clark
Each individual running for the two spots on the Board of Education were given these questions to answer. Below are the answers to each of these questions.
- How do you define leadership and how to you support good leadership throughout the school from Superintendent, to building administration, and throughout the faculty, staff, and even young people within the district? Leadership is guiding a group of people through the good and the bad with knowledge, compassion and being an example. I recall seeing two pictures one time. The first was a group of people pulling a cart with the leader of the group on it giving orders. The second was the leader pulling the cart with the employees to get the job done together. The second is what leadership should be. Leadership is supported by providing the tools and means to create a team that works together with the goal of making our children, and staff successful. This is done through proper policies in place as well as the funding to achieve these goals while being responsible to the community members who make it possible.
- There are many needs to address in supporting a young learner; from food stability to emotional regulation to special education accommodations to enrichment opportunities and beyond. How will you facilitate support and guidance for ALL learners at APW? The overall well being of a child will help them to be successful in their educational career. While on the board I introduced the Community Eligibility Provision Program to the board after seeing that Camden School District was doing it. This program now provides free breakfast and lunch to each child in our school district every day. When a child is concerned about where their next meal will come from or what is happening at home or just having difficulties with school work it is up to us as a community to help these kids to become successful. Special Education and enrichment opportunities are essential to help kids overcome obstacles that are in their way. At the same time it is important to make sure that all learners at APW have opportunities to enhance their education. This means that the child who is struggling with a math course as well as a child who can take an AP Calculus course. We should meet the child where they are and encourage them to push to achieve their dreams while guiding them and mentoring them along the way.
- Communication Is important to help to include and involve the entire district and community as well as to promote transparency. Communication has historically been a focus that continues to be in question and ongoing communication needs perpetually exist. How do you promote communication and how do you define appropriate and effective communication? Communication is essential to the success of any organization. Without communication your left hand doesn't know what your right hand is doing. This creates confusion and an inability to move forward. Communication must work in both directions. Whether it is school to community or community to school or whether it is administration to staff or staff to administration. It is imperative that the communication wheel be constantly evolving through the use of email, robo calls, newspaper, social networking, our digital sign, mail home to families/community members, and to staff. We must make every effort to ensure that people know what is going on. We must also be open to new forms of communication and implement them when we see that they can be successful. A chain with a broken link is just broken. We need to ensure that we mend the broken links to make all parts of the organization work together effectively.
- What knowledge and background do you bring that would help our district grow and move into the next generation of learning? After sitting on the APW Board for the last three years I have learned that this position can be both rewarding and challenging. I am not an educator and that is not my role on the board. In my professional career I have been an underwriter for an insurance company and now a claims adjuster. These positions require the ability to dive deep into something and question the details to ensure that the best outcome is achieved. If you were to ask the existing board members, former members or administration I am not afraid to break things down and ask the tough questions that need to be asked to ensure that our district is not set back but that we move forward. I also enjoy getting to know the answer. It satisfies me when I question something and have the ability to learn from the process and the answer. I believe it is important to have board members that will seek answers and make sure that the right policies are in place to give the educators the ability to train our children to glean each little thing they can during their time at APW.
- Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position? I believe I am the best candidate for the position because my heart's true desire is to see our children, our community and our staff to have the best education around. I honestly believe that we have amazing kids, amazing teachers, and the best staff. This goes from the Superintendent to all the staff we have including teachers, clerical, administration, food service, transportation and building & grounds. I enjoy going and seeing our children be successful in all aspects of education. Whether it be academic, sports, theater, honor society or community service. I truly believe that what we have at APW is special. We are three small communities that come together to form one big family. I believe I am the best candidate because I can see that in all of us.
- What is your philosophy on education? My philosophy on education is simple. Each child should have access to the ability to learn, grown and expand their knowledge with the best teachers that we can afford. They should be prepared to enter college when leaving APW whether that is their desire or not. We must also provide our children that would like to enter the workforce in a skilled trade the knowledge and skills to be able to do that. Their underlying needs such as nutritional and emotional well being must be met to ensure that their brains are able to function at high capacity. Education should never be a stumbling block for a child. Whether they are struggling to meet the basic needs and need additional assistance or they are advanced and need more challenging courses to ensure that their needs are being met. This can be done through on site learning as well as off site learning through programs such at CTE as CiTi BOCES, New Visions, or OCC Early College. Every kid should be able to leave APW ready to take on the world. It is our job to provide them with the ability to do so.