2011 Candidate Questionnaire: Tonganoxie School Board candidate Leana Leslie
Name: Leana Leslie
Family: Married with two children
Current employment: I’ve worked for Sprint for 15 years
Education: Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kansas State University
Number of years lived in community: 13 years
Previous public offices held: I have been on the USD 464 School Board for two terms and during this time I have been Board President two years and Board Vice President for three years
Community involvement: Leavenworth County 4-H leader, FFA Parent Alumni, Tonganoxie Christian Church Youth sponsor, THS Booster Club, current Tonganoxie 464 School Board Member, Sprint volunteer ambassador (United Way, Harvestors, backpack for school kids…etc)
What made you decide to run for office? What special qualifications would you bring to this office? What leadership qualities do you possess?
A good school board member dedicates many hours to serving the district and community, both inside and outside of the board meetings. I have the desire to continue to put in the numerous hours necessary to be an effective school board member. It is my goal to always strive to make sound, fact based decisions. I continue to educate myself on the complexities of educating students in today’s society. When reviewing decision brought to the board, I rely on my experience and knowledge I have gained from my personal education background, board member seminars and involvement with the district and community.
I believe one of my strengths is communication, I feel I can express opinions and communicate without breeching confidential information. I believe I communicate well with my peers and community so that we can work together as a team.
I have taken my decision to run for school board very seriously. If elected, this will be my third term and I believe I can continue to commit 100 percent to USD 464. We have made much advancement in education and I want to make sure that the commitments we’ve made to our students education continue.
Describe what you see as the main role of a school board member. How do you plan stay in touch with constituents if you are elected? How do you plan to familiarize yourself with the issues that come before the board?
A school board member’s job is to make decisions that are affective and positive to our school district. These decisions need to be made as a team not by individuals. To best work as a team each of the members need to understand each other’s opinions. I work hard to attend all school board meetings as these meetings are the best place to hear from each board member regarding their thoughts about topics being brought in front of the board.
I research issues and projects brought to the board before I have to make a decision. My number one goal is how this decision affects increasing student learning, improving student achievement and setting high instructional standards. Most importantly we need to protect our students and create an environment for which they can grow and learn. I want all students to have the opportunity to attain their maximum potential.
What is the best attribute of our school district and why?
One of USD 464’s many strengths is the ability to be flexible and adapt. I believe this is has been demonstrated as the district student population has grown faster than our district’s facilities. We have teachers willing to “think outside of the box” to meet student’s needs and provide instructional excellence. During the 2006-07 school year, the students and staff did a great job adjusting to a change in the district’s structure mid-year (5th & 6th graders moving to TMS and 9th graders moving to THS).
What are the three most important issues facing the school district and how would you confront them?
Meeting Educational standards –The state and federal government continue to increases the criteria that need to be met to be an accredited district. We must continue to strive to go beyond those requirements.
Preparing students for their future – As a district we must set our students up for success in whatever they choose to do after high school and in their careers. Their education at USD 464 is the basis for which all further educational building blocks will be placed and we need to do our best to make sure their foundation is sound.
Facility Planning – It is no secret that our district is growing and we are running out of places for new and in some cases existing classes. We need to continue to find ways to keep our class sizes low and be able to supply a variety of courses. We cannot allow our facility restrictions to impede our student’s educational goals.
Do you think public schools are adequately funded? Why or why not?
Under what circumstances would you favor increasing property taxes? What areas of the budget would you target for spending cuts if necessary?
Are the district's teachers being compensated fairly? Why or why not?
The State of Kansas has had to make many budgetary cuts. These cuts have directly reduced the USD 464’s budget and caused the district to make many budget reductions over the past 3 years. If additional cuts are necessary the school board will determine where to reduce with input from the superintendent.
Decisions for increasing taxes and staff salary increases must always be done with a great deal of research, discussion and foresight. The school board works to be fair to our community and staff when making monetary decisions while doing what is necessary to preserve our student’s learning, achievement and instructional excellence.