Tonganoxie USD 464 candidate questionnaire: Michelle McGhee
ELECTION RACE: Tonganoxie USD 464 School Board Position 3 against Gene Becker. Becker currently is serving in the at-large, or Position 7, spot, but opted to run in his district after Leana Leslie opted not to seek another term.
OCCUPATION: I currently work for Sprint United Telecommunications in the Corporate Security group as a data security risk manager. I have worked for Sprint for nearly 15 years.
YEARS LIVED IN TONGANOXIE: 40 years
What made you decide to run for office?
I believe it is important to be an active community member and to participate in areas that can provide a service to the community. My main objective for serving on the board of education is to bring the experience I have gained through my education and professional experience as a service to my community. Schools are the number one environment that the youth have to prepare them for a successful future. Schools offer children a place to develop academically, physically, and emotionally. Everyone benefits from a school system that produces intelligent, well-adjusted individuals ready to enter college, training programs, and/or the work force. Preparing our children to become productive and well-rounded citizens is the best way to ensure our community will continue to grow.
What special qualifications would you bring to this office?
I believe that my ability to see the entire environment as a whole instead of just focusing on one aspect is what will enable me to add value as a member of the Board of Education. Below are specific skills that I believe will add value:
I have experience managing large budgets, determining return on investments, total cost of ownership, and executing and managing contractual obligations with vendors. I have experience in architecting multisystem solutions ensuring that all the systems are able to communicate and providing security policy assessments to complex systems and applications.
I have experience writing security contract language and auditing vendors to ensure they are compliant.
I am proficient at reviewing data to determine if there are privacy concerns with regards to the storage and handling of the data.
I have experience writing policies and applying those policies to ensure that they are implemented and upheld.
Policies are what I liken to the laws of a corporation or in this case a school district.
Policies are what establish the acceptable behavior and use criteria that all things can be measured against to ensure a fair and equitable enforcement is applied equally.
What are the three most important issues facing the school district and how would you address them?
The financial challenges of completing the new elementary school and the continuing funding deficits coupled with the increase in taxes for the citizens. It will require innovative collaboration to balance the need to educate with the need to address the depleting fiscal resources. This will take out of the box thinking to find new ways to narrow the insufficiencies of the budget. The decisions must be fact-based and not based on outside or emotional factors. It will take the ability for people to adopt new ideas and not be afflicted with the “we have always done it this way” bug. This is where I believe that my strong leadership skills and experience in working in the corporate world will be beneficial.
Providing a safe and secure environment for the students includes more than just ensuring there is adequate physical security but also needs to address the virtual security needs as well as protection of the student’s personally identifiable information. I believe the school district should collaborate with the superintendents, educators, staff, and legal counsel to update the social media and electronic communication policy which includes both staff and student’s expectations of conduct. Policies should cover a wide variety of areas to include, can teachers interact with students using their personal social media accounts, are there a formal school social media accounts that must be used, waivers from parents, what is appropriate content, and the list goes on.
Understanding the common core directive and how it will affect the students and educators is sure to be a high priority in the near future. There is a lot to learn about the common core and what it will mean to our students, I am currently conducting research to learning more about what it is. Most of the parents are unsure what this means for their children and thus there will need to be a significant amount of communication out to the parents to educate them and keep them informed and updated. One positive is that school administration and teachers will have the ability to decide how best to help students reach the standards outlined in the common core. The educators will have the freedom to develop the curriculum that best prepares our students to move toward their individual future goals whether that be on to college or trade school or directly into the work force.