Scottsdale school board candidates outline qualifications

School Board election art

There will be four candidates seeking three seats on the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board at the Nov. 8 general election.

The candidates running for the board are incumbents George Jackson and Barbara Perleberg, and newcomers Allyson Beckham and Sandy Kravetz.

Candidate Mary Roaf withdrew from the race on Aug. 24, according to the Maricopa County Education Service Agency.

School board members serve a four-year term on the board. Members Pam Kirby and Kim Hartmann’s terms end at the end of 2018.

Scottsdale Schools includes 30 schools serving about 24,500 students, according to the district’s website. More than 3,000 people are employed by the district, including about 1,550 teachers.

The district’s boundaries include most, but not all of, the city of Scottsdale, Town of Paradise Valley and sections of the cities of Phoenix and Tempe.

Additionally, Scottsdale Schools voters will also be deciding upon a $229 million bond initiative and an $8.5 million capital override at the November general election.

The Scottsdale Independent is hosting a candidate forum in the Kiva at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3. Scottsdale Independent reporter Melissa Fittro will be moderating the debate.

Leading up to the October debate the Scottsdale Independent is offering candidates an opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer series to help voters better understand where they stand on local issues that matter.

This week’s installment is on why these candidates think they are qualified to be elected to the school board.

Allyson Beckham

•Why are you qualified to run for the Scottsdale Schools governing board?

I’ve spent the last 20 years focused on understanding and improving our education system. And while this experience is crucial to my qualification as a governing board member, I believe it’s also my initiative that will bring about real change in our schools. This combination of experience and leadership is exactly what I’ll bring to the table.

Allyson Beckham

Allyson Beckham

First, I’m familiar with SUSD schools, as I attended them myself from kindergarten through high school, and two of my children attended them. During my time in the district, I supported the teachers and parent associations and volunteered in the classrooms. I consistently fought for better communication, improved standards, and effective teachers in every class — all of which I believe start with strong leadership. Additionally, my experience in business management and serving on other boards will be a great asset, so we have a clear understanding of how fiscal accountability influences our decisions.

These experiences will serve as a great foundation to understand the issues our schools face. But it’s my strong leadership style that I think truly qualifies me to advocate for every child in SUSD schools. I am tenacious when it comes to improving education in Arizona, and I will not give up on any student or any objective to transform our district from good to outstanding. With a forward-thinking mindset, I’ll have the courage to move our district in a new direction and change the way we’ve been reactive — instead of proactive — to issues in the past. I also believe a collaborative culture where the board involves students, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders in discussions is crucial to setting realistic goals and measuring real outcomes.

Ultimately, I want to see every student in our district learning from an effective teacher so they may live up to their fullest potential. And as a member of the governing board, I promise this will be the objective we work toward every day.

George Jackson

•Why are you qualified to run for the Scottsdale Schools governing board?

I am currently serving in my fourth year as a governing board member for the Scottsdale Unified School District. The last four years have been a challenging time in Scottsdale schools due to significant reductions in our funding.

George Jackson

George Jackson

My background in business and finance has been helpful during this environment as I worked closely with our district leadership to make the necessary decisions to balance our budget and set SUSD on a sustainable course. During my tenure we also had a change in leadership and our governing board hired an outstanding Superintendent in Dr. Denise Birdwell. Scottsdale schools are now in a good place with sound plans for academic improvement and improved fiscal accountability.

My background in business and finance has been helpful to me on the school board. I have worked with district leadership to utilize sound business practices to increase fiscal accountability and efficiency. I am especially proud to have been a co-founder of Business United for Scottsdale Schools (BUSS) along with my fellow Board Member Kim Hartmann. BUSS is a workforce development initiative designed to bring the business community and the education community closer together in Scottsdale.

I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish the last four years but there is still much work to do. The governing board’s role, as I see it, is to set direction and goals for our school district and hold our superintendent accountable for achieving the goals we set. My experience in business has been helpful in hiring strong education leadership and setting direction and goals.

We have outstanding leadership in Dr. Birdwell and with support and help from our governing board we have a very bright future in Scottsdale Schools.

Sandy Kravetz

•Why are you qualified to run for the Scottsdale Schools governing board?

As a passionate supporter of our district public schools, I have been advocating on behalf parent and teachers for nearly 15 years by speaking at governing board meetings, meeting with school and district administrators, as well as, several of our superintendents.

Sandy Kravetz

Sandy Kravetz

As president of the Sequoya Elementary School and Chaparral High School’s parent-teacher organizations, I met with school board members and superintendents about academic and administrative concerns within the community. As a member of the site councils at the elementary, middle and high school levels, I worked with school administrators to implement and track outcomes of site improvement plans and approved tax credit donation allocations.

Additionally, I volunteered on the committee to pass our most recent maintenance and operations override, which provided funding that enabled SUSD to hire teachers, decrease average class sizes, and restore music and art at the elementary school level. I also served for two years on SUSD’s Parent Marketing Committee, providing feedback on the district’s marketing programs.

Although my children are both enrolled in college now, I have maintained my ties to the district by volunteering twice a week at Coronado High School.

Because of my extensive involvement and understanding of SUSD district governance, I am confident that I will “hit the ground running” as a Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board member.

Barbara Perleberg

•Why are you qualified to run for the Scottsdale Schools governing board?

Barbara Perleberg

Barbara Perleberg

Every board member must be willing and able to critically assess that the district is responsibly and efficiently utilizing resources to meet and exceed stakeholder expectations.

I have proven in the past four years on the board that I clearly understand, support, and fight for the high academic and fiscal expectations of our community.

I have demonstrated courageous leadership in asking the insightful questions and engaging meaningful conversations to drive positive, significant change within SUSD.

Strong organizations need strong leadership with a thorough understanding of the successes, challenges and opportunities.  Having a solid understanding of our current realities, I am the most qualified to continue the momentum and work needed to propel SUSD forward.



Related Article: 5 candidates step-up to run for Scottsdale Schools Governing Board

Northeast Valley News Services Editor Melissa Fittro can be e-mailed at mfittro@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/melissafittro.

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