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School Board Candidate Q&A

Park Hill School Board Candidate: Fred J. Sanchez

Art Credit: KC Education Enterprise | Art Credit: 123rf stock image | Logo Credit: Park Hill School District

Campaigns are underway for Board of Education seats in ten local districts, and election day will be Tuesday, April 3. The KC Education Enterprise is asking each candidate to respond to a list of questions that may help voters decide how to cast their ballots.

Fred J. Sanchez, who is running for election to the Park Hill School District Board of Education, responded:

1. What skills and experience would you bring to a position on your local Board of Education?

  • University of Kansas 1980-Whose Who in American Univ.
  • National Student Body President
  • Certified Registered Nursed Anesthetist- Masters in Biology
  • Department of Anesthesia St. Luke’s’ Hosp. Barry Road
  • PHSD BOE 6 YEARS 2005-2011 Treasurer/Vice Chair
  • Current Southern Platte County Ambulance District Board-Vice Chairman
  • Former Chair Platte County Plans and Zoning
  • Former Vice Chair Jackson County Legislature
  • United States Air Force 1968-1973 NCOIC Surgery

I am asking for the privilege to once again serve on the Park Hill BOE in order to actively participate in and contribute to a board serving a district that is in an era of administrative renaissance, monetary challenge and an expectation for continued academic excellence. I offer a historical perspective with 6 years of prior service on the BOE, and a progressive style that will assist in the discussion of solutions to the challenges that lie ahead. I also have a working knowledge of how the district operates and benefit from relationships of mutual respect and open communication with the administrative staff. 

Having served on numerous boards both elected and private, I have the ability to identify an existing culture, establish my role and standing and position myself quickly and effectively. I am known and respected for a unique and passionate style of authority that trusts yet verifies.  My questions are more important than my statements and the right questions depend on experience. I am quick to capture an opportunity to change the direction of an issue through coalition, compromise, friendships and intelligent and strategic discussion.

2. Are you – or have you been – a parent or grandparent of a child in public schools?

Daughters:

  • Tedi Sanchez  PHS senior
  • Morganne Sanchez  2009 graduate PHS, UMKC, criminal justice major.

3. In what school or district activities have you been involved?

  • Girls Soccer Coach SPCCA
  • Park Hill Board Of Education 2005-2011, Vice-Chair / Treasurer

4. How frequently do you attend board meetings, and how long have you been attending meetings?

My 6 year tenure on the Park Hill Board of Education speaks for itself

5. What do you see as the board’s roles and responsibilities?

The board recognizes constraints in terms of governance vs. management.  Policy governance, student advocacy, employer of the superintendent, financial oversight, providing for the safe and adequate learning environment for our students and staff, patron and employee advocate, resource of information, advisor, and legislative and political communicator on the local, state and national levels on behalf of public education are among the roles of the BOE.

Individually, a board member interacting with other board members, insures transparency in the decision making process, integrates, encourages and participates in debate and civil discussion of all points of views, suggestions and concerns. My most effective method of governance is my judgment based on facts, options and consequences.

6. What is the role of the superintendent?

IF ELECTED, MY PLEDGE IS TO PROVIDE THE RESOURCES NECESSARY FOR  THE SUCCESS OF OUR NEW SUPERIENTENDT AND HIS ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF. EXPLICITLY, MY FOCUS WILL BE ON HIS MANAGEMENT OF OUR DISTRICT AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BOARDS’ POLICIES.

Among the many roles of the superintendent are; student advocate, business and financial executive, community liaison, public relations icon, enforcer of board policy, attention to the mission of the district (student achievement), patron and parental remedy, oversight of administrative staff, advocate of district financial need and at times peacemaker and statesman.  He is the Chief Executive Officer with a commission to effectively carry out the mission of our district. BUILDING SUCCESSFUL FUTURES, EACH STUDENT, EVERY DAY. 

7. Can you – or should you – support a board decision you do not favor?

I have a responsibility and solemn duty to first engage in civilized discussion and debate as to the veracity of my position on an issue and the reasons for my descent or encouragement. I also have a duty to engage in understanding an opposing view and consider all options toward compromise.  I have faithfully carried out this principle during my duties as a member of various boards both elected and appointed.

Then again, my position is 1/7 of a solution. The integrity and cohesiveness of the board depends on my support for the boards’ process and policies. I recognize the role of the Chair as the mouth piece for final decisions.

8. What are the some of the challenges currently facing your district?

The districts’ principal issues and their urgency depend on the dynamics of social, cultural, financial and political change occurring at any given time. What is important is recognizing the most urgent principle that is our districts’ bedrock; “CONTINUED EXCELLENCE”.   This is our principal concern. All other issues are talking points. Financial austerity, changing demographics, capital maintenance and investment, federal, state and local government interference in scholastic achievement and local school district governance, dropout rates, teen pregnancy, zero tolerance, the achievement gap, the digital divide, alcohol and drug abuse, special interest impediment in science and language arts, vilification of revenue collection and investment, a political landscape both local and national that is opposed to the principles of public education and local control, all these make up the districts’ tasks. 

9. What are some of the district’s strengths and weaknesses?

While the districts’ primary role is the education of our children, we are in fact a multimillion dollar business operating on community resources. Under the direction of the administrative staff, the district has successfully and consistently integrated public participation and transparency during the budget reduction process. Park Hill has effectively utilized committees commissioned to identify and prioritize those areas subject to reduction, removal, retention or expansion. There is a positive impact on the teacher-student relationship. These committees are composed of patrons, business leaders, teachers, and administrators. Therefore, the investors or patrons have assisted in “humanizing” financial change by helping to minimize damaging influence on student achievement and provide suggestions to the board that would help avoid staff reduction.

This process has served the district well and should continue to be an integral part of the Board’s consideration.

Difficulties are opportunities. It does “take a village to raise a child”. 

Historically Park Hill has enjoyed a lengthy period of continued growth demographically, a vibrant local economy, a patron profile of higher than average worth and an expectation of excellence.

We continue to grow. However, the demographic profile now includes an aging group of investors on fixed income, an increasing number of transitory students, a flat economy, a decrease in housing market worth, a hostile political landscape in regards to taxation and public education, socially and economically disadvantaged students whose academic achievement is less than the aggregate, recognition of the lag between American students and those of other countries in science, math and engineering, the technology revolutions’ command for investment if our students are to compete and the list goes on. Our difficulties may be labeled the perils of prosperity. Can we make the necessary adjustments in order to meet the challenges that lie ahead and can we accomplish this with the same expectation of continued excellence? Who will be left behind?

10. What do you think is the most important thing board members can do to support children who attend school in the district?

Our community’s reliance on public education is great. With the wonderful diversity in our district, Park Hill promises a holistic and inclusive approach for our community’s need for a highly skilled workforce and intellectual health. I would like to participate in this endeavor.

My challenge to you the patron is not to elect me for my stand on any particular issue, but elect me for your trust in my judgment.

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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