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School Board Candidate Q&A

Kansas City, Missouri School Board Candidate: Candace Koba

Art Credit: KC Education Enterprise | Illustration Credit: 123rf stock image | Logo Credit: Kansas City Public Schools

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.

Candace Koba, who is running for election to a seat representing district five on the Kansas City, Missouri School District Board of Education, responded:

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

I work for Ericsson Services, Inc. as a Network Project Manager II and am nearing completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Management. I’m a member of Toastmaster’s International – Fountainhead Club (VP Membership & Secretary), the Project Management Institute (Director of Activities – PDD 2012), Young J.U.S.T.U.S. (Political Action Chair), the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus, NAACP – KCMO (Young Adult Committee) and Walnut Grove Neighborhood Association. I serve on the following boards all in the interest of ensuring every Kansas City child has resources they need to succeed: the KC Marching Falcons, Camps for Kids and the Forgotten Unforgotten Foundation. I have served on various ad-hoc committees in the district as well concerning budget, strategic planning, right-sizing and spiritual advisory.

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

No. But my extended family (sibling and aunts) currently have children in the schools and I have been very active in their education experiences.

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

I have been visible at 90% of the district & community meetings concerning education in this city. I have stayed plugged into the district & neighborhood issues once my awareness was awakened. I didn’t wait to gain experience teaching or leading a school. I took the skills I had at the time and developed more along the way to do my part in ensuring the scholars in this district have access to a phenomenal education and scholar achievement improves. I have talked to any and everyone in this city about Kansas City and the state of our education.

I have served on the UJIMA Parent group at ACECC and the District Advisory Committee for KCPS. During that period of volunteer service, I got to understand how the district works from an administrative standpoint and the challenges faced by parents and scholars.  I learned a great deal when I served on the Strategic Planning Committee for the creation of the district’s Transformation Plans I & II which set forth the current roadmap to our scholar’s success. I became familiar with the statistical data that defines our district performance and I fully understand why our accreditation has been rescinded. I also am very familiar with Dr. Green’s roadmap to regaining accreditation and I believe I am well equipped to be a board member to support that effort.

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

I have been attending board meetings for the last 3 years and with the exception of the last 2 months due to a personal conflict that prevented me from attending, I have been at all meetings.

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

The board hires and oversees their employee, the superintendent. The board operates through policy governance and oversight of the administrative activities. This change in the last 2 years has made a significant improvement in ending the former micromanagement.

I believe the other responsibility of a board member is to be in communication with the people in the district including parents and students as well as residents and stakeholders. It is paramount for the scholars, parents and community to elect public servants who are well informed; communicating regularly with them and understanding the diversity our scholars bring to school with them daily.

6. What is the role of the superintendent?

To manage the operation of the district and to implement the policy directives of the board.

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

The board seeks consensus and when a decision is made, the board speaks with one voice and is unified.

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

I no longer participate in the conversation that our district is sub-standard. I have taken the negative and positive comments about the district and used them as continued motivation to improve scholar achievement in the district. I no longer allow people to negatively comment about the district without a “how can you help make it change” question. I have run on a platform of 1) community engagement as a means to support and advance scholar achievement, 2) regain accreditation and focus on attendance, 3) encourage a dialogue of education In our community that supports students to graduate.

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

The district is committed parents, excellent students, the transformation plan that is generating our road map to regain accreditation, and policy governance by the board. The district has re-purposed buildings with and for the community, right-sized for fiscal solvency, and focused its teaching and curriculum resources on improving scholar achievement. Though not all scholars are achieving, the district is working hard and succeeding with making the proper transitions to ensure every scholar is learning everyday, no matter what. Teacher assessment and retention has been a mixed effort and t is being addressed with a new assessment tool and alignment of curriculum.

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

Communicate with the parents, students, and community to support education and to support the endeavors of our scholars to achieve and succeed. Manage the superintendent through policy governance and uphold our duty to manage the budget and facilities.

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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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