The three candidates vying for the Issaquah School District Director District 5 position are Suzanne Weaver, Joe Robinson and Layna Crofts.
Each candidate was asked to provide a biography and answer the same question. Crofts did not respond to repeated invitations to participate in the questionnaire.
Biographies of each candidate:
Issaquah School director since 2007
Treasurer, volunteer for Issaquah Schools, 2004-Present
Issaquah PTSA council president, 2004-2006
PTSA treasurer at Sunny Hills, Pine Lake, Skyline and Council
15 years of experience as corporate controller/financial analyst
BA, french studies, Brown University. MBA, finance, University of California, Berkeley
Two sons who are a product of Issaquah schools
Joe Robinson is the father of two boys in the Issaquah School District, an active member in the Issaquah School Equity and Discipline Workgroup and a PTSA classroom parent. He is a firm believer that once we become aware of an issue, it is our moral responsibility to work together toward improving that issue. Passionate about making sure every child can have the opportunity to improve her or his outcome through a healthy and enriched public education, Robinson decided to run for the Issaquah School District Board.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing the district/school board and how would you address it?
The biggest challenge for any school district is to ensure that all students have the supports they need to achieve their full potential, in both academic and life management skills. In Issaquah, we want to provide every student with opportunities for academic acceleration, exploration and remediation, with the goal of every student being career or college ready at the end of high school.
Opportunities for academic acceleration can be found in middle school with informed self-select options in math and language arts pathways, and in high school with advanced placement and International Baccalaureate courses and Running Start. Academic exploration is facilitated with a variety of elective options in middle and high school. The seventh period being added to the school day at Issaquah High and Skyline this fall will provide students with additional opportunities to explore electives or to pursue their personal passions. A project-based high school experience is available at Gibson Ek, and we are piloting a dual-language elementary program.
Many student supports, such as “Positive Behavior/Social-Emotional Skills” and training on cultural competency and differentiated teaching, benefit all students. But we are also disaggregating student achievement data to uncover the opportunity gaps which may be based on race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economics or student ability, and addressing those with more targeted remediation strategies.
We have also earmarked levy dollars for graduation specialists, mental health counselors, and additional guidance counselors to support the wellness and success of our students.
One of the biggest challenges I see facing the Issaquah School District is adapting to the changing demographics in our community, and the new diversity in the classrooms. More than ever, we need to transform the culture of our schools to one of inclusivity. It is vital that our teachers, principals and administrative staff learn how to be a part of this transformation and contribute to an inclusive community.
As an Issaquah Board member, I will continually advocate for all students. I will push for strong policies and incentives responsible for diversity and inclusion. I will fight to ensure our district makes significant progress in diversifying the staff. Our schools need to make this change and I believe I can help make this happen.