I stood for election in 2019 to bring my experience as a family nurse practitioner and healthcare leader to Bend-La Pine Schools. Never did I imagine then that I would now be helping guide our district through a global pandemic while hiring a new superintendent and working to dismantle institutional racism. And yet the overlapping crises of 2020 reinforced the very belief that inspired me to run in the first place: Healthy communities begin with healthy schools.
As your representative on the school board, I have been an outspoken defender of public health and public safety. That means providing all members of the district staff – from nutrition services to transportation – the resources they need to protect themselves as well as the children in their care. It means connecting families to the resources they need to support their kids at home and get them to school safely. And it means working with community partners and stakeholders to promote the physical, emotional, and economic well-being of our students and staff, during the pandemic and beyond.
Our schools have long played an enormous role in the health and wellness of our communities, but never has that role been more prominent, or more contentious, than in the months since Covid-19 forced the closure of our buildings. As we work together to control the spread of infection and reopen our schools, we must aspire to return to a school system safer, healthier, and more just than the system we inherited.