Educator Leanne Williams is running as a write-in candidate for Camas School Board, District 5 position against incumbent Tracey Malone. Lacamas Magazine asked Williams several questions aobut her candidacy.
Williams has a Masters degree in Education, and taught Kindergarten at Mt. Pleasant and in the Evergreen School District. She is married to Camas High School history teacher, Bronk Williams, and has two teenage Camas students.
Why are you running?
First let me say, I appreciate everyone who serves on our School Board. It is a voluntary position and I value civic minded people. I am running because I feel that I can make a difference as a School Board Director. I was very dissatisfied with the strike. I feel the district created a contentious tone during the bargaining and strike. I found it to be very negative. I am concerned about disturbances in our small town school community that feel negative and new. We are packing our classrooms with students and offering less in support and services to our students and teachers. Finally, I am capable and I am willing to serve our community.
We need to do a better job of addressing mental health issues in our students, which correlates to school safety. Camas High School is a great place if you run the line, but if you have anything divert you, if you need extra support, it’s a hard place to be. The surroudning support services are severely lacking now.
If elected, what are your priorities?
- Help build an optimal educational experience for our students.
- A system that better addresses and supports mental health issues that affect our students.
- Analyze budgets and reserves.
- Work to help improve our funding from the state.
- Value conference period and creative supports for students.
- Model an ability to disagree or negotiate with an opposing side with respect and professionalism.
Is the public system broken?
No, but we have been degrading our educational experience, I believe for multiple reasons. COVID and budget constraints from the state have created a situation where we have defaulted to a less than adequate educational experience. I believe working together to navigate these rough waters is essential for our district. Modeling problem solving, collaboration, asking for help and respect for all, even in tough times, teaches our students many lessons. We are trying to prepare them for life after school as well as educate them in core content.
What are we doing right?
- We have hired quality teachers and staff, many club, port and extra curricular activities.
- Asked for parent or staff perspectives through Thought exchanges.
- Parent Square communication is good, for the most part.
- Legislative committee and good listening opportunities.
Are parents paying enough attention?
I believe most parents are trying to pay attention to what is happening with their students, teachers and the district, which is why many were unhappy with the strike and the tone set by the district.
How does a write-in candidate succeed?
When enough families and voters in our community send a message, on November 7th, that they want change. We need board members with a student focused agenda, strong problem solving skills, and an ability to differ or negotiate with opposing sides with respect and transparency. I agree with George McCoy that having three unopposed school board positions is not great for our democracy and can make our directors complacent. We, the voters, can make change. Voting is a positive and productive way for our community to signal to the Camas School District that we need change on the school board.
I’ve knocked 500 doors so far, and put up 100 signs. And, we’re putting up two big banners. We have people out there helping out. I do have close friends helping me.
You may learn more at https://www.leanne4camas.com