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PUBLISHED: 4:44 PM on Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Juneau School Board candidates
Profiles, questions and answers
The Juneau School District has two open seats on the school board, presently held by Bill Peters and Mary Becker. Each seat is for a three-year term. According to the City and Borough of Juneau Web site, to be eligible for candidacy to be a member of a school board, a person must have the same qualifications as are necessary to be a municipal voter in the school district.

Qualified voter means a voter who, at the time of the election, is qualified to vote in state elections, a resident of the municipality for at least 30 days immediately preceding the election, registered to vote in state elections at a residence address within the municipality at least 30 days before the municipal election at which the person seeks to vote, not disqualified under Article V of the Alaska Constitution, not an employee of the Juneau School District and not a member of the Alaska Legislature.

Running for Juneau School Board are JoAnne Bell-Graves and Dr. Destiny Sargeant.


  JoAnne Bell-Graves
JoAnne Bell-Graves

Occupation: Small business owner

Children in the district: A son, Nathan William Graves, in 10th grade and on the tennis team at Juneau-Douglas High School.

What is your personal experience and involvement with the public schools in the past five years that qualifies you as a school committee member?

I go back to selling my business to with my son until kindergarten. I was very involved all 11 years in the public school.

What is your view of public education's purpose?

Equality for every student to be challenged to learn in a safe environment.

What will be your top objectives, if elected to the school board?

Be part of the school board and community to have a smooth transition to the new high school with so much change not taking away education from students in that process.

As well as the JDHS campus will go through those changes as the two schools go with those current plans.

I would like to work with parents and the community with creative solutions to help students who might drop out. There are opportunities for students that are attracted to trades.

I want to help out teachers with parent and community volunteers. We need to keep up with current pay scales so we do not lose our teachers to down south.

Our teachers spend as much time with our kids as we do, so we should want to encourage, prepare and assist our educators.

What long-range plan would you want to implement for the school district?

There are many new ones in place presently, for example an anti-bully policy in which discrimination is included. I will be actively monitoring this policy. The small learning communities concept for Thunder Mountain High School is a long-range plan. Helping implement these plans is key.

I also plan on assisting board members to resolved the substitute shortage and devoting time for creative ways to get more parents and community members involved. There are so many valuable mentors out there to make a different in many students' lives. The Coast Guard has stepped forward and I believe that spirit will grow.

Do you have any specific changes you want to make in school district policies, programs, or the various school curricula being offered?

If so, what changes do you want to make and why?

I believe in the trades. There are many offered currently, but bridging these opportunities is a challenge. I love a challenge and have passion for career technology. Adding more counselors so each and every student's needs, interests are met and those interests are steered into the right venues.

Adding partnerships with mining, fisheries and aviation are holes we can fill. Add careers that stay in Alaska, doing Alaska's work, living Alaska lives making Alaska a great place to live. Our kids are our community.


  Destiny Sargeant, Ph.D.
Destiny Sargeant, Ph.D.

Occupation: Clinical psychologist, critical incident stress management trainer and public speaker.

Children in the district: Two children in the Juneau School District; a 14-year-old son just starting in ninth grade at Juneau-Douglas High School and an 8-year-old daughter attending Glacier Valley Elementary School.

What is your personal experience and involvement with the public schools in the past five years that qualifies you as a school committee member?

I have been an active parent for over seven years in my children's schools both in Parent Groups and Site Councils of Glacier Valley and Floyd Dryden Middle School.

My most recent pleasure was serving on the taskforce for the High School Planning committee where we studied "best practices" across the nation and how to set up school systems that will assist all students to succeed.

I've also participated on numerous School District committees and am an active community volunteer and have served on several local and state Boards.

What is your view of public education's purpose?

Public education needs to prepare ALL students for the 21st century. Whether a student is college bound, vocational bound, or a student with special needs they all need a skills and plans to become confident adults in the age and time in which we live.

Children must learn skills today and sift through tremendous amounts of information that we didn't have to 30, 50, or 100 years ago.

Our school system must keep up with the times and proudly prepare Juneau's children to live and adapt to life in the 21st century and the confidence to be able to succeed.

What will be your top objectives, if elected to the school board?

My top objective is to continue exploring educational best practices. The four major themes that are important to incorporate are choices for families and students, equal access for all, a safe connected personalized school, and a community that has parental involvement with unity for all; where we all share in all successes.

What long-range plan would you want to implement for the school district?

Both short term and long-term goals are to decrease student dropout rates by assisting students in feeling more connected to a relevant school, where they can have a passion for education and prepare for the 21st century.

We must also address institutionalized racism and have equal access for all students to succeed. One size does not fit all students and many families feel disenfranchised with attempting to get their children's needs met. There is research available that indicates cutting edge options to improve and I'm excited about seeing these implemented in Juneau.

Do you have any specific changes you want to make in school district policies, programs, or the various school curricula being offered? If so, what changes do you want to make and why?

I would like to continue what we are doing well and add more choices and empower families to become partners in their children's education. We can use community options and also build a strong vocational program and utilize the wealth and talent that Juneau Businesses have to offer.

I think Juneau is ready to be "cutting edge" in providing for all of our children. I'm excited to be a part of this planning and implementing process.


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