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Where do you live? Mount Pleasant, WI
How long have you lived there? 16 years
Spouse or partner’s name? Andrew Docksey
If you have children, please include their ages? Two boys 14 & 12 years old.
What is your current profession? Major airline pilot
What position are you applying for? Racine Unified School Board, District #5
What motivated you to seek out this seat? The district’s response to COVID: Our district has been unresponsive compared to surrounding districts. They ignore the data supporting the opening of schools, for too long, and fail to provide innovative approaches for families who desperately need their children to be in a safe environment conducive to learning. Our children have also suffered educationally and emotionally. Lack of thoughtful governance: Board meetings rarely, if ever, have thoughtful discussions and probing questions. Therefore, we need more discussions of student learning, achievement gaps, and why families are leaving our district.
Why do you think you are a good candidate for the job? I believe the greatest thing the board is missing is leadership. We need board members that have the ability to speak out, even if it is not a popular viewpoint or challenges the administration. My training as a pilot has taught me ways to work collaboratively for change and advocate for solutions even under great stress. I also have a child in RUSD, so I have a vested interest in its success. In addition, my accounting degree gives me the ability to understand and analyze complicated budgets for fiscal oversight.
Name three things you would like to see change with how things are being done. 1. Advocacy: Many parents feel they are not being taken seriously by board members, particularly in regards to school closures. They contacted their board members but never heard their concerns voiced during meetings. Whether the board member agrees with the concerns raised, it is their duty to make those concerns known. 2. Accountability: Too often I have seen the superintendent not be able to answer critical questions about the district’s performance, or provide little useful information at meetings, and board members rarely hold him accountable. 3. Incentivize and support innovation: Racine Unified has been failing for years. We also need new ideas to reach our students who are struggling the most. It’s time to look at other districts that are more successful and bring models of that success to RUSD.
What resources would you need to have to accomplish that? The only resource needed for advocacy and accountability is the courage and leadership of board members to represent their constituency and challenge the administration on the district’s failing performance. We have a dedicated group of teachers and principals that have great ideas on how to reach our students. We also need a formal process to support those ideas, and a culture from the superintendent on down that fosters and rewards innovation.
What would success look like and how would you measure that success? Success would be demonstrated by parents and residents feeling they had a voice on the school board and by the district being more transparent about its performance and steps it is taking to improve. Success through innovation would result in higher math and reading scores, a smaller achievement gap, and better attendance rates at our lowest-performing schools. Another measurement of success is the number of families who choose RUSD—that’s the ultimate accountability.
How would you seek buy-in from either the community and/or your colleagues to accomplish those tasks? In the short time I’ve been on the campaign trail, I’m convinced parents and the community want RUSD to change. They want better schools for their kids. I would form a parent advisory committee, perhaps initially PTA presidents, and seek their input on new ideas. Further, I would meet with business leaders to hear their concerns. I would encourage and invite my fellow board members to join me in listening and being a catalyst for change. We simply need to start in that direction.
What characteristics do you bring to the table to accomplish those tasks? Racine is a wonderful place to live but is being held back by RUSD. People want to live here but not send their kids to school here. I am also a hard worker. Sometimes change is as simple as shining the light of day on programs and systems that aren’t working. But I’m also tenacious. I have the courage and leadership ability to work with the other board members to effect the change necessary to transform the lives of our students and make RUSD a district that families choose.