Mindy Cameron

Mindy Cameron
Incumbent - Zone 4 Trustee

Age: 64
City of residence: Sagle
Years of residence: Six years full-time resident in Bonner County; 20 years property owner/part-time. 
Family: Married. Two sons attended schools in Sandpoint; one graduated from SHS.
How can the public contact you?
[email protected] or phone 263-1157

Education: BA, Pacific University, Forest Grove OR.
Recent employment history: Former newspaper editor in Idaho and Seattle, Washington. Now retired.
Public offices held: LPOSD School Board trustee, one term; currently vice chair.
Groups to which you belong: Co-founder and board member of Panhandle Alliance for Education; vice chair board of trustees, Pacific University. 
What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board?
Extensive experience on various boards, including in leadership roles; thorough understanding of public education issues dating back to research and writing as a journalist; knowledge of local education issues through work with PAFE and three years on the school board. Prior professional experience as a team leader and facilitator of group processes. 

Candidate Positions
1. Why are you running for trustee? How much time can you devote to board service?
I am proud of the accomplishments of the current school board and my role in our success. I want to continue the progress toward better management of the school district and higher achievement of our students. Public schools need knowledgeable and experienced advocates and I relish that role.

I devote many hours a week to school board business. The twice-monthly meetings comprise the obvious hours of board work, but there are many other meetings and many additional hours at all times of day and evening. For the 4th consecutive year I am lead facilitator of contract negotiations with the teachersí association. It involves weekly meetings over several months. It is time-consuming, but rewarding work and we have made much progress in building trust between teachers and district leadership. Effective board work means putting time, talent and effort into the role.      

2. How frequently have you attended school board meetings? Have you been involved in any other school activities or groups?
I have attended nearly every board meeting in the past three years. I may have missed one. As previously noted, I am active in PAFE (Panhandle Alliance for Education) which has awarded thousands of dollars in grants to LPOSD teachers and funded the district-wide CORE reading program.

3. Do you believe the district is doing a good job or poor job in educating students? Why?
The district is doing a good job educating students, and we are getting better. We are making progress on several fronts. Our new superintendent has brought experienced education leadership to the schools. We are making better use of research about what works to raise student achievement. Principals and teachers are making better use of data about student progress to help individual students achieve goals.  

4. Describe the top three to five issues you believe are facing our school district, and your position on these issues.
A. Student achievement is the core work of this and every school district. We are, and must remain, focused on that. As a board member, my job is to hold the superintendent accountable for maintaining that focus.

B. The safety and security of our students is an ever-present concern. As a board member, I want to know that every adult employee in the district shares this concern and knows how to respond appropriately when necessary. 
C.  Long-range planning. It is time for the district to look to its future needs, especially regarding facilities. We have a very good facilities staff, but many of our buildings are quite old and in need of extensive upgrades or replacement. The exciting part of this planning goal is the gift of the Wild Rose Foundation, which has made land available for a new high school if the community will support that within the next 20 years. 

D. Staff pay and recruitment. The cost of living, especially housing, is rising in our area. It is increasingly difficult to recruit teachers and other key staff given current pay levels. It is likely that a number of teachers will be retiring in the next few years, so this will become an even larger problem. There are no easy answers, but here are three parts of a strategy: Maintain tight reins on non-salary costs; Continue to find ways to provide annual pay raises; Work with local legislators to improve state funding for public schools.     

5. What changes, if any, would you seek in the districtís curriculum?
Curriculum is the job of the professional educators. It is the boardís role to oversee the process of curriculum development and approve (or reject) recommendations for adoption of new curricula. It is not the role of an individual board member to impose his or her personal opinion about curriculum on the entire district.

6. What do you see as the role of technology in education?
Technology has a central role in most of our lives today and should also have a central role in education Ė in student learning, in data collection, sorting and dissemination, in district- and community-wide communication.

7. What changes, if any, should be made in the districtís budget? Did you support or oppose the recent supplemental levy (which passed)?
I support the districtís budget and the process by which it is prepared, which includes involvement of staff, public and board members. Of course, I supported the recent levy. Perhaps the greatest progress in the district in the last three years is in the area of financial management. We have a talented, experienced business manager and a policy of openness. 

8. Describe how you view the districtís current facilities needs. Did you support or oppose the school plant facility election last fall (which failed)?
District facilities, on average, are not what they should be. We have a lot of work to do. (See answer 4C above.) I supported the plant facility levy.

9. What, if anything, should our school district do about teaching values? Should our district teach about family life, sex education, AIDS?
Of course we should teach values. Commonly shared values of respect, fairness, openness, teamwork should be woven into the fabric of life and instruction in our schools. What we shouldnít be teaching are ideologies that are not commonly shared in the broader society. Age-appropriate, fact-based lessons about family life, sex education, AIDS, etc., also have a place in our schools.