Let me put my leadership experience and personal commitment to Germantown
Schools to work for our community. Vote for Suzanne Jones for GMSD
Our District will be very busy over the next three to five years as we are growing and
ever-changing at a rapid pace. The first two years of our District were spent building it
as our own. As we are entering our third year, it's time to look forward by defining how we will make our District the top in Tennessee. I have operated in this type of
environment and I am energized by it and even thrive in it. I believe that by truly
listening to all stakeholders' input while working closely with Jason Manuel, our
superintendent, we can ensure the best possible District for our great teachers, strong
students, parents, administrators and all Germantown residents. My key points that I will look to initiate these discussions around are:
Teachers are the Key to An Excellent District
We should be the leaders in Tennessee for teacher recruitment and retention. If we
truly want to be the top District in Tennessee, we will need to ensure that we attract the best teachers and that they, along with the great teachers currently in our District, stay in our District. Decreases in class size and increases in planning time are big factors of teacher retention as well as monetary compensation. One of my first requests as a Board member would be to gather a team (made up of teachers, administration, parents, city leaders, residents) to review high ranking districts nationwide to determine what the key is to their teacher recruitment and retention. An analysis should be prepared which lays out the ranges of what this team would recommend with monetary implications. This is the type of information which should be presented to the Board and Community to determine what we as a District and Community are willing to do for our teachers to make our District top in the state. Great schools benefit the whole community, not only the students within the District, through increases to property values and sales tax revenues.
Class Size Matters
As a Board member, I will work to ensure that class size limits are based on research,
teacher recommendations, and include the voice of our teachers and community. We
should look beyond utilizing state required limits and set our own policies of appropriate class sizes by grade.
Curriculum which Encompasses the Whole Child
Education is not a one size fits all. Not all children are the same and as such their
education should not be either. For example, we should find ways to challenge and
support our students who are not in APEX or Honors courses and provide vocational
options for those who would prefer a path other than college. We should ensure that
our students are prepared for the next phase of their lives after high school. Our
curriculum should be built in a complete and comprehensive way so that all pieces are
connected from Kindergarten to High school in a focused path for our students. Our
Board along with our Administration and Community should determine our District’s
view on what options should be available outside of the academic curriculum (i.e.
foreign language, music, art and others). Building and refining this customized,
connected path will take our students and our District into 21 st century learning.
When our Board, Administration, and Community work together great things can be
accomplished. As a Board member, I will promise to have composed and focused
conversations at all times and work to ensure that all voices are heard and most
importantly, that time is allowed for the review of significant decisions. Communication and building relationships will lead to trust. As a Board member, I will work to include all ideas from the community, administration and the Board and ensure that the Board is working as a team.
I believe that our Schools can and will be the centerpiece of our Community. Our
schools produce the community of tomorrow: tomorrow’s Germantown. As a Board
member, I will work to bring our community of schools together so that the experiences and opportunities as an elementary or middle school student are the same whether they are at Riverdale, Farmington, Dogwood or Houston Middle. As our District grows, it is imperative that we stay connected with the voice of the Community and ensure that our partnership with the City continues to stay strong.
Influence in Nashville is Critical
We currently are present in Nashville; however we are not an influence in Nashville.
Our Board should have strong relationships with neighboring municipal districts as well as ones across Tennessee. Our Board should be bringing ideas to Nashville with a
strong voice and knowledge of how to get the attention of Nashville to push real change for our District: reduced testing, more flexibility for local districts, more control over local curriculum, and accountability for any decrease in funding.