I’m a product of a top-10 public school in the U.S. (Fayetteville, Arkansas Public Schools). I was hired by the University of Arkansas as the youngest and first female computer lab manager. I managed the lab in the University’s Enhanced Learning Center to assist struggling students with learning technology. I moved from my hometown to St. Louis in 2010, and I want to bring the same excellent education I received to SLPS students.
In 2011, I began working for a local nonprofit (WITS, Inc.) which repurposes unwanted electronics into free computers for families and schools, instead of dumping them into landfills. I’ve provided over 1,000 free computers to families in need, and led family workshops designed to encourage bonding through teaching kids and parents to build their own computers from scratch.
In 2013, I left WITS to found Project Raise The Roof, an organization which prevents the seizure of owner-occupied homes at Sheriff’s tax auctions. I’ve helped over 60 families keep their homes on the tax rolls to fund our schools, when those homes would have become City-owned vacant buildings.
For the past 3 years, I’ve joined 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis and HOT 104.1 on the high school S.W.A.G. [Service, Well-Being, Academic Achievement, and Goal-Setting] Tour. I’ve registered over 200 SLPS seniors to vote, and spoken to hundreds more students about how to become engaged in the political process before they’re old enough to cast a ballot. I’ve re-enfranchised over a dozen non-violent felons.
In 2016, I served as a MOCD1 delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and am a member of the Missouri Democratic Party Progressive Caucus. I’m fortunate to be in a position which allows me to act as a 100% full-time volunteer – and I get measurable, positive results with any project I tackle.
I know and love my northside neighborhood, Wells/Goodfellow. But I will not sit back as my neighbors are pummeled with fines and oppressed by cyclical poverty. After the integration of schools, things got worse – not better – for African Americans in St. Louis. A 1971 state statute implemented the seizure of homes with delinquent property taxes, primarily in Black neighborhoods. It’s still in effect. Fully-paid-off homes are taken away, leaving fixed-income seniors/veterans nothing to pass on to their children; each generation must start from scratch. The “bootstraps” argument does not apply when our government keeps confiscating our boots. I advocate for my neighbors at the Building Division and Housing Court. I help victims of gun violence and domestic abuse relocate to safe, stable homes and enroll their kids in SLPS.
We have to meet people where they are. Sometimes that means taking their phone calls after midnight; sometimes it means driving them to City Hall to tend to municipal errands; giving their kids odd jobs or fun homework assignments over the summer; or meeting parents at 6 in the morning to provide them a ride to work. At 2pm or 2am, I will be there. I will continue to be that link for parents working odd hours at demanding or low-wage jobs when they’re unable to attend school board meetings or parent/teacher conferences. I will continue to fund our schools and increase enrollment. I will continue to serve the people of St. Louis City – NOT the special interests.
I’m a tireless activist, and St. Louis City deserves a school board member who will commit to much more than attending meetings and discussing possible solutions. We need more than words, we need action.
We must work alongside our communities to understand their needs – not just make decisions for their children. I’m already doing the work. I look forward to serving on the St. Louis school board, learning new skills from fellow board members, and guiding them on broadening community outreach and improving board member accessibility.
The School Board is an elected body of 7 people, not just one single legislator. Any solid board of directors has an eclectic mix of personalities and professional backgrounds. We should strive, as an elected board, to be 7 times as knowledgeable, capable, and diverse as any one single elected official, and with over 20,000 unique students depending on us, we need all the varied skills we can muster.
Much like our schools deserve a diverse student population, our School Board deserves a diverse board with broad set of skills and varied backgrounds. We need parents; we need educators; we need policy nerds; we need activists. And above all, we need board members who are able to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses to bring their talents together and work cohesively for the betterment of our students and our City as a whole.
- STOP punishing students with suspension and felonies. We must END the school-to-prison pipeline!
- Expand early childhood education hours for working families. Children need to begin basic learning with parents working all shifts.
- Lower property taxes for fixed-income senior citizens and veterans to keep properties on the tax rolls, funding our schools.
- Prioritize our teachers and parents when shaping curriculum and policy
- End cyclical poverty to fund our schools — instead of bankrolling wealthy developers.
- Address the needs of low-income students. Many bright youth face serious issues outside the classroom.
- Empower parents across the economic spectrum, and stop equating poverty with apathy.