Parent, Citizen, and Advocate for Children
By Laura Gapske
I respectfully announce my candidacy for the Superior School District Board. As a district parent, engaged citizen and advocate for children and families, I want to be an active part of growing a strong and progressive school district for the City of Superior, which is responsive to the needs of the diverse children and families in our area.
I’m a proud Superior resident, home-owner, and single mother of two wonderful boys; Landon and Mannix James. Both of my children are currently enrolled in the Superior District, which further strengthens my dedication to creating the best education for all of our area’s youth.
Personally and professionally, I’ve had many roles that give me relevant insights to this role. I have an in-depth perspective on policies and procedures, 11+ years working with families and children experiencing trauma, and/or homelessness, and extensive experience building coalitions and community through a best practice approach to decision-making and learning.
The skills I have acquired through my career, closely mirror the qualifications and qualities sought in a school board member. I’m a passionate, grassroots leader who creates community passages which foster spaces to listen and share experiences with other people, while further developing and improving the systems response.
In preparing myself for candidacy, I met with parents, teachers, and administration to hear from those working in and with the education system directly. Many highlighted the importance of providing a responsive, research-based, child-centered philosophy in education and district programming.
Professionally, I am accustomed to applying and synthesizing feedback and research to meaningfully solve problems, in this way. Similarly, in my field, this is what I have to adapt to and conduct regularly at my place of employment in an evolving field, which is heavily researched based.
Currently, I work for First Witness Child Advocacy Center where I conduct and train on forensically- sound interviews when allegations of child maltreatment or abuse arise to support investigations by social services and/or law enforcement, while working with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals.
I lead and coordinate First Witness’ forensic interview training program, where I provide training on interviewing, policies and procedures, child development and linguistics, team development and dynamics of maltreatment and abuse to social workers, law enforcement and county attorneys locally and regionally.
I am devoted to the City of Superior because I am committed to strong schools to continue building a safe and equitable school district for all children. I want to take on leadership in this community Superior because I believe in our parents, foster parents, and the guardians raising our future generations.
I fully believe in this community because young people of Superior are stepping up to contribute to problem solve and improve our community with renewed ideas and energy. We must invest in them now.
Our valuable teachers need to be invested in for the best outcomes for our children’s education. I will honor the union contracts and negotiate in good faith to retain our professional and quality employees. In the past, I have heard of the board not respecting the labor union which is more tax dollars out of the City of Superior.
We need creative ways to improve the employment situation for district staff while staying within imposed budgetary restrictions. Schools which give more control to teachers, students, and families create capabilities and drive curriculum.
Typically administrators, politicians and private corporations are the biggest ailments and obstacles to education. To work with schools effectively, with continuously less resources, we will need to share and balance the power.
We can work to figure out how to do this together!
In every aspect of my life I promote equity and inclusion, while dismantling the barriers caused by misunderstandings. I have an astute knowledge of the many barriers and challenges children and families face.
In the upcoming years of this election term, the School District of Superior will be face the challenge of hiring a Superintendent to replace Janna Stevens after her respective retirement. Additionally, the Board will have to initiate assessments for policies and practices to offer equal opportunities for students and district employees with the goal to provide a safe and positive environment.
My opponents have personal advances to being voted on the school board and have been unable to adhere to the Philosophy of the Board. In the past year, only three of the seven school board members maintained two way communication with myself as a citizen of the district.
The philosophy states citizens should be urged to bring their aspirations and concerns about the district to attention. It’s been unclear to me if they are interested in meeting the desires of residents. Communication is essential.
I sense the current school board does not represent our community. I have managed raising two boys with a lower income which furthers my understanding of the struggles of a large portion of our community. It’s time to bring more balance with a progressive perspective to our Superior School District Board.
I am devoted to and passionate about contributing to the work involved in the growth of our strong school district with hopes to retain our amazing youth in this area. We should drive to motivate students to invest in our community.
I would be honored to put my expertise, knowledge, and relationships to work for the School District of Superior.
I ask that you reject the status quo of numerous terms held by current board members and vote in a new voice to represent you. I will need your pledge to GO VOTE on April 4th for Gapske for School Board and urge you to sign up to volunteer or donate to show your support. Thank you for your time!
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