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Meet the candidate: Dora Wilson

Dora Wilson is running for a seat on the school board in this year's municipal election.
Dora Wilson is running for a seat on the school board in this year's municipal election.(Courtesy Dora Wilson's campaign team)
Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 3:22 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Dora Wilson is running for a seat on the school board. Alaska’s News Source asked her to answer some questions about her campaign. Here’s what she said.

What school board seat are you running for?

SCHOOL BOARD SEAT F

Can you give me a short description of yourself?

I have lived in Anchorage for the past 25 years, raised 3 amazing children (now young adults) and my husband and I have been a licensed therapeutic foster and adoptive parents for the past 16 years. I graduated from Eastern Washington University with my Bachelor of Arts in Health Care Administration and went on to receive my Master of Arts in Business Organizational Management from the University of LaVerne. I am a member of the Resource Family Advisory Board as the AK South-Central representative. This board was created by the Office of Children Services (OCS) with the purpose of advocating for foster families. I am a co-founder of AK Hopes & Dreams providing free youth leadership summits to students. I have also worked with the Anchorage School Business Partnership Program for the past 20 years as a board member and advocating for strengthening partnerships between schools and the business community.

Why are you running for school board?

I believe education is the key to success and investing in our youth is an investment in our community. I believe all young people should have the opportunity for a good education and successful life. I am a first-generation college graduate and I want to make sure the opportunity for this next generation does not vanish. Kids deserve the right to hope and dream and achieve those dreams with an accessible and equitable public education.

What will be your focus on the school board?

My campaign will be focused on transparent communication, career and life readiness and equity. I am an advocate for college, vocational technology, skilled trades and apprenticeship, with a unique perspective and experience in each of these areas. As a member of the School Board I will continue to spend time in the schools, gaining first-hand knowledge of how things work and asking for input on how policy can improve the communication and process in the schools. We must welcome the opportunity to be inclusive, make appropriate accommodations, and celebrate the assets of every student.

Do you think students should be back in school, learning virtually, or a hybrid?

The safety of students, staff and families is a priority. This past year of online learning has been very difficult for our youth. I believe students work best in an environment where they can socialize and interact in an in person setting. However, some families are not ready to return to in person learning due to concerns for safety. I would like to see the combination of in person learning for those students and staff that are comfortable being in person and an option for continued online learning for the families and staff that still have concerns of safety due to the current pandemic.

Should students in school be wearing masks?

Our local data shows that mask wearing helps decrease the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings and anywhere they will be around other people. We need to protect students, staff and families.

Do you think children were left behind this school year? How can they get back to grade level?

The amount of interaction, socialization and physical exercise decreased tremendously for our kids. As a working parent myself, I know that trying to balance work and educating children at the same time is extremely difficult. Many families have faced additional challenges such as lack of internet access and technical support. On the positive side, students were all issued computers throughout the pandemic and many have better access to technology than they did before the pandemic began. It is going to take intentional effort from the school district to ensure our students have their increased educational needs met. This starts by supporting teaching staff and empowering them to give individualized approaches when necessary. It is now more important than ever to work in partnership with community organizations, families and students to identify ways to improve the success for all of our youth.

How do you plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic in schools?

Plans for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in schools will be determined by many factors, including CDC guidelines, Municipality guidelines, availability of vaccines and rates of infection to name of few. A plan will need to take into consideration current information.

What’s the largest non-pandemic issue facing the district and what do you intend to do about it?

The largest non-pandemic issues facing the district, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, are the overall academic achievement of students and low graduation rates for many of our students of color. These are issues that need to be kept at the forefront of conversation and continually work with the community to identify gaps that exist and ways to provide supports that each student needs in order to achieve their own success.

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