Valerie Fleming for District 43 School Board
Lead with Love: my invested commitment to the community
It was during my 10th grade year of high school that I decided to become a teacher. I knew I wanted to help people, and so I did my very best to do just that. I have devoted my life to supporting those I work with in hopes of helping them to learn, to feel happiness, and to feel empowerment on their journeys. It is with this hope and great expectations for the future, that I now run for a seat on the District 43 school board. I want to be the bridge between the community and the district; the advocate for the parents, the advocate for the educators and staff, the advocate for the community members, and most of all the advocate for our kids, whose voices need elevated above all.
- 9 years of teaching experience
- 6 years teaching special education
- dual experience as both an educator and as a parent in the district
- resident of Apache Junction for 5 years
- AJHS JV Volleyball Coach 2020-2021
- teacher sponsor of the AJHS Skate Club 2021-2022
What differentiates you from the other candidates and/or board members?
The key difference that sets me apart from the other candidates and/or the current board members is that my experience and knowledge of the educational system extends beyond merely having previously been a student in the district, or in general. As a board member, I will bring first hand knowledge and the expertise that comes with working in the field of education for going on a decade. My passion and interests in the district are anchored in my heart, and not from temporary interests that motivate the majority of initiatives for campaigning. I have chosen to not sign a contract to teach in a place that I love, in order to strive boldly into the community and offer myself to the betterment of the district. Our school board is composed of members with a variety of backgrounds and vitally needs the perspective and input of an educator/parent. My background as an educator includes a masters degree from Grand Canyon University in Cross-Categorical Special Education, and a bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in English, with a concentration in literature. I am knowledgeable in special education laws and policies.
Why are you running for the Board of Education? If elected, what will be your priorities?
If elected, some of my priorities will include getting the community to be invested in the district again, which will include working to rebuild the feelings of trust that the community has lost over the years due to various mishaps both financially and academically within the district. Our district has a severely high turnover rate among teachers and faculty. The district employees phenomenal people, who unfortunately aren't staying long term. Where is the disconnect? Issues like this do not contribute to fostering a trusting relationship with the community, and a positive relationship with the community is needed in times of requesting bonds or overrides. As a school board member, I can help ensure that the district continues to employee highly qualified and certified staff that return to work there year after year. As a school board member, I will bring the wisdom and insight of a seasoned educator, that which has not previously been heard in sessions, nor valued. I will advocate for the budget to be re-examined and broken down to find oversight in overspending or unnecessary spending that could be better used elsewhere within the district. This includes examining the administration to student ratio, the support staff to need ratio (such as front offices), and the district personal to need ratio, and making cuts accordingly to thus further support high quality academics, extracurriculars, sports, etc. Less can oftentimes be more. Adjustments such as these can potentially reduce the need for the district to ask for a bond or override vote in future occasions.
In addition to rebuilding trust with the community and working to make better use of the given budgets, I want to advocate for the voices of those who often go unheard or feel unheard. If elected I want the community to know they are heard by their school board. As a school board member, I will be available regularly on a monthly or bimonthly basis, at a local location like a park or coffee shop, to visit with anyone interested in stopping by to share their thoughts, concerns, input, etc. I lead with love in my classroom and my students have flourished. Many of you have witnessed this first hand as they are your own children, who I have been so honored to work with in these last four years. I want a district that the community raves about on the local social media pages whenever someone asks for a school recommendation. Through adjustments like this, our district will see an increase in student performance, which will in turn continue to raise our school letter grades, giving the community a sense of pride for our rural district in front of the Superstition Mountains.