In their own words: School Board Seat D Candidate Sandra Martinson
NN: What are your qualifications and why do you want to run for School Board?
Sandra Martinson: My name is Sandy Martinson. My family is firmly established in this community and I have a vested interest in serving the public. I have two future leaders currently attending Nome Public Schools.
I have served this community for 14 out of my 16-year law enforcement career. These past 14 years has been in supervisory positions with the State of Alaska. My current career involves protecting the public by managing a state-operated adult correctional institution. Previous to my current employment, I was a probation / parole officer serving Nome and the surrounding villages. I have excellent organizational and leadership skills. I have experience in drafting policy and procedures, budgets, training, emergency response and working with diverse populations. I have the necessary skills and will be a strong asset to the School Board.
NN: Describe your experience with education in Nome and highlight the changes you’d like to see in the Nome School District.
Sandra Martinson: My children have been part of the Nome Public Schools for the past decade. I am an active participant in the educational and extracurricular activities offered through the school and in the community. For example, I am a Girl Scout mother and leader, and a current and former member of various boards that benefit the community (i.e. former Nome Preschool board and Bering Sea Women’s Group board, and current Seaside Advisory board and Reentry Coalition, etc.). Through my service to the Nome community, I can add a diverse perspective and wide range of experience to the School Board. Like many of you, I’ve experienced the same changes Nome Public Schools has gone through over the past decade. This has encouraged me to want the opportunity to stay informed and to have a voice. I want to be more involved with promoting the success of all of our future leaders. I want to connect with other parents, students and teachers. I would like to see more partnerships between the Nome Public Schools and the community. By resource sharing we can create a stronger sense of community and help offset financial limitations. I would appreciate the opportunity to serve this community in an educational capacity.
NN: Recent release of PEAKS (Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools) test scores showed a low level of Nome students’ proficiency in language and math. How do you propose to improve this performance?
Sandra Martinson: My vision for the Nome Public School system is to be a high-achieving district. Improving test scores is a broader issue that will take the students, parents, teachers, administrators, school board and community as a whole. We can focus on student learning, modernizing, and staff development. The school board can work with administration to foster political and organizational stability by investing in staff, being policy driven and focusing on accountability. Investing in staff, students and families through training, support and collaboration creates a sense of community. Fostering a larger community footprint will go a long way in promoting student, staff and family success in school. Also, having high standards for success goes a long way in instilling motivation.
NN: Budget constraints are to be expected as the state budget contracts annually. How do you propose the school district prepares for decreasing budget realities as costs rise?
Sandra Martinson: I have experience in dealing with budgets and facing annual budget constraints. I would suggest creating committees to focus on auditing and evaluating existing practices and resources and being strategic in future planning. Another improvement area is to encourage a larger community footprint and ensuring financial stability. One way is to create partnerships that link community resources to the school. Other ways are to promote resource sharing, mentoring, soliciting volunteers, creating committees to focus on specific topics and being strategic in future planning. We should be researching grant opportunities and finding ways to sustain funding.
NN: What are your thoughts for improving recruitment efforts to find and keep new teachers?
Sandra Martinson: Recruitment in remote locations, not to mention Alaska, is challenging. There are many ways to improve recruitment efforts. Some ideas are to ensure staff development, training and wellbeing. Transparency and open communication are good tools to use when promoting a positive work environment, in addition to fostering a collaborative relationship with staff and the community. One way is to create partnerships that link community resources to the school. Other ways are to promote resource sharing, mentoring, soliciting volunteers, creating committees to focus on specific topics and being strategic in future planning.