Dr. Summer Johnson for Pattonville:
It has been fascinating to be a part of the evolving social and cultural landscape of our district. With this evolution comes challenges that are beyond just educational needs. My hope is to continue to improve the district’s ability to adapt to the needs of all of Pattonville’s students, staff, and their families.
I have twenty-two years’ experience working with youth in inpatient and outpatient settings. I evaluate to determine whether a child requires accommodations at school and then help parents advocate for those accommodations. I have a research background in cultural diversity, having made several presentations. I am currently working to help create a youth enrichment program.
A Statement from the Candidate
During the course of this campaign, I have been fortunate to speak with many parents, students, staff, and administrators regarding the state of the district. I have been met with varying opinions regarding what is right and what is not. What has worked, and what has not. Without question, the level of diversity within the student population is an asset to all of us. I love to watch my son coming home excited about what he has learned, with whom he has played, and am appreciative to his teachers for helping to make his educational experience one in which he is willing to engage. I love that his principal is committed to character education and drawing upon the opportunities for the children to have diverse experiences. My biggest concerns at present are equity between the schools and the factors contributing to the lack thereof. It is disheartening to me that some elementary schools seem to flourish while others struggle a bit more. Several families have moved to the district with the impression they would be improving upon their child’s education, and are then disappointed to face issues that are potentially worse than those within the district from which they moved. My son and I have had a very good experience with his school, but it saddens me that students at other elementary schools are not offered the same opportunities. It’s important to me to figure out why this is the case and offer solutions for ensuring each school has equitable access to district resources.
As a psychologist, I am well aware of the impact a child’s environmental exposure has on his or her functioning. A school district cannot control what may happen in a child’s home, but often must prepare for a child’s potential displacement of feelings that can occur in the classroom. Teachers usually go to school to learn to become educators, not being equipped to be a “surrogate” mother, father, counselor, or police officer. Yet, these roles are often expected of them. The district should ensure they have the tools needed to expand their teaching role when necessary.
I want to continue to hear your stories. I want to hear from you what is right and what concerns and solutions you have for addressing those areas that need improvement. Please use this link to share your thoughts and experiences with me.
In order to win this election, I’m really going to need your personal support. In years past, the outcome of the election has been dictated by the endorsement of the Pattonville chapter of the NEA. Teachers are only one group of stakeholders in what happens in our schools, but have routinely demonstrated the manpower necessary to inform the voting public of their choices regarding school board candidates. Typically, they also endorse incumbents. I would be new to the school board and believe I need to be prepared to not receive this endorsement. As such, I will need people who are willing to canvass, help with mailings, place and display yard signs, and hand out literature at the polls. Of course, I am also appreciative of monetary donations. If you are able to donate any of your time or other resources, please click the Get Involved tab above to share your interest.
I hope to keep in close contact with Pattonville’s families along this journey and encourage you to reach out whenever you have a concern. A vote for me is a vote for a brighter future for Pattonville.