As former president and current member of the Stober Elementary PTA, Stephanie Schooley has spent years brainstorming ways the PTA can help its community improve. But she’s also put a special …
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The other candidate for the Jefferson County School District is Rob Applegate.
As former president and current member of the Stober Elementary PTA, Stephanie Schooley has spent years brainstorming ways the PTA can help its community improve.
But she’s also put a special emphasis on making sure the PTA itself improves, working to “expand the sense of who belongs” in the Stober PTA, she said.
“A lot of times, people don’t engage unless they’re asked, so PTAs can be kind of insular,” she said. “The most important thing for us was building the coalition of voices. It’s a group of parents, neighbors and members of the business community coming together.”
Since joining the PTA, Schooley’s been climbing a “ladder of involvement,” she said, which has ultimately led her to the 2019 Board of Education elections. Now, Schooley is running for the Director District 3 position, one of five seats on the school board.
Schooley lives in Applewood with her husband and two daughters, who attend Stober Elementary and Everitt Middle School. For 19 years, she has worked at nonprofit Campus Compact of the Mountain West, which collaborates with higher education institutions to provide students civic engagement opportunities that relate to their studies. Schooley was promoted to executive director of the nonprofit in 2010.
“Our mission is to create opportunities to connect what students are learning with why it matters,” she said, so that they can learn how to use their education beyond “what it means for a career.”
If elected, Schooley said she would “create a real budget priority” to increase teacher compensation, which would incentivize seasoned educators to stay in Jeffco and would ensure teachers can afford to live in the community in which they work.
She would also like to work with other board members to explore putting additional resources toward professional growth and development for teachers.
Schooley, who has read through the entire district budget, said she believes board members would need to collaborate to find these resources.
“I would like us to say, what are the budget items that are doing what they’re supposed to do, and what are those that have passed the deadline to prove they’re effective?” she said. If budget items do not clearly promote the skills outlined in Jeffco Generations, the district’s master plan, “I think we need to evaluate those (items).”
She’d also like to start a conversation around how the district can provide additional opportunities to ensure that all students, no matter their background, “see a pathway that makes sense for them” in Jeffco Schools, she said.
“The district needs to intentionally use an equity lens,” she said. “We should be doing continual outreach and conversation to make sure our students see their future in our district.”
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