Mar. 23, 2019

Name: Amy Turgon
Occupation: Accountant/Financial Analyst
Education: BS in Accounting
Years lived in LS: 11+
Previous elected offices held: I’ve worked on multiple campaigns, but have not previously run for office myself.

Why are you running for school board?

Our current Board only has one member with children attending schools in this district. Our Board should reflect the community it serves. As a parent, I am concerned and want to be involved. I want to give parents an equal voice in our School Board.

What ties, personally or professionally, do you have to the LSR7 School District?

Both of my daughters graduated from LS West High School. My son is currently a Freshman at West.

What other volunteer/civic involvement have you had? What have you learned from that experience?

I have volunteered in so many ways, Girl Scout Troop Leader, Rec League Soccer Coach, others, and a young adult political action group. The political action group has been the most revealing and rewarding experience. Getting young adults engaged and involved with the political process and seeing their own revelations that they can affect change, is something to behold.

If elected, what would be your top priority as a board member?

I value transparency, so the community feels informed and part of the decision-making process. Some people feel we haven’t been as transparent as we could be. I would like to create more transparency, so families feel fully informed and knowledgeable of issues in the district.

In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of our school district?

Our greatest strength is our parental involvement. Parents in the district are willing to step up and help when asked. Community involvement is crucial to the success of our district.

What do you foresee being the biggest hurdle facing the district in the upcoming years?

LSR7 is at a pivotal point where every decision made now will determine our success in the next 3 to 5 years. How we handle our growing population, changing demographics, and continuing to ensure our children receive the best education, will be very important issues to navigate.

What are your plans for returning funding to dwindling and lost extracurricular activities?

As with most things financial, this appears to be a simple question, however, it would require complex analysis and understanding to fully assess the impact of cuts in funding and where we could make changes to be more efficient or more productive.

How can the school district better prepare students for careers that don’t require a traditional four-year degree?

It’s important that we review our current funding and vision for our vocational programs. Many students may benefit and have valuable life and career skills from these programs upon leaving school.

How do you view the financial management of the district? Would you do anything to change it?

[No answer given]

Do you believe that a teacher’s evaluation should be based on student test scores?

There are several methods other districts have implemented to have a more rounded less subjective evaluation of teacher performance. Some of those methods include submitting video of themselves for review; including peers and teacher leaders in the evaluation process, this allows more frequent observation and feedback; moving from an evaluating model to a coaching model; having the teachers involved in their own evaluations and so many others. Of course, I would want teacher and admin input as to whether any of those methods would be of benefit here in Lee’s Summit.

What are your ideas for addressing suicide education and awareness at all school levels?

We must provide an environment conducive to openly discussing mental health issues in our schools, by our students. We then must provide the appropriate resources and referrals as necessary to meet student needs.

What are your thoughts on the community conversations regarding equity and race relations, including the board’s recently adopted LSR7 Equity Plan, and how will you help move the district forward?

It’s important that we come together as a community, get back to the table to discuss what’s important, our children. Our children are the most important part of this equation. We should come together to discuss what we have in common and where we can agree. Let’s come up with real solutions to have open, honest conversations about race, socio-economics, special education, our LGBT students and environmental influences that can affect how our children learn.

There has been criticism of the current superintendent and administration that has gone from constructive to unreasonable, particularly on social media. How do you propose creating a constructive dialog with the community?

Our district has had a tumultuous two years. Community involvement is vital to the success of our district. Communication, whether forums, surveys, focus groups or social media, are central to accountability. We must find things to unite us. Transparency goes a long way to restoring faith from our community.

How do you plan to address public concerns and improve openness and transparency, including responding to Missouri Sunshine Law requests?

I am committed to increasing transparency. As a parent with children attending schools in the district, one of my goals is to provide parents in the district with a voice and accountability from the Board.

What do you think the relationship should be between the city and the school district concerning plans for additional growth in Lee’s Summit?

[No answer given]