Understanding the ballot: meet school board candidate Jnl Linsacum
In addition to ballot measures and city council, citizens of Moffat County will also have the opportunity to reelect incumbents or bring in newcomers to Moffat County School District’s board of education. One of those candidates is Jnl Linsacum, who is currently holding an at-large seat on the board. This election season, Linsacum is vying for the District B seat.
Craig Press: What would be your three top priorities as a school board member?
- Keeping and retaining quality educators. With the teacher shortage across the nation, we have to make sure our teachers’ salaries are competitive, they are provided with meaningful professional development and the resources to provide quality education, and we need to look into opportunities to address the housing shortage.
- Provide a safe and secure learning environment for our students. This includes providing mental health services for students. The pandemic has been very hard on kids and we need to provide them with social and emotional support.
- Working to correct the “COVID slide.” Students fell behind last year when they had to participate remotely. Students need to be in the classroom. We have amazing educators that are willing and able to give 110% to achieve this goal.
CP: Some parents in the community are worried that masks may be enforced in schools. What is your approach to these concerns, and how would you balance that with public health concerns?
Linsacum: One thing we can all agree on is that our end goal is kids in classrooms. Kids learn best there. The mitigation plans to date have been made with that goal in mind. Our goal is to keep kids in classrooms as consistently and safely as possible because stability affects all of us. When kids are sent home, it affects parents and local businesses. The District developed the COVID dashboard which they update every week. This issue brings out big emotions on both sides. It is a board member’s job to listen and avoid any promise of action. So far, the numbers have been nowhere near the 3% positivity rate to warrant masks. As a board member, I would listen to the experts in education and in health. I also appreciate that parents have a choice. I hope we can avoid masks, but would support them if it meant the difference between in person or remote learning.
CP: Are there any concerns/topics you hope to tackle in a second term?
Linsacum: I hope we can bring the focus back to education. The pandemic has taken a toll on our teachers and administrators. Teachers have been having to cover other classrooms because other staff are out sick. They need time to plan and collaborate with their peers. I think we need to strongly consider a 4-day week with some of those days off as professional development days. We need to have input from the teachers, administrators and community.
CP: What is one way you would suggest that could get more community engagement (especially from citizens without children) in school matters?
Linsacum: We need to use our community partnerships to engage our stakeholders. Sandrock (Elementary) is having a construction contractor come in and explain the process of building a house. Craig Middle School is using community problem based learning to work on the outside flower beds. How do we improve schools? Ask for input. Coffee with the Superintendent is a great way to connect with community members that might not have kids in school. I would also like to see our students go to the Senior citizens centers and perform music concerts during the holidays.
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