What are your priorities for the district in the coming year? Why and how did you select these issues?
I selected the following priorities because of their importance to the students and families of Duval County. Students deserve access to world class facilities, great teachers, resources to help them fulfill their potential, and strong partners to help us do the work.
While there are lots of choices for families that can sometimes be overwhelming, the school you choose should not be a gamble. Our district should provide equitable access to school options including ensuring neighborhood schools are your number one option. The best option should be the one that’s easiest to access, not the other way around. The passage of the ½ cent sales tax, is an investment that would be a great first step toward building pride in your neighborhood option and bringing equitable choices to all families.
Great Teachers and Leaders
The number one predictor of a student’s success is the teacher. Great teachers work for great leaders. I’ll get to work to make sure that we attract, train, and retain great teachers and leaders by working with our state representatives to increase teacher pay. It would be a shame to have shiny new buildings while we struggle to find enough classroom teachers.
Mind the Opportunity Gap
Students and families have dreams. Our focus should be on building the knowledge, skills, and habits so that no matter which zip code you come from, schools are given the resources and opportunities they deserve, and all kids are given the opportunity to achieve.
Strong Partnerships and Stakeholders
I believe in the power of collaboration and competition. I would work towards establishing stronger relationships with DCPS partners, stakeholders, and charter schools. Listening and learning from all points of view makes us stronger. I believe all stakeholders that interact with our students should be at the table. At the end of the day, they’re all of our kids. I believe that a community's schools are the message to the future that will never be seen.
Kory Von Leue is running for School Board District 1.
School board members are elected to represent not only the interests of the schools located in their district, but also the school system as a whole. In the past, this has at times led to conflict among board members. What is your philosophy on this issue? What would you do to keep cohesiveness and communication among school board members?
One of my top priorities is working with all stakeholders to do what’s best for all students. I believe it takes a village for students to achieve their potential. As a teacher and leader who has spent time engaging and working with families from all over Jacksonville, I understand that we all have hopes and dreams for our children and I am committed to seeking out solutions that lift all communities.
What would you do to improve communication and strengthen your relationships between the schools, parents and community members, especially when a new program or policy is introduced?
As a facilitator with the Jacksonville Public Education Funds’ One by One initiative, I learned the power of curiosity, listening and acknowledging what others say, feel, and need. I will take that idea with me as a school board member and hold virtual and in person town hall meetings, so I can ensure that community members are informed and heard. We should be working with our community not doing things to the community. Curiosity is one of the strongest tools we have when engaging broad coalitions and working for the common good of our kids.
In addition to voting for school board members, members of our community will also vote on a half-penny sales tax referendum to fund an extensive capital facilities plan in November. Do you support the referendum and capital plan, and how do you plan to engage with it as a school board candidate and member?
I will be a champion for ½ cent sales tax. This investment in our city and our families will play a critical role in equitable access for students. For most students and families, traveling across the city to attend a school, is a barrier. I believe that when the neighborhood school is just as good as traveling across the city, then all families will have equitable access to schools. I will work with different stakeholders to learn how their neighborhoods will benefit from new schools. I will work with others to determine how best to use our resources and manage our investment in a way that will provide long term benefits to our students and families.
Over the last few years, the Legislature has had a big impact on local public education. What are your top issues at the state level, and how would you work with legislators in Tallahassee to represent the needs of our students?
As one of my priorities, great teachers and leaders play the most critical role in student outcomes. I welcome the investment in teachers from the state legislature in bringing teacher salaries in line with national averages. I believe that investing in facilities and teachers will have long lasting benefits that will continue to raise student achievement across the state.
Another of my priorities is working with stakeholders to ensure best outcomes for our students. That includes working with state and federal leaders. I will work to advance the needs of students and families across Duval County.
Duval County, like districts across the country, has a teacher recruitment and retention problem. How do you think our district can address this shortage?
Research has shown that teachers are the number one predictor of student outcomes. Surveys have also shown us the role of the leader in attracting, training, and retaining good teachers. I support the state’s efforts to increase teacher pay. I support heavily investing in principal leadership training, as they hold the key to our most precious resource, teachers. With hundreds of classrooms across the state, going without a teacher, it would be a shame to have beautiful new facilities and continue to have teacher vacancies.
As Duval County has made great progress in education, there are still students who are falling behind. How would you keep a focus on addressing inequities in student performance and supporting schools in low-income neighborhoods?
One thing has become crystal clear during the closure of our school buildings. Access to technology and being technologically literate has proven to be a barrier for lots of families. I support more family engagement with our online platforms and an increase in the development of computer literacy for students and parents. As a teacher during this crisis, one of my number one roles became technology support. The teacher became the first line of access for families. We have also learned how important the school building itself is in eliminating lots of barriers that many of our students face. Access and ease of use of technology is a barrier that the school should work to address with our families.