THE GENERAL ELECTION IS TUES., NOV. 2, 2021.
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Stow Collaboration for Change is excited to endorse Dr. Pamela Wind for the Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education. We had the opportunity to sit down with Pamela and discuss her platform, qualifications, and motivations, which you can read all about on her campaign website.
Click here to donate to Pamela’s campaign. If you’re local, consider volunteering your time to help canvas!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How do you imagine a better Stow?
I see progress instead of stagnation. I see the school district and the Board moving forward on important work.
We have old elementary schools that do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They are not accessible to students, parents, or staff. The Facilities Planning Committee, of which I am a part, is looking at options to replace these buildings with ADA-compliant facilities.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
We need a Board of Education that supports the work of the DEI committee. The people on that committee bring such a wealth of expertise, and as a Board member I would welcome the opportunity to listen to them, learn from them, and back them one million percent.
We must address the issue of mental health in our schools. As a mental health professional, I’m especially qualified to speak to issues of mental health and suicide. Suicide prevention is one of my top priorities.
We need to be more proactive about mental health and suicide prevention in our schools. If elected, I would push the Board to be a stronger champion of the city’s You Matter campaign. Most of that drive is coming from City Hall right now. I would push to form a Board subcommittee that address mental health, suicide prevention, and crisis management.
We need to expand access to mental health services for our students in the schools. We need to educate teachers and staff on how to support and nurture students in mental health treatment or outpatient facilities. I would fight for all of that.
What should voters know about your background and qualifications?
My mental health background will bring a very different and important perspective to the Board. I have professional experience in education, and my kids have been in the Stow system for some time. I’ve been involved with the schools every since they were small, so I’ve seen the education system from inside and outside. I think this distinguishes me from certain other candidates who have very little experience in the schools.
I’m also in touch with the broader community. Through my work with SMF NICE, I know that a number of people in Stow-Munroe Falls are struggling. I understand that right here in Stow, we have students and families living with with food insecurity. I understand how just a little help can make a huge difference to people who are struggling.
The pandemic is on everyone’s mind right now. What is your stance on the district’s mandate that students wear masks at school through September?
I am relieved that masks are now required in our school buildings. Students under age 12 not yet eligible for a vaccine, and many are teens not fully vaccinated. Continuing the multiple layers of public health measures—masks, distancing, frequent handwashing and cleaning—that prevented large outbreaks last year is the best way to keep our students in school where they belong. If we have mass outbreaks, we risk having to move to online schooling again, as other districts have already had to do this school year.
Why did you decide to run for BoE?
You know, over the past year it became obvious that we needed to shift the direction of this Board. I believe I can help do that.
The work of the DEI committee was a major motivation for me. So was the disrespect and disregard shown by certain Board members while statements were being read in support of Black Lives Matter last summer. We need people on the Board who can listen, who can work on solving problems – not people who refuse to acknowledge the problem.
This Board also suffers from a serious lack of transparency. It protects problematic teachers and staff instead of handling them. I wrote a statement to the Board last summer that explicitly addressed the problem of a racist teacher at Stow—and I wasn’t the only member of the community to bring it up. [Board President] Jason Whitacre censored that part of my statement before reading it into the record. I can tell you that as a Board member, I would deal with these issues head-on, not sweep them under the rug.
Why is it important for BoE members to support DEI initiatives?
Because lives are in the balance. I’ve lost track of the number of suicides and suicide attempts in the district, and too many of these can be traced to toxic environments in the schools that we have not cleaned up.
DEI initiatives speak to the larger problem of bullying, because so often bullies target people for a marginalized race, gender identity, sexuality, etc. We need to acknowledge this and deal with it accordingly.
The BoE Safety Committee managed to get secure entryways installed. If we can act to prevent an active shooter situation that has yet to actually happen, why can’t we act to deal with a suicide and mental health problem that is actually costing lives?
If elected, how would you support the DEI committee?
It’s unacceptable that all the other Board members blew off Nancy Brown’s call to support the DEI committee this summer. If elected, I guarantee that I would be working to make DEI part of the agenda at every Board meeting.
I would also call on Superintendent Tom Bratten to exhibit stronger leadership on this. We need to hear him speak up and say that DEI is important and that it isn’t going anywhere. And if we end up looking for new candidates for superintendent, I would look for that leadership quality—that ability to develop a positive culture in our schools.
Last word: why should people give you their vote?
Education policy is so important, but folks lead busy lives and can’t always be tuned in. We need transparent, reasonable people on the Board willing to put in the work to move Stow forward. I have been putting in the work, and as a Board member I would continue to put in the work.
Our community can count on me to to speak up for what’s right, to listen and learn, to stay engaged. I think it all comes down to trust and shared values. The people of Stow-Munroe Falls can trust me to be transparent and responsive, to insist on mental health initiatives and suicide prevention, and to champion the DEI committee. They can trust me to fight for them.