Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As part of its ongoing election coverage, Ark Valley Voice (AVV) compiled a list of questions for the Salida Board of education candidates. As before, each candidate was asked the same questions as well as given the same time and word limit for their response.  Over the next few days, AVV will publish the candidate’s answers to the following six questions, grouping the answers to each question together to make it easier for readers to compare the answers.

Spartan Logo Courtesy of Salida School District Homepage

Our questions:

  1. What is your philosophy on public education?
  2. What are your credentials for handling the district’s budget and
    what do you think the most important budget categories and student
    investment projects are?
  3. If elected or re-elected, what would you suggest the district do to
    continue to support student, teacher and staff mental health?
  4. How much influence should parents and taxpayers have over the
  5. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, when would you recommend
    moving the district into a mask mandate or requiring vaccines?
  6. What question haven’t we asked that is top of mind for you and why
    you are running for the Salida Board of Education?

As a reminder, the candidates are:

Director District 1

  • Carrie Coscarella-Mattix — who is currently on the school board

 Director District 2

  • Abby Jefferson
  • Jodi Breckenridge Petit — who currently holds the District 2 position

Director District 3

  • Mandy Paschall
  • Jennifer Adamson — write-in candidate

 Director District 4

  • Joseph Smith — who is currently the District 4 director
  • Catherine Rich

 Director District 5

  • No candidates

 Director At Large

  • Jeannie Peters — who is currently the Director-at-large

First up, What is your philosophy on public education?

 Joe Smith’s Answer:

Joe Smith, running for reelection on the Salida Board of Education. Courtesy photo.

“The community, which includes businesses, parents, and community members helps the Board of Education in providing a vision and priorities. That vision is then used by Administration to guide graduation guidelines, required coursework, and desired skills for each child to learn while in school, and then is finally implemented by our staff.”

“I strongly believe that we should be educating kids and young adults to be at a minimum, proficient in the skills they learn in school in order to successfully navigate society. These skills in reading, writing, math, etc. should then be enhanced with social and emotional skills, logic, critical thinking, and problem-solving.”

“I am an advocate for financial literacy and its importance as well as a class requirement. I’m an advocate for the trades. We all have different skills, passions, and abilities that best suit our educational needs and future career needs.”

“Our partnership with CMC needs to be leveraged in every way possible to provide the most for each student and their specific needs. Lastly, kids need to be kids and be as active as they can in the various extra-curricular activities. It’s proven that kids succeed more academically when participating in activities, so we need to continue to advocate for that in our schools.”

Carrie Coscarella-Mattix’s Answer:

Carrie Coscarella-Mattix who is running for reelection for the District 1 seat. Courtesy image.

“It takes a village. You have heard this before, but it is true. Raising children takes a village; Students, staff, teachers, administration, BOE, and the community.”

“The Public Education system relies on our exceptional teachers, para staff, and supportive staff to help the Administration and BOE provide a safe and secure environment for the students to learn and express themselves. Teachers develop relevant and engaging learning experiences from multiple resources.”

“Students learn best by doing and engaging. Classes like Music and Art, along with Band, Choir, and Drama make valuable connections in the brain and learning fun.”

“Critical thinking skills are so important in this constantly changing environment. They have the ability to do research, recognize the pros and cons, and make informed decisions. Critical thinking is important to navigate the “real world” and be successful.”

“Our educators need to meet all the student’s learning needs, teaching styles, and attitudes and help and encourage them to meet and exceed their learning potential and goals. A goal might be to finish high school, join the military, gain a certificate in a trade, to take a gap year and travel to gain “life experience”, earn an associate degree before graduation, or continue on to a four-year degree.”

Jennifer Adamson, write-in candidate for District 3.

Jennifer Adamson’s Answer:

“We all remember going to school and all the education that was provided. Some of us had great teachers we still remember who made a difference in our life.”

“I want our future graduates to be surrounded with a caring respectful school district, teachers and staff and to always have open communication with the parents to know they are welcome to sit in a classroom.”

Dr. Jodi Breckenridge Petit’s Answers:

Dr. Jodi Breckenridge Petit is running for reelection to the District 2 position. Courtesy image.

“Public education is our best national tool; it creates our business owners and workers, develops our civic leaders, and is the anchor for our collective discourse.”

“Our three boys, my husband, and I are products of public education and I advocate at all governmental levels for increased funding to our nation’s greatest asset.”

Mandy Paschall’s Answers:

“Public schools are the foundation of our communities and the cornerstone of our democracy. They often serve as the only place in our society where people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and ideologies come together with one purpose – to educate our children. In America, we fundamentally believe that everyone deserves equal opportunity, and every child deserves a fair start in life regardless of their income level, race, or where they live. While we have a long way to go in ensuring every child receives equitable opportunity, we should never stop striving toward this goal.”

Paschall is running for the District 2 Chair. Courtesy image.

“Public schools should offer rigorous instruction and personalized learning that allows our students to succeed in an ever-changing world. With adequate resources and guidance from excellent teachers, we should strive to prepare thoughtful, engaged citizens who are critical thinkers, globally-minded, empathetic and respectful lifelong learners.”

“Our whole community will benefit from students who are competent in reading, writing, math, science, and technology. These students will work in our local businesses, pay taxes, and give back to our community. Here in Salida, let’s embrace our shared values, celebrate our diversity, and strive toward an equitable future for all of our students.”

Jeannie Peters’ Answer:

Jeannie Peters running for reelection to the District 5 At-large Seat.

“Access to a free, high-quality public education, regardless of your zip code, should be a right of every child in our country. To paraphrase some of Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on education, a nation cannot be ignorant and free.

To sustain our country, this ongoing experiment in democracy, we need to help develop citizens who have a high capacity for critical thinking, problem-solving, the ability to discern the facts within our media and the ability to communicate clearly and with intention.

We, as a people, as a community, must be willing to pay our fair share of taxes to pay for the education of our children and the future of our country.”

Editor’s Notes:

Six of the eight candidates running for the Salida School Board responded.

Coming next, Ark Valley Voice will look at the candidates’ stated credentials for handling the district’s budget and what they think are the most important budget categories and student investment projects.