WANDA KOLOMYJEC The Chandler Arizonan



Students in OR grads of Kyrene schools? Not anymore. I had three attend and “graduate” from Kyrene.

Occupation: ASU professor and community organizer

Years in district: 26

Educational background: BS biology, MA social justice and human rights, PhD justice studies

Community involvement: Site Council member (Kyrene and Tempe Union), Little League, Club Baseball, YMCA, business owner employing over 300 Arizonans in the last 26 years, Director of Social Circles of Justice Civil Dialogue Forum, Foster Care Review Board Member, volunteer for Treasures for Teachers, community leadership.

What top three skills would you bring or do you bring to the board? Two decades of international business ownership has helped me develop skills (budgeting, teamwork, leadership) that would be advantageous to board work. My justice training should help me recognize and alleviate inequities in our schools. Finally, as a former public-school teacher and current professor at ASU, my education background will be advantageous in understanding the challenges faced by our schools.

Why should voters vote for you? My husband and I have been lucky to own a successful business, and we could send our children to any school in the valley. We choose Kyrene because we believe public schools offer the best opportunity for children to learn. I will fight for continued great educational opportunities for all students in Kyrene.

Has the pandemic affected your view of a governing board’s role in general? If so, how? The pandemic has shifted the priorities faced by board members. The health and safety of our students, teachers, administration, staff and community members will be paramount. The decisions must be science-based rather than politically motivated. It has been awhile since I have dusted off my biology credentials, but they will come in handy during this challenging time.

Assuming COVID-19 will be with us indefinitely, does Kyrene need to do something it isn’t doing now to ensure a quality experience for students over the next four years:

1) Where academics generally – and preparation for high school specifically – are concerned? I think the biggest piece of the academic challenge going forward will be the disparity in access to functional internet services as well as computer hardware for students of less means. I know the district is working on this, but I think it will continue to be a significant challenge going forward.

2) Where students’ social-emotional wellness is concerned?  The social emotional wellness aftermath is an emerging issue I don’t believe anyone truly has a grasp on. It will be incumbent on the district to provide mental health support for our students and staff to help ease the transition back to “normal” life, recognizing that our new normal may look quite different.

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