Whatcom County: Ferndale School District 502: District 5: Peggy Uppaino
The main reason I am running is that I feel like the current board is an echo chamber. In my opinion, roughly half of the community is not represented. There is also a clash of values. Since the district’s mission and policies are directed by a supposed set of common values, it is important that no voice is excluded.
Elected experience: First time running for office; offering choice and a fresh perspective.
Relevant professional experience: On-site tutor (since 1980); online tutor (13 years, working with students of diverse ages and experiences); standardized test scorer (12 years); aide in WCC adult ESL/citizenship class (1 year).
Education: BA History/BS Mathematics, College of Idaho, 1982.
Community service: Volunteer, Soldiers’ Angels. Helped coordinate activities for BAIRS (Bellingham Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Society), an educational nonprofit supported by WWU computer science department. Volunteered with FHS Vet Science team. Active in homeschool debate club. During my kids’ elementary years, I volunteered at school.
Statement: Parents are discovering that education alternatives exist which may better fit their goals, schedules, and values. However, I believe public schooling is a necessary option in the array of choices. By focusing on its historic strengths, Ferndale School District can reverse the trend of declining enrollment.
Ferndale should rediscover its roots. It should exploit its excellent reputation for music, athletics, and support of agricultural and tech programs. These interests have broad appeal and will continue to act as a draw. Providing a solid foundation in core subjects to all students must be top priority. A new focus on inclusivity should elevate achievement without compromising standards. This is a concern voiced by many parents of school-aged children. Many also worry that the state controls too many decisions affecting their kids’ education, and that we are losing local autonomy.
Although I am not yet a board member, I stay informed about issues involving our schools and education in general. I read district publications and talk with people about their experiences and challenges with the school system. I would like to act as a voice of balance in representing community members and students who may feel their views are not expressed.