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Meet the candidates: Ashland School Board questionnaire

The Mail Tribune sent a candidate questionnaire to both of the people running for seats on the Ashland School Board. The questions are intended to help voters in the May 21 election get a better sense of the candidates’ values, strengths and vision. These are their responses, edited for clarity:

This post has been updated with answers from Sabrina Prud'homme.

Position 5

Victor Chang

Occupation: Assistant professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at SOU

Age: 49

Do you have any children currently in Ashland schools?

Yes, one at Walker Elementary School and one at Ashland High School.

What sets you apart from other candidates running for the same position?

Well, no one else is running for my position, but I bring a wealth of motivation, experience and critical thinking skills to the task.

Which current Ashland School District goal do you see yourself bringing the most strengths or dedication to, and why?

Although all three goals within the ASD Strategic Plan are worthy and achievable, I probably bring the most hands-on knowledge and passion toward Goal 3: Create and maintain a safe, welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment for all students and staff. Throughout my career as a counselor, educator, ally and advocate, I’ve worked toward empowering people, highlighting the importance of mental health, and fostering inclusive, equitable and trauma-informed approaches to education and health. These values and experiences lend themselves very well to guiding the necessary hard work that will lead to the attainment of this important goal.

While continued academic excellence and life preparedness may be the overarching goal for the district, this work (Goal 3) is how we get there.

What, in your opinion, is the most important deficiency on the Ashland School Board and how would you work to remedy it?

I do not perceive any deficiencies on the Ashland School Board.

What, in your opinion, are two or three primary responsibilities a school board member has to the public?

1. A fiduciary duty to ensure that we are being responsible stewards of the public trust and goodwill and the hard-won financial resources that support the quality education we deliver to ASD students.

2. To continue the tradition of excellence while also seeking intentional innovation and continual improvement.

3. To be fair-minded and thoughtful in balancing the needs of all stakeholders.

Position 2

Sabrina Prud’homme

Occupation: Governance professional, university board secretary

Age: Did not answer

Do you have any children currently in Ashland schools?

I do, I graduated one in 2016 and I have one in the first grade.

What sets you apart from other candidates running for the same position?

I think about my candidacy less in comparison to other candidates and more in terms of strengths I believe I can bring to the district and our kids. I am an incumbent director so I have served our local community in this way already. Professionally, I have served as a public governance professional for many years and am committed to effective governance, good policy-making, and transparency.

I also served on the Site Council for the high school over multiple academic years, as a volunteer in the district, and fulfilled such roles in New York City schools, where our family lived before coming to Ashland. I have dedicated most of my professional career to education administration and community service, and would be honored to continue this commitment by serving the Ashland School District.

Which current Ashland School District goal do you see yourself bringing the most strengths or dedication to, and why?

Each of the strategic plan goals is so critically important to the district’s success and more importantly, the success of our kids, that I can’t specify just one. My expertise and work on the Board of Education will support the advancement of ALL the district’s goals to improve student achievement; increase the recruitment and retention of high quality and culturally diverse staff; and create and maintain a safe, welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment for all students and staff.

Additionally, doing what I can to ensure financial responsibility and the success of upcoming capital projects will require a lot of time and dedication over the next few years.

What, in your opinion, is the most important deficiency on the Ashland School Board and how would you work to remedy it?

I am proud to say that collectively, my Ashland School Board colleagues have strong educational and professional backgrounds, a “can do” attitude, overwhelming competence, and are well-poised to lead the district.

What, in your opinion, are two or three primary responsibilities a school board member has to the public?

In my opinion, three primary responsibilities an Ashland School Board member has to the public are to:

  • improve our schools and increase student success;
  • set direction and maintain appropriate focus; and
  • uphold transparency and accountability.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at ktornay@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497. Follow her on Twitter @ka_tornay.

Victor Chang is a candidate for Position 5 on the Ashland School Board.
Victor Chang and Sabrina Prud’homme