Teacher's voice, experience is needed

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I am currently an educator at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in the inpatient child and adolescent psychiatric unit. I formerly taught special education at West High School from 2004 to 2014. I am an enthusiastic supporter of this school district, and I know first hand how amazing the staff of the ICCSD is.

My two older children graduated from City High and Tate Alternative High, and my daughter will be in the first grade at Kirkwood Elementary in Coralville, where I am the co-president of the PTO.

During my time working in the district I was very active in the Iowa City Education Association and served as its president for two years. I believe I will be better able to serve the nearly 14,000 students in the district by having first hand knowledge of the various initiatives and programs at my daughter’s school, which happens to have one of the highest rates of students who receive free and reduced lunch and a very large immigrant population.

I am running for a seat on the ICCSD board because I feel it is important to have a teacher’s voice and a teacher’s experience at the table. I understand how board policies affect teachers and students in the classroom, and will be able to share that understanding with my fellow board members to make decisions that make sense for the classroom.

In addition, my experience in special education and mental health, and my long standing passion for equity and justice, will be instrumental in helping the ICCSD heal some wounds, as well as close achievement gaps. My skills of relationship building, active listening and my ability to effectively communicate will be an asset that can help rebuild trust between the board and our larger communities.

• J.P. Claussen of Coralville is seeking a four-year term on the Iowa City school board

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