116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Oct. 13, 2021 5:52 pm, Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 9:08 am
Nancy Humbles, James Sampers and Barclay Woerner are seeking the District 2 seat on the Cedar Rapids Community School District School Board. The Gazette has not yet received responses from Sampers. Leslie Neely withdrew from the race. ► Get to know the other school board candidates
Name: Nancy Humbles
Office sought: Cedar Rapids Community School Board District 2 (incumbent)
Age: 70 (born June 25, 1951)
Occupation: Retired — University of Iowa, director for the Center for Diversity & Enrichment
Have you held office before? If so, what office did you hold?
During my 12 years on the CRCSD School Board, I have served in the capacity of president (2 terms) and Vice President (1 term).
Personal bio: I have resided in Cedar Rapids for 47 years and devoted my life's work to the education of students as well as my community. I joined the University of Iowa in 1990 as an Academic Planning Counselor and retired in 2014 as the Director for the Center for Diversity & Enrichment. Our focus was assisting students in navigating their college experience and ultimately graduation. While working at the University of Iowa, I completed my master's degree in Student Development Post Secondary Education. I have been a dedicated community volunteer. I was elected the first African American to serve on the Cedar Rapids Community School Board in 2009 and re-elected in 2013 and 2017. Currently, I am the President of the African American Museum of Iowa Board, Advisory Board member for the LGBTQ Center at Tanager Place, and a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Board for the Institute of Clinical and Translation Science. I have devoted over 30 years of my life focusing on educating our future leaders.
Why are you seeking a seat on the school board?
I have chosen to run again because there is work that is in progress that I would like to see completed in the district. Example: Focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Facility Master Plan, boundary studies, increasing community schools, and closing the achievement gap. I want to finish what I started. I am committed to this as well as the success of our students, staff, and community. I am passionate and committed to public education. We have some heavy lifts and I can't take the easy way out by leaving. I need to be willing to be part of the solution.
How do you rate the district’s current performance? What areas are going well, and what could be improved?
We have made a lot of progress with the strategic plan that was adopted four years ago. Implementing the High Reliability School framework produced results on the Iowa School Performance Profile. The pandemic and derecho interrupted our work, and now we are moving forward. All kids deserve access to resources in order to produce results. Our continued work and focus on equity needs to continue.
What are the three largest issues facing the school district and what will you do to address them?
Facilities: Continuation of the plan and pause approved by the Board in January 2018. We need to reconvene the FMP committee and invite new voices to the table.
Workforce: Recruitment and diversity of staff. In order to produce results for students, we need high quality staff. We should revisit "Grow Your Own." This will assist us with keeping our students in our community and becoming our future teachers.
Student achievement and the recovery of learning. (Kindergartners — ready for first grade) and (seniors — ready for career and college.)
What level of local control do you think school boards should have?
I am an advocate of local control and abiding by established state, federal and local mandates. We need to use our district's data, assess the needs of our community, and then make decisions based on the needs of our district.
What will you do to be responsive to concerns by parents, students and staff? What type of communications should they expect from you?
During my 12 years as a school board member, I have made it a priority to be responsive to all constituents. I will continue to offer opportunities at the board table, as well as our parents, students, and staff. Our community can expect me to be available and an avid listener to their concerns, suggestions, and ideas.
Should school districts be allowed to enact a mask requirement for students during the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, what type of masking requirement would you want to see in place?
School districts should be allowed via local control to enact a mask mandate and given up to date data from our county, state, and national public health officials. In addition, we should use our school district data (staff and student positivity rate, isolation/absences) to drive local decisions.
If you were required to cut the district’s budget, what areas would you look to for savings and why?
I would not consider cutting any teachers from our budget. They are essential to the success of our students and future leaders. We have established partnerships with organizations that provide additional support to our students. We have to review the results and the impact on student achievement to determine if they are achieving their intended outcomes and if their programming should be continued.
Also implementation of the Facility Master Plan will have an affect on facility upkeep and system level cost savings.
Are there curriculum concerns that you have with the district? What are they? What process should the district use to address the concern?
As the district reviews its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plans, it is important that children see themselves represented in resources. For example, our teacher librarians have been auditing their collections and adding books that represent our students as well as their interests. Secondly, our English/Language Arts and Social Studies courses have been creating more inclusive resources.