Rebecca Lazarus is one of eight candidates running for the Ann Arbor Board of Education. There are four seats to fill for four-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The general election is Nov. 6.
Lazarus recently answered WLAA’s candidate profile:
Name: Rebecca Lazarus
Background: Born in Seoul, South Korea, adopted and raised in rural Michigan. I am a proud product of a 100 percent public education. A graduate of The University of Michigan.
How long have you lived in AA: I’ve lived in Ann Arbor for a total of 8 plus years. I am a graduate of The University of Michigan and in 2014, my husband and I moved our family to Ann Arbor.
Family: Married with two children who attend AAPS
Occupation: Business Consultant and Insurance Agent
Government/political experience: Over five years of experience working closely with 2 mayors; Houston, TX and Southfield, MI. I have experience representing clients at all levels of government regarding tax incentive, permitting, legal, and other related business matters.
Why are you running for the Board of Education at this particular time?
I feel there is a need and the opportunity for our board to be more responsive and more progressive in delivering high-quality services and support to our students, teachers, and principals. I will bring a curious transparency to the board so the district can be more proactive in how we address student, family, and teacher concerns. I will also use my business management experience to ensure the district spends our tax dollars wisely while keeping a focus on reducing wasteful spending.
What are some of the issues you feel are important at this time?
There are many important issues that face our district:
- student safety,
- student privacy and data security,
- student mental health,
- over-testing of our students,
- a burdensome and ineffective teacher evaluation system that has distracted teacher’s attention away from the classrooms,
- administration and delivery of special education services,
- equity/access to high-quality resources and programs for all students,
- rebuilding trust between teachers and administration
What do you bring to the Board of Education?
The purpose of the board is to set district policies that are established on best practices and community needs. I bring business management experience and years of working with government. I will bring a fresh perspective and transparency to the board, so the district can be more progressive and more responsive in delivering high-quality educational services to all students. I will keep student needs at the forefront of every decision.
You are running as part of a three-person ticket. How did this come to be and why present yourself in this way?
I came close in the last election, but this time around I am happy to be running with Bryan Johnson and Lucas Cole. The board is a 7-member body and to make real change one needs to be able to work with a majority. Many of the current board members have for too long hid behind the status quo. We will bring a deep level of experience and fresh ideas to the board. We will listen and invite all stakeholders to share their views and concerns in more meaningful ways. We will ask hard questions to make sure that our tax dollars are spent wisely and will benefit all students. We will foster creative and critical discussions during board meetings so the public will have a better understanding on how and why decisions are made and that student needs were put at the forefront of all decisions.
The No. 1 issue in most people’s mind is student safety. Are the schools doing enough in this area and is there anything more that can be done?
There is always more that can be done to make our district better. Student safety incorporates several issues, busing, cross-walks, outside contractors, bullying, discipline, student/adult interaction, water, building conditions, special education, equipment, team sports, etc. But as a school board member I will consistently and diligently work with the superintendent and others to ensure student safety is monitored and improved on a constant basis.
To keep up with Rebecca, follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lazarusjohnsoncole/