As Maricopa County School Superintendent, Jeanne Casteen wants all Children to have the same Educational Opportunities

Maricopa County School Superintendent Democratic Candidate Jeanne Casteen

Eleventh Year Teacher and Creighton School Board Member President Jeanne Casteen has announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination to run to be the next Maricopa County School Superintendent. Running on a program of school funding increases and “equity” across Maricopa County, “educating the whole child” in their social and emotional, as well as academic well being, and bringing more respect to certified and classified members of the education profession, Ms. Casteen feels that she has the right experience to be the next County School Superintendent.

Meeting at the Fair Trade Café in Phoenix after introducing ourselves at the Eric Kurland LD 23 campaign kickoff event, Ms. Casteen conveyed her goals for running for School Superintendent and how her background and understanding of the office can shape education in the county if elected.

1) Please describe three ways your education and experience has prepared you to become the Maricopa County Superintendent of Education.

Casteen credited her parents as good teachers and role models, setting good examples by imparting the values of service and solidarity with others through the United Autoworkers Union and creating a community girls softball program.

Being a parent of four (including two stepchildren,) she said, “I am my child’s first teacher who wants them to have the best education experience.” She wants that experience extended to all the children in Maricopa.

She is an eleventh-year instructor who has taught Middle School Social Studies, English, AVID, and International Baccalaureate Programs. Currently, she is teaching communications with one class section having 59 students at the beginning of the year before class schedules were balanced out.

She is also a member of the Creighton School Governing Board and currently presiding as its President. She feels that her position and time on the board has served as good preparation for County Superintendent because it showed how the governing body could “do great and innovative things with a tight budget and Title One Schools.”

2) From your perspective, what are at least three responsibilities of the Maricopa County Superintendent of Education and explain why?

A) Act as “school finance (for the smaller schools that cannot afford an accounting division) where checks are processed.”

B) Supervise the “alternative schools for homeless students and pupils in the justice system.”

C) Oversee “school board elections when vacancies occur. The County Superintendent has the final say. I want strong sound school leaders (who are) pro-public education and progressive minded individuals.”

D) “Connecting teachers with professional development workshops and trainings like ACES that needs to be brought back and informed care. I also (want to promote) S.T.E.A.M. instead of just S.T.E.M.

3) In your opinion, what are at least three issues that schools in Maricopa County face that your office if you are elected, can assist in addressing?

Ms. Casteen believes that her office can become a bully pulpit as she, if elected, would become the “chief advocate for public education in Maricopa County.” She decries “privatization as exploitation for charters, vouchers, and private prisons” and wants to pursue:

A) Fair funding for all schools so a child’s zip code no longer predetermines success.

B) “Educating the whole child physically and mentally. We need money for social workers, counselors, and food programs.

” C) “Restoring respect and dignity to the education profession so there is not as much turnover and attrition.”

D) “Bringing together diverse stakeholders for problem-solving, like in Creighton where we were able to arrive at creative solutions for our students and families.”

E) “Having Pre K by hopefully creating partnerships and creating solutions” with all the stakeholders.

4) If elected, what are at least three goals you would pursue as the County Superintendent and explain?

A) Ms. Casteen would act as a mouthpiece and be vocal about (increasing public school) funding

B) Provide educational opportunities for young people and professional learning options for instructors.

C) Oversee School Board appointments and ensure that the best pro-public education and progressive-minded people are selected.

D) “Make sure all alternative schools are informed (especially three or more adverse experiences).

5) Please explain one to three reasons you would be a better County Superintendent than your Democratic or Republican opponents.

Ms. Casteen gave several reasons why she felt she would be the best candidate to serve as the next Maricopa County School Superintendent. They include:

• “My experience on the Creighton Governing Board.” • Familiarity with dual immersion programs.

• “Setting up a free supper program (for the children) and $1.00 for adults in Creighton and my involvement with the district family resource center.”

• “My ability to build alliances and create solutions.”

Ms. Casteen finished by stating that she “wants to make sure no matter where a student lives, they have the same opportunities that a person in the more affluent districts.” When voters decide on who their next County Superintendent should be, they should consider which candidate will best represent ensuring that all the children in the county are equally well served.

With her experience and ideals, Ms. Casteen is a candidate for championing public schools that warrants further consideration.

For more information on Ms. Casteen, please visit her website and Facebook page.

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