Kristine Pavlik and Erik Sather are running as a team of public-school supporters for the Flagstaff Unified School District School Board.

They are running against dangerous fringe extremists that want to make the Flagstaff Unified School District in their own alt-right reactionary image.


Both Pavlik and Sather want to stop them and serve as board members that are inclusive and promote solutions that will take the district forward and lift the children, educators, and staff up.

A community and public-school activist in the Flagstaff area, Ms. Pavlik has dedicated herself to working for children’s causes and believes that “Inclusive classrooms (as well as inclusive school boards) help kids and meet their need to feel safe, welcome, accepted  to perform well in school.”

Ms. Pavlik graciously took the time to discuss his candidacy for the Flagstaff Unified School District Governing Board.

The questions and his responses are below.

  • Please tell the readers at least three reasons they should vote for you to serve on the Flagstaff School Board.

“I think voters should vote for me for FUSD governing board because I’m a passionate advocate for public education. I have a demonstrated history of working for the best interests of children and families in our community, personally as a volunteer and then also professionally. I’m a foster parent, I’ve worked in non-profit social services and even now in my role in government, I still work in grant-making for social services and individuals experiencing homelessness. I’ve really always kind of dedicated myself to working for children and families, especially those in our community that are more vulnerable or those that have needs that are often forgotten or neglected, especially by policymakers. I think I have a proven track record for being someone who not only considers those families in my decision but also understands that true equity sometimes comes from prioritizing their needs and I make decisions based on reason, backed by evidence and supported by data. But I can balance that really well with being a compassionate and empathetic person. I really believe it’s important to listen and attempt to understand everyone and validate their experiences, even if they’re different from my own.   I really work hard to listen, research and consider all the sides before I come to a decision. I’m also open to changing my mind when I learn new things. One of the things I hear a lot is that people feel they’ve not been heard by the school board that exists now. So, I think as a representative, the community I work to represent really deserves an explanation for the decisions I make. I’m not afraid to be held accountable in that way or to be transparent about why I made the decision even if it makes me unpopular with some people. I think the last thing is that I really care about the things that are so needed by our schools right now. I really think teacher recognition and respect and providing an accurate and thorough education that actually prepares kids for the real world and being a participant in our democracy is so important. I’m really passionate about accessibility and inclusion needs and I think that that’s something that our schools really need to be held accountable for right now.”

  • Please advise what are at least three main issues in the Flagstaff School Board Race.

“I think that right now, there are a lot of disinformation and misinformation campaigns, especially in Arizona. The ultimate goal behind those is actually just creating unrest in our local schools because they’re pushing for school privatization and they’re trying to create reasons why schools need to be privatized. I think that a lot of those issues come to the forefront in things like folks having this kind of leftover anger about the way that COVID was handled. Then you have folks feeling like parents don’t have a voice in how the curriculum is chosen and what’s taught. You know all the words we’re hearing lately, like CRT and social and emotional learning, and, you know, that’s very much at the forefront of everybody’s minds. While I think it’s important to talk about those things and make sure that they’re well understood. I don’t think there’s actually anything going wrong with those things in our school district but I know that’s going to come up in our school board race because of the candidates that are running.

Some of the things I think FUSD actually has challenges with are things like retaining high-quality teachers, educational access for special education students, and achievement for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status. I mean, that’s kind of an issue statewide, but we need to make sure that kids are getting the best education they can and accessing it despite their neighborhood, and the wealth status of their family.

I also think one of the biggest issues for Flagstaff right now is declining student enrollment due to the high cost of living in Flagstaff. And while that’s not something a school board member can really control. I think it’s important to understand and advocate for families being able to stay in Flagstaff despite the ongoing high cost of living here.”

  • Please describe your campaign strategy to reach voters including Independents and disaffected Republicans.

“I’m really trying to be as accessible as possible. It seems like a lot of folks don’t try to have conversations online. And I know sometimes online conversations can be really dysfunctional and unproductive, but I do find that a lot of folks, especially folks that don’t agree with you, aren’t going to show up to your events. They’re not going to show up to your meet and greet and want to talk to you. So, I make myself accessible on Facebook and on Next Door. I want folks to know that I’m not afraid of having a public conversation. When I get comments from people that disagree with me, I have no fear about having that conversation right there in the comments and saying things that might be unpopular, but I want those to be available for folks that are in the middle to be able to read for themselves as opposed to hearing from folks who I can’t make happy about how I’m this or I’m that. I work hard to really be accessible to folks and not hide behind anything.

I’m just trying to get out in the community. I really love going to the parks and talking to parents that are there. I’ve met some parents at Meet and Greets at Bush Master Park. It’s been really neat to have a conversation and just kind of open it up to starting about like, what has the last two years been like for you or what has it been like coming out of this pandemic as a parent with five kids in school? What are your needs now? Just having those real-life conversations, not about like, oh, you are a progressive or you’re a leftist, or you’re a Republican. Just say you’re a parent and so am I and we have kids in the same school district and what’s been hard for you. Here’s what’s been hard for me and let’s just talk about this. And then that gives me an idea of how I can take that, into my role as a governing board member someday.”

  • Is there anything not covered in the first three questions that you would like the voters to know about you and your candidacy for the Flagstaff School Board?

“I think it’s really important for folks to know that I’ve always been a really passionate advocate for public education. Running for school board was something that I had always had on my list to do, but I wanted to do it now because I really saw a need. I really was worried about our schools being turned around in a direction that doesn’t serve our students. I think that there are a lot of candidates in school board races throughout the nation that are running because they’re angry and they think everything that’s being done is awful. And I’m not running because I’m angry with our school board or our school district and think everything is awful.

I’m running because I want to keep us on track to doing a good job and doing right by students and teachers. I’m running because I want to be a part of making it better, not a part of slamming it and tearing it apart. I think a lot of people, like the first question I get, is, well, what are you going to change? What are you going to stop? And I’m like, well, I’m going to listen. and then I’m going to move on to making changes as they’re needed, not because I’m angry with the district.

I think that our school board has, for the most part, do the best they could throughout the last two years with the resources and information they had, and I’m excited to be able to bring more to the table to see us do even better. I think there are a lot of places to improve, but like I said, I’m not coming in there because I, want to tear it apart. I love the district and I hope all candidates could say I love our district too but I don’t think they could.”

Please click on the below website to find out more information about Kristine Pavlik and her candidacy for the Flagstaff Unified School District Governing Board.