Tamillia Valenzuela wants to bring a local community member’s perspective to the Washington Elementary School Board. 

If elected to the board this November, this wife and mother will bring a presence to the governing body where:

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“Good school leaders demonstrate empathy, create and nurture inclusive environments and demonstrate a belief that all students can and will succeed.”

As a board member, her priorities will include:

  • Cultivate Leaders: Preparing our students with the academic and social skills needed to lead today and tomorrow.
  • Representation: Promote fair representation on district decision-making committees that reflect the diversity of our community.
  • Engagement: Work to connect and empower students and families to be active partners in the education process.
  • Educator Voice: Making sure our educators feel valued and have a voice at the table.

Mrs. Valenzuela graciously took the time to respond to questions about her candidacy for the Washington Elementary School Board. 

The questions and her responses are below. 

  • Please tell the voters, at least three reasons they should vote for you to serve on the Washington Elementary School Board.

“I think one of the hugest reasons I think I am set apart from the other folks is I look like our community. Washington Elementary School District is over 70 percent students of color and families of color. Currently, our board just doesn’t represent our community and what that looks like. I think that representation matters in being able to engage with families and being able to let our families and our community know that they can come into these spaces and that they will be heard. 

Another reason I feel like I would be a really great person to be in this role is I know how to connect people to resources and the safest communities are communities that have resources, not police. With my different identities, I understand intersectionality and how it plays out in the way that people are able to move within these educational spaces. I am Black. I am Latina. I am Queer. I am disabled and I’m also neurodivergent. I have ADHD. I generally understand how these different things can really impact whether it’s people who work within the school or students, when they’re in school and how they’re able to really move, how they’re able to learn the things they need to learn so they can thrive educationally and in life.

The final reason is I actually give a damn about my community. I’m not doing this because I want a title. I’m not doing this because I want power. I just genuinely want to see our families and our communities thrive. I think if you look at some of the things that I’ve done in my past, which I don’t typically brag about just because I think it’s about being a decent human being, you’ll see that I show up in spaces to help our community because they just genuinely want us to.”

  • Please advise what are at least three issues in the Washington Board Race. 

“I think one of the hugest things is looking at the current types of people in the spaces. This is probably going to piss some people off and that’s okay. Currently, there are two board members who have very blatantly created an unsafe space for the one board member of color. Both of them are the people whose seats are up this election. So, when we talk about creating spaces where people from diverse and different backgrounds feel like they can come in and really understand how to navigate, the educational system, if you have two people that just make that impossible for the one person of color that they should definitely be holding space for and they’re not, that’s going to bleed into our community and we’re going to see that. Community members are going to be like, this is not somewhere I want my kid to be. This is not somewhere I want to risk putting myself in further harm. So, I think that one of the huge issues that are going on right now in this race is that we have people in positions of power that are very blatantly abusing that power and they’re upholding white supremacy.

Another issue is we need to hear from our students and currently with some of the data that has been going out, it does look like there’s a huge percentage of the students in this district that just don’t feel like they’re being heard and don’t feel like they’re being respected. When you look at that, if our students don’t feel like they’re being heard, they don’t feel like they’re being respected, how does that create an environment in which they can learn? Wanting to make sure that we are creating those spaces to where they’re not feeling like they’re being disrespected by the adults, that they come in contact in school.

 I think the final issue that’s really important and I think across the nation is how educators feel. Educators are struggling and it has been a really tough past few years, especially because of the pandemic and essentially asking our educators to put their lives in classrooms and not allowing them to be able to be safe as far as like during COVID being in these overcrowded classrooms. I’ve heard many stories from educators where they’re working multiple jobs just to make ends meet just the conditions that our educators are facing. It’s just really tragic and let’s be real. Educators are not being valued, not being given a wage in which they can thrive themselves. I mean, if you have an educator who’s working all day in a school, then having to go work another job and dealing with the stress of potentially getting sick, dealing with the other stressors in life. How do you think that educators are really going to be able to fully show up in a classroom? We’re not treating them like humans. I think those are the biggest issues right now. that is just being faced within our schools.”

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

“I’m just genuinely going out and reaching people. I am disabled and one of the things that are a bit of a challenge is that I personally can’t go knock on doors. My family has been supportive of that, going to doors with me. My plan is to actually create a lot of virtual spaces or doing small gatherings with people throughout the different precincts throughout the different neighborhoods.

My message will reach who it needs to reach and I will not be changing my stances to “reach a particular crowd”. Education has been politicized and it shouldn’t be. I am not here to further the politicking that has been taking place in our schools, I am here to create a positive impact on our young people.

I’m just getting out to as many people as I can and talking to as many people as I can while also trying to recognize being safe because we are still in a pandemic.”

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

“I want people to know that I want to meet them where they are. I am not a person who is doing this as a stepping stool to another political office. I was actually hesitant about running this time because politicians do not have a great reputation for being honest, and I don’t want anyone to associate me as someone who’s going to get into office and then completely close themselves off.

I definitely want people to know that I want to hear the issues that they feel are important. I want to hear how we can reimagine education because our education system, as it is right now, doesn’t work for everyone and that’s intentional. So, in order for it to be able to make it a space where all of our students and all of our families can thrive, it’s time that we reimagine that. I’m here to ask the bold questions, to talk about the issues that just frankly are not being talked about, and to let our community know that they have power and they deserve to be in these spaces. And I would like to make sure that as an elected official, I hold that space for them to be able to come into.”

Please click on the below social media sites to find out more information about Tamillia Valenzuela and her candidacy for the Washington Elementary School Board.

https://valenzuela4az.com

https://www.instagram.com/valenzuela4az/

https://www.facebook.com/valenzuela4az

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