Jacinda Townsend Gides for AAPS

As the daughter of a public high school teacher, I grew up holding quality public education as one of my highest values, and as a veteran school board member who has always put the needs of students first, I’m running for a seat on the AAPS Board of Education because I would be so very pleased and honored to be serving the school district that has served my children since we moved to Ann Arbor. I seek to be a voice on the Board for students of color, students at underresourced schools, students with 504s and IEPs, and other parts of the AAPS community whose voices are not often heard: I seek, always, to be an advocate for quality education and equity in and between AAPS schools.

Like so many parents, I habitually ask my children, when they return home from school in the afternoon, one primary question: how was your day? As a former school board member in a district in Southcentral Indiana, my guiding principle was that while no child is going to have a great day every day, we on school boards should be working to ensure that every child is able to answer, more days than not, that yes, they had a good day. It was my guiding principle on every matter. My children have long been my top priority. As an AAPS BOE member, all children would be my priority.

I’m a former journalist and lawyer who is now a novelist, teaching in the MFA program at the University of Michigan. I am a fierce advocate of the arts who seeks to preserve and enhance their place in AAPS. Educators in all subject areas are our gold as a district, and I seek to help the BOE retain our district’s teachers by ensuring their salaries stay apace with the cost of living. I seek to ensure that teachers–all teachers at all AAPS schools–have the resources they need to maintain high educational standards. Finally, and perhaps above all, I seek to be a voice on the BOE who listens to teachers and collects their perspectives, rather than handing edicts down from on high.

As a public official I have always listened hard, with an eye and and ear towards advocating for students, teachers, and parents, and I hope you’ll vote for me on November 8th.