Susan Lockwood, a retired elementary school teacher, is running for the Kalifornsky seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education. According to her candidate file, Lockwood taught elementary education in Koyukuk, Anaktuvuk Pass, Anderson Village, Fairbanks, Port Graham and Nikolaevsk.
Why are you running?
I love to teach. I love children. I never stopped teaching. I’m still teaching kindergarten and first grade at my church. I teach a Bible study. I love education and I really care about the children. I have grandchildren going to high school and college and I’m very interested in what they’re learning. I just want to be there for the kids and the parents in case they have some problems that can’t be solved. I would like them to feel free to come to me, so I can help them. I’ve had a lot of experience teaching in the Bush. In Port Graham for six years and Nikolaevsk for 12 years. I had a wonderful experience teaching in all these places. It’s in my blood. I love teaching. I care about the students.
What do you hope to accomplish should you be elected to the school board?
I feel the schools are being indoctrinated by liberal ideas. I want to be there for the children and parents. I want to look over the history curriculum. I feel the kids don’t know enough about history. They don’t know enough about our Founding Fathers. A lot of kids don’t come to school knowing their alphabet. A lot of children aren’t learning to read and I’d like to know why. If the parents have some kind of a problem, I’d like to let them talk to me about it and maybe I can help them out. I can be outspoken if I need to be. I’m an educator and it bothers me that they are doing this gender identity in the schools. I don’t think they’re doing that here, but in the other schools in the U.S. they are. In some schools teachers are asking the kids, ‘do you think you’re a boy or a girl?’ In the lower elementary, they don’t need sex education, not at that age. There’s just a lot of little things. You can’t have the Nativity scene up, trying to take ‘one nation under God’ out of our pledge … a lot of little things like that.
What sort of challenges does the school district face in the next three years, and how do you hope you can address those issues?
The district just seemed to accomplish one challenge with the health care situation. That’s something I have to be more educated in — what’s going on now in the school district. When I was teaching, I was really satisfied with what they were doing in the district. I don’t know enough now about the education here, so I’d like to go to the schools and talk to principals, teachers, see their curriculum. Hear what’s brought up before the school board, listen to both sides and make an opinion.
With limited funding coming from the state and borough, how should the school board work to create a balanced budget?
I’d have to hear all the information to make a decision on that because it seems like they really have talked about this the last two years. I sure don’t want to cut programs. I like music programs. I like athletic programs. I wouldn’t want to see that happen. I’d have to learn more about what’s going on. I really don’t know right now because I haven’t been teaching in the borough for several years. I’d have to just be an objective person and listen to both sides.
The district lost a record number of teachers and staff last year. What can the district do to attract and retain the best educators?
I heard 90 teachers left because they want better pay and better health care, but hopefully now with what they just did, will help. This is real good area and a real good district to be teaching in. It’s not as liberal as other places in the state and U.S. I’m hoping what happened will help keep teachers, because it’s very important to keep teachers. I don’t like to see teachers leave. I don’t like large classrooms. I know my last year teaching I had 35 kids in my classroom and it was very difficult to get around to children who really needed me. I think smaller classes are a good come on for teachers, and good pay and good health care.