The latest installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across Pennsylvania brings us to the Octorara Area School District.

Karen Williamson is running for school director in Region 1 of the Octorara Area School District, located in Chester County. She is a registered Republican and teaches second grade at Lancaster County Christian School.

Why are you running for the school board? 

“Having been an educator for over twenty years, I believe my perspective and understanding of the educational system would be an important component I could bring to this position.”

What are the most important issues facing your district?

“Octorara previously lacked leadership, vision, and the ability to communicate effectively with staff, parents, and the community. Octorara’s new superintendent, Dr. Leever, started on July 1, and we are optimistic about his leadership. He will need support and supervision from the board.

“Additional issues include safety for all of the students, as behavioral accountability has been lost. Parental rights and involvement are necessary for the educational success of children. Trust needs to be rebuilt between the school and the community. Many great teachers are either retiring early or resigning.”

What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?

“I taught at Octorara for seventeen years: seven years as a substitute teacher and ten years teaching second grade. Currently, I teach second grade at Lancaster County Christian School. I would bring over twenty years of educational experience to the board if elected.

“Throughout my career, I have maintained positive relationships with the parents of my students, working together for what’s best for the child. My administrators describe me as student-centered, and I was voted teacher of the year last year by the staff at my school. My volunteer experiences include mentoring and advocating for children at Parkesburg Point and being a CASA, a court-appointed special advocate.”

Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?

“I have not run for political office before. I have worked at the polls during elections.”

Are you running with other candidates?

“No. You can learn more about my campaign on my Facebook page.”

What is the most important role of the school board, in your opinion?

“The most important role of the school board is to be honest, transparent, communicative, and to work together in a bipartisan way to ensure all the students’ educational needs are being met.”

We contacted the Democratic and Republican committees in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties and asked them to share the questions with their school director candidates. Broad + Liberty will post the responses throughout the summer to assist voters in learning about the candidates running in their district. The series is open to any school director on the ballot in November. Please contact for more information.

Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty

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