Trina Schaarschmidt is running for school director in the Upper Perkiomen School District located in Montgomery and Berks counties. She is a registered Republican and a secondary English teacher and a college professor.
Why are you running for school board?
As an experienced teacher with 23 years in the profession who is actively engaged in the academic field beyond K-12, and also a parent, I have observed that many parents feel excluded from important conversations. My goal is to bridge this gap and facilitate open communication between school board members, administrators, teachers, and parents.
What are the most important issues facing your district?
Our district is currently on a Targeted Support and Improvement Plan due to a failure to meet statewide achievement and growth expectations. We need a board that can support the district in meeting educational targets while efficiently allocating resources and to do so in a way that isn’t distracted by political agendas.
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
I’m currently a teacher in a neighboring district, and I have taught grades six through higher education across the country from Washington state to several schools on the east coast in both urban and suburban settings. I have a Master’s degree in Education and expect to earn a second Master’s degree in English this fall. Along with teaching literature, I teach dual enrollment composition for our local community college, and I teach journalism for the summer journalism and media conference at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. I am also the advisor for the student newspaper publication in my own district. I’m an award-winning author for a memoir I co-authored with the grief counselor for families of victims aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. I have a view of education from the inside which includes knowledge of the conversations currently taking place in higher education. My hope is to be able to help parents and community members feel heard and to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed by educational and political jargon.
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
I have not run for political office previously. I am, however, on the board of directors for our local homeowners association, Northgate, and I have been in a role there for ten years. During my time on the board I have initiated and reviewed new vendor contracts in the best interests of the community; kept Phase 1 on budget every year with no raise in dues for four years and ensured a healthy capital reserve fund; maintained a positive relationship between Phase 1 and the master board; initiated and conducted interviews for a new master property management company; proposed a viable system and contract with the current tow company to keep the roadways safe and clean; and assisted negotiating with and replacing a snow plow company that threatened to overcharge and underdeliver for services.
Are you running with other candidates?
I am running with Mike Long, Sarah Bieber, Liz Fluckey, and John Gehman. We are running under the group, Up to the Challenge.
What is the most important role of the school board in your opinion?
The school board provides governance and oversight for the school district. Our job would be to set the district’s vision, develop policies where needed, oversee finances, and select a superintendent if needed during our term. The most important role of a school board is to act as a vital link between the district and the community to ensure all voices are represented, advocate for educational needs of students, and uphold accountability for student success.
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 email@example.com for more information.
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