The latest installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across Pennsylvania brings us to the Perkiomen Valley School District.
Kim Mares is running for school director in the Perkiomen Valley School District, located in Montgomery County. She is a registered Republican, a special education advocate, and a substitute teacher.
Why are you running for the school board in Perkiomen Valley?
“I’m running for the school board because I would like to continue to focus on our underperforming cohorts of students and continue to work towards a more fiscally manageable budget for our taxpayers. High expectations for students, both in academics and behavior, are a must. Offering age-appropriate curriculum, resources, and instruction is also a priority.”
What are the most important issues facing your district?
“The recent test scores indicate that our students suffered a significant loss of learning during the pandemic school closures. As a school board member, it is imperative that we reverse that trend. In particular, we have cohorts of students who typically struggle to access their educational potential. Prolonged school closures increased their learning deficits. These students need access to well-vetted educational supports to accelerate their learning, especially in our high school. Asking our administration to focus on finding creative, fiscally responsible solutions to help our students succeed is necessary.
“Lastly, our district must ensure all students are prepared to move on to the next phase of life. Our special education students need more support to have access to a meaningful and productive life after high school. Recently, our district began to focus on ensuring our special education students receive more meaningful transitional support, and I want to ensure we continue to keep this focus.”
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
“My current position as a board member and my current role as Vice President have prepared me to continue as a school director. I have volunteered with two organizations dedicated to helping students who are differently abled: the Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership (PEAL) and the Pennsylvania Technical Training and Assistance Network (PaTTan). I was involved in the organization and launch of the ‘So Much to Give Inclusive Café’ and continue to volunteer on a weekly basis. I introduced the school district to the Peer Buddies model of inclusion for our students with more intensive needs and advocated for Unified Sports to be brought to our district.
“I am also a substitute teacher for a neighboring district during the school year, which gives me a well-rounded view of what is actually transpiring in our schools and what teachers and students experience on a daily basis.”
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
“Four years ago, I ran for school director and won. As an elected school board member, I have become more politically involved, so I am aware of the issues that might impact our district and taxpayers.”
Are you running with other candidates?
“I am running with four other candidates, one of whom also ran with me four years ago. We are five moderately conservative people who care deeply about our schools, our students, and our taxpayers. We are running under the group Vote 5 for PV.”
What is the most important role of the school board, in your opinion?
“School boards are accountable to the residents of the district they serve and to those who elected them. Creating strong policies that enable a high-functioning school district to operate is of utmost importance.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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