The latest installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across Pennsylvania brings us to the East Penn School District.
Jeff Jankowski is running for school director in the East Penn School District, located in Lehigh County. He is an attorney, a registered Republican, and won the Democratic primary in May.
Why are you running for the school board?
“I have been a school board director for almost five years. I was previously appointed to fill a vacancy and then subsequently ran and won a full term. I am also currently the Vice President of the East Penn School Board.
“I am running for school board because I believe it is of the utmost importance to have a board that is collegial, cohesive, and able to collaborate. I believe differences in background, opinion, and perspective are also very important for an effective board. Board members must also be able to have rational discussions and debates and respect the opinions of others.”
What are the most important issues facing your district?
“Children attend our schools, on average, from age five to eighteen, the most formative years of their lives. We must provide an environment where all students feel welcome and safe and are provided the opportunity to prepare them to be successful emotionally, socially, and professionally, whatever their aspirations may be. We must work with our administration to make sure our teachers and schools are best able to accommodate these needs in light of competing interests (e.g., budgetary constraints, staffing concerns, and community input).”
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
“I have been an attorney for over twenty years. I have an analytical and open mind. I believe it is very important to hear and understand all of the data to support the decisions we are asked to make, as well as the perspectives of others, whether in support or against. Decisions cannot be made in a vacuum.”
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
“I successfully ran to be a board member on the East Penn School Board four years ago. Other than that, I have not previously run for political office. I have also not been politically active.”
Are you running with other candidates?
“I am aligned with a bipartisan group of candidates running for the East Penn School Board. 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 work collaboratively with the administration to make sure the best interests of the students, teachers, and staff are being met. Personal agendas have no place on a school board. Rather, the school board must ensure that the decisions being made and business, curriculum, and facility planning are being done in a reasoned manner and with sound judgment.”
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