The latest installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across Pennsylvania brings us to the Oxford Area School District.
Dee Wiker is running for school director in Region 3 of the Oxford Area School District, located in Chester County. She is a mother, grandmother, homemaker, and registered Republican.
Why are you running for the school board?
“I feel the system is no longer about academics. It has become about funding and the accompanying cultural agenda compliance. It is no longer a place that teaches critical thinking; rather, it has become a place that teaches cultural compliance, resulting in the system-wide academic deficiencies of the children. I feel a more classical education would better equip our children to flourish in this ever-complicated world.”
What are the most important issues facing the Oxford Area School District?
“First, we must remove the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and/or Critical Race Theory (CRT) curriculum from our children’s learning methods. We need to get back on track to instill critical thinking back into their learning process. Our district needs to stop the KOOTH mental health agenda and teach our kids that God made two genders, boys and girls. We must instill a sense of self-worth and love so they feel safe in their own skin and equip them with self-assurance.
“Transparency is another major issue with our current administration and school board. Examples of lack of transparency include taping school board meetings instead of live streaming, microphones that are not turned on or the volume is very low, and disguising issues on the agenda from month to month with word salads. Transparency is dead for many school boards today. We also need to hire administration and teachers who have the same family core values as the community and are willing to bring those values into our schools without fear of retaliation from their unions, state entities, or existing administration.
“Our district needs to change policy to be more family-friendly. Schools should be the support, while the family is the rock that binds. Parental rights should be our school policy. We need to discard any policy that seeks to undermine the family or focuses solely on a cultural agenda. We need to address age-inappropriate sexually explicit materials by flagging them for parental consent. This protects all parents’ rights and removes no books.”
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
“I worked in retail and food service for over 20 years. I feel I have the skills it takes to not only talk to people but also to listen to them. I will listen to their needs and wants and find a way to find common ground. Although it is impossible to please everyone all the time, it is possible to have differences of opinion but to walk away with respect for the other person just because of the way they treated you. You can agree to disagree, but do it with mutual respect.
“I have management experience in the workplace, beginning at nineteen years old when I was the store manager for the local 7-11. I did ordering, daily deposits, hiring, firing, and scheduling, and worked the counter and the floor. I was everything from a department manager at Walmart to the claims officer and a specialty worker who was sent to stores to build them and clean them up for audit. I not only enjoy working with people, but I have often found myself in leadership roles because I understand that the key to getting people to work for you is to give them the respect and acknowledgment they deserve.
“I have been a mother for 29 years and a grandmother for nine years. I have raised or helped raise eight children. I come from a broken home and have experienced much turmoil in my childhood. I saw firsthand how I didn’t want to raise my kids and how important it is for a child to feel wanted, needed, and loved. Too often, parents get stuck in the everyday grind of life. They forget what it’s like to be a child and how everything children experience is new and leaves a lasting impression on them. More so, single parents and estranged parents have so much doubt and worry that they forget it is they whom their child looks to for encouragement, love, and understanding. Growing older and becoming a grandmother has reinforced my belief that raising children is the most important job you will ever have in your life. Children are surely our future, and it is our responsibility to raise healthy, capable children into well-rounded, capable adults.
“I love to engage with people. I love to meet and talk to all kinds of people. I love when I meet someone who at first seems so much different than I am, and in talking to them, I find a common factor — that little something we both enjoy or feel passionate about. That one common factor sets off a spark, and before you know it, it’s 30 minutes later and we are still talking! To me, that is magic. That is humanity. It doesn’t take much to see that even with all our differences, we all have some commonality that binds us. We are all miracles, and we need to learn how to treat ourselves and others as the miracles we are.
“I am nothing if not honest. Sometimes people may not like me for it. With me, what you see is what you get. I do not put on a show. I do not pretend to be someone or something I am not. I believe we all have our own strengths. I do not have a college degree, but I do have common sense. Honestly, I’ll take common sense over a college degree any day!”
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
“I have not, but I have a bit of political knowledge from my younger years when I was the campaign manager for a candidate for township commissioner who won his election. I stayed involved and saw the inner and outer workings of the political dealings of running a township, dealing with the everyday folks and the fat cats in politics. I was a judge of elections for a two-year term, and before and after that, I worked both inside and outside the polling places. I have continued to do my civic duty by helping the local Republican Party put out literature and helping outside the polling areas.”
Are you running with other candidates?
“Yes. We have good Republican candidates running in this year’s school board election. I am running in Region 3. Georgeanna Singley is running in Region 1, Kaitlyn Belle is running in Region 2, and Lou Robinson is running for the at-large seat. 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 state requires school boards to establish a governance framework, including a compliance framework, to ensure the organization meets its obligations. The board must set the strategic direction to help the organization achieve its purpose and oversee the financial performance of the organization. I believe the school board should establish a vision and goal for the district, set standards for the superintendent and the performance of the schools, and align with the stakeholders’ priorities. Transparency is a key way to win your stakeholders’ support.
“School board members are elected by their community to ensure the superintendent runs the schools in a manner that is representative of the town’s overall values. It is the board’s responsibility to ensure the schools run successfully, allowing student performance to rise. Good school board members work as a team to set standards and continually raise their expectations while working together in a cohesive manner. It is important to remember that the board holds the ultimate responsibility. Therefore, board members should take their positions seriously and with full accountability.”
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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