The latest installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across Pennsylvania brings us to the North Penn School District.
Diana Blystone is running for school director in the North Penn School District. She is a registered Republican and considers her most important profession to be being a mom to three amazing children, in addition to being the co-founder and treasurer of the nonprofit organization North Penn Parents Special Education Alliance.
Why are you running for the school board?
“I am running for the school board to maximize all that North Penn School District has to offer. I will work to enhance the fundamental principles that will give our North Penn students the ability to withstand adversity, the grit to keep going, and the skills to pursue their highest potential. I will work to give parents like myself a seat at the table to ensure all children are given an opportunity with presumed competence while in a safe environment. In order to achieve academic excellence for our children, parental involvement is essential to promoting transparency, trust, and accountability. As a community, we have a shared responsibility to prepare and protect our most valuable asset: our children.”
What are the most important issues facing your district?
“Special education in North Penn, which makes up seventeen percent of the student population, has not been prioritized, even with parents’ concerns and high expenses. This is leading to taxpayer money financing high out-of-district placements, lawsuits, and lawyer fees, with the outcomes being failed children, frustrated parents, and burned-out staff who are losing their joy of working with children and leaving North Penn.
“There are large financial decisions that will impact all stakeholders with infrastructure improvements, renovations, and the potential ninth-grade center. All decisions should prioritize the students’ learning environment and the safety of all students and staff while respecting the main source of funding coming from our diverse community.
“Parents play an integral part in a child’s education and their overall success. I will work to enhance teacher, staff, student, and caregiver relationships. I believe this will address staff retention due to fatigue, trust, and student achievement.”
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
“As a mom of three children, one of whom is non-verbal, I value open communication and collaboration to support not only my child but the people who support his education. I will ask hard questions and hold everyone accountable, even myself, for the well-being of all children. With accountability, we can work together to ensure everyone thrives in the North Penn School District.
“I am one of the co-founders of the nonprofit North Penn Parents Special Education Alliance (NPPSEA). We saw a need for our children and our community, so we decided to take action. NPPSEA brings events that are open to everyone and resources to help enhance the quality of life of those with an IEP or 504 Plan.”
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
“I have zero political ambitions and believe school boards should resort back to the original nonpartisan approach. One important role of a school board is to ensure all residents have an opportunity to be heard and respected.”
Are you running with other candidates?
“I support Liz Vazquez, Vince Altieri, and Mike Jowder for their dedication and commitment to all stakeholders in the North Penn School District. You can learn more about my campaign on my Facebook page.”
What is the most important role of the school board, in your opinion?
“One important role of a school board is to ensure all residents have an opportunity to be heard and respected. I believe that as a school board member, it’s important to balance the fact that our district is funded by the community and embrace the diversity that makes North Penn unique while maintaining safe learning environments for all students and staff.”
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.
Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty