Name: Gwendolyn Kyle-Brown
Office seeking: East St. Louis District 189 School Board Member
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Occupation: Cosmetologist, Educator
Previous and current elected offices and terms served: None
Why are you running? I am running for a seat on East St. Louis School District 189’s School Board because I love my hometown and want the best outcome for my children as well as the other children in our community. I want to make sure the children, as well as the teachers, have the resources necessary to have a fully functioning/effective classroom.
I have faith in our youth. Our city has and can continue to produce greatness, not only in sports, but in education as well. We have lawyers, judges, educators, superintendents, engineers, entrepreneurs, and more who are products of our city. Some have left. I want them to feel that they can stay and raise their children here and receive the proper education necessary. If the children and parents feel the system is working for them, they will, in turn, will want the best for themselves as well. This will begin turning the wheel to help get our children and community out of poverty.
It’s time to stop being reactive, but proactive.
What is the most important issue facing the East St. Louis School District? How would you approach it? One of the most important issues facing the East Saint Louis school district is parental involvement. Many parents I speak with, on a daily basis, feel they have no voice. Some have just picked up and left the district. Others, who have stayed, have begun to lose their faith. I want to help rebuild and regain the trust between the district and homes. I will incorporate programs (I have something under my sleeve that would not only bring our parents into the schools, but will help bring about more community building/involvement). If a child sees their parents are involved and want the best for them they will, as a natural instinct, strive to do their best. I want to send a message that we are working with and not against our parents.
Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Why or why not? Most definitely. A child needs something/someone in whom they can relate to. That’s the key. As long as that teacher understands that he/she is in a position to give back that can make them feel responsible in bringing out the greatest potential for a child. Our children should have this sense of feeling like, “Hey! If you can do it, I can do it too! You’re smart I can be smarter!” The role of a teacher is to be extremely influential to a child. If that child knows he/she can have someone who was a product of their city wanting the best for them, that will give them the push to do better. These two combined produce the formula for building a successful child. Many teachers have the power to change a student’s life either for the better or worse. If that child feels if Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So came from East Saint Louis and is this smart I can do it too! Teachers have to be legacy builders and there’s something about a child seeing his own doing something that will make him or her want to do better.
How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education? A great deal of emphasis should be placed on STEM education. Science, technology, engineering and math are what help make the world go around. Our children are not afraid of challenges. In fact, they welcome it. Our children within our district are very gifted in these areas and need to be nurtured. Children are like sponges and can learn anything. The only thing is, the delivery by the teacher just has to be right. The STEM program will only enhance the various levels of intelligence our children are blessed with. It will give our children a greater opportunity, challenging them to excel and reach their highest potential.
In St. Clair County, there will be votes for two sales tax referendums. One would benefit school facility costs, one would benefit public safety. Do you support either or both of the referendums? Why or why not? I do not support either. We don’t need any new taxes right now. There’s money to be pooled from other sources. We have to stop draining our struggling citizen’s pockets.
Why should people vote for you? I have a heart for children/people, in general. I’m a product of East St. Louis School District 189. I have four children currently in attendance in the school district. I’ve been an educator within District 189 so I’ve seen both sides of the coin from a teacher’s perspective as well as a parent’s. I am a member of various parent groups within my children’s school as well as the greater East Saint Louis community. I’m a parent leader and advocate. Power needs to be given back to our parents. We need to go back to the days of “it takes a village to raise a child.” I’m fair. I’m honest. I’m trustworthy, reliable, dependable and full of integrity. I want to help change the mindset of our people and get us out of poverty. Love begins at home. I want to make sure our classrooms and homes are effective for children within District 189’s educational system.