Patch sought to provide a list of questions to the two candidates competing for the remainder of the term on the Affton School Board vacated last year by Mike Alexander: Patricia Zahn and Jason Harman. Unfortunately Harman did not return calls or emails, so we can only bring you questionnaire responses by Patricia Zahn. Here are Zahn’s answers. The election is Apr. 3.
Name: Patricia Zahn
Address: 7251 Marlton Lane
Occupation: Educational /Nonprofit Administration
Education: Masters in Public Policy, University of MO- St. Louis; Graduate Certificate - Nonprofit Management & Leadership, University of MO- St. Louis; Bachelor of Arts- American Studies, St. Louis University
Family: Husband Martin Zahn, son Adam (Affton High School graduate).
Resident of the district for: 24
Background: Having been involved in the Affton School District for almost two decades in various capacities, I’m currently on the Affton School Board as well as the District’s Counseling Advisory Committee. I work at the University of Missouri- St. Louis in Community Outreach & Engagement. Throughout most of my professional career, I’ve been involved with educational institutions, museums, libraries, historical societies and other nonprofit organizations. Community involvement includes service on boards of the Literacy Roundtable of Greater St. Louis; the YMCA Y-Read program; the Nonprofit Management & Leadership Program at UMSL; and Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Reason for running: I believe that I have been an effective member of the school board since my appointment in July. I wish to continue to serve my community in this role. Having been involved as a parent and community representative, I understand the composition and traditions and values of the district. I am aware of challenges and opportunities ahead and I recognize and appreciate the importance of our community schools. I support activities that encourage high achievement and open new doors of opportunity for our students and I want to be a part of creating a bright future for our district.
Biggest Issue: Increasing demands on teaching and administrative staff and decreases in funding for education are serious concerns in the Affton School District as well as other schools throughout the country.
In what areas do Affton Schools need to improve? Are you satisfied with current operations? I believe that the district is operating well, and strives for ongoing improvement. We have been fiscally conservative, while continuing to attract and retain highly-qualified and excellent educators and administrators, and we offer a variety of classes and programs to meet the needs of our students. One area that needs improvement is sharing the good news about what is taking place in our district and engaging the whole community in this effort
Assuming elected, what do you want to accomplish during your term? As a lifelong advocate for high quality, public education, I am committed to the community and to assuring opportunities for excellent education. My priorities include:
1. Providing access to and support for a wide range of educational experiences that yield high academic achievement.
2. Assuring transparency and accountability of district activities and expenditures.
3. Broadening a sense of community pride, ownership and responsibility for the education of the children in the school district.
If I had to pick a single accomplishment, it would be the third priority, because in some way it relies on and incorporates all other areas.