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Campbell County School Board of Trustees Candidate Questionnaire: Angela Raber

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Election season is well underway and County 17 has sent a list of questions to each candidate who has filed to run for office in contested races.

These questions are designed to give our readers a better understanding of the people behind the names on the ballot. All candidate responses submitted to County 17 are republished as they are received. County 17 solely made minor edits to the responses, for clarity. Minor edits may include correcting punctuation, capitalization or spelling.

Below, get to know Angela Raber, who is running for election to the Campbell County School District Board of Trustees:

  1. Please introduce yourself and describe your educational and employment history. Please include your name and hometown along with highlights of your past involvement in the Campbell County community.
    My name is Angela Raber. I am a wife and mom of 3 CCSD kids and I own an
    event venue called Prairie Sky. I am also an instructor at Gillette College and
    have been in the education realm as an instructor, committee member, trainer
    and mentor for over 13 years. I have my undergrad in communications, my
    master’s in public policy and my doctorate in education administration. I have
    lived in the Gillette area for the past seven years. I’m very involved in the community.
    I am the teaching director for Community Bible Study. I host a large market on my
    place each year, selling handmade and homemade items from vendors from five
    different states. I run events at my venue just south of town. I am an active
    PTO mom and help out in our school with reading as much as I can.
  2. What prompted your decision to run for school board? What do you have to offer the community as a board member? What do you believe your role is as a board member?
    As a mother of three CCSD kids, I wanted parent representation on the board. I am
    watching from a national and a local perspective what is coming down the pike.
    We are seeing critical race theory, gender ideology and other political agendas
    being pressed on our children in the place where they should be safe from political
    agenda. As I have gone through the budget and started digging into some of the
    grants and funding we are taking I have found that we are already tied to critical
    race theory requirements. I want to stop this from going any further. I stand
    for no political agenda in the classroom.

I am a mom so I have a vested interest in the school board and the curriculum
and policy it employs in the school. I am also an instructor and I understand the
classroom. I have been in classrooms that are supported by administration and
ones that are not. With a graduate degree in public policy, I have expertise in
policy writing and implementation. The role of a board member is to write and
implement policy. It is also to make sure laws from the state are being correctly
administered. The board also is in charge of the school district’s budget.
Balancing and allocation of funds.

3. How do you propose Campbell County School District attract and retain quality
educators and other staff, given employee shortages? How can board members
help provide an environment in which employees can thrive?

Right now the lack of respect and support for the teachers is at an all-time high.
We have teachers leaving because the conditions in their classrooms with their
students are making them feel unsafe. We watched as two teachers of the year
teachers wrote letters to the board expressing their issues and got no response
and ended up leaving the school system. I think we need to change our
communication tactics and start really listening and hearing our teachers and our
parents. We need to take an active and engaged approach and actually go into
the schools and see the people on the front lines and hear their successes and
their disappointments and make changes to meet their needs better.
I think a point of discussion should be opening up vacation days so that time off
is not so restricted. Sick leave and convenience days could be opened up to
personal time and not so restrictive.

We also need to stop changing our curriculums and methods of teaching. We
are giving the teachers so much busy work. They need to be allowed to teach and
trusted to teach. Methods and curriculums need to have time to see if they
are effective before we jump ship to the next.

Setting a minimum period of trial and use of a curriculum and teaching method
would be beneficial to gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of the product.
Constantly changing isn’t good for anyone and only hurts our children’s quality of
education.

4. What does a successful school district look like?

I think Campbell County’s is an extremely successful school district with so much opportunity to offer its students. Are there things we can improve upon? Absolutely. I think a successful district looks like one in which parents, teachers, administration and the board work together well as a whole. I also think a successful district looks like one that is classroom funded at a higher priority than any other funding. Hiring more teaching staff and teaching support staff above adding more administrative positions is a must.

5. What does the school district administration do well?

I think administration as a whole is working hard to address many issues in our system. We see behavioral issues at a high, and our administration has taken measures like counselors and principals for each grade from 7th up to build relationships with students to try to
strengthen their ability to meet the students where they are and help them be
successful.

6. How has education impacted your life?

I’m, what you might call, over-educated. It has impacted my life drastically. From homeschool to in-person school, online learning to hybrid-formatted learning to, of course, brick and mortar or face-to-face learning, I have experienced, either by teaching in it or being a student of it, almost every style and can speak to the pros and cons of many models. I believe learning is best done in environments where students are able to focus
on learning alone. Practical education is getting back to the basics and employing real-world practical education so our students are successful, contributing adults in society.

7. What advice would you offer parents of school-aged children to empower students in their learning?

Keep encouraging them to dream. College isn’t the only way up. We have so many ways to set your own path, encourage your kids to try new things, to do them with excellence and to not get stuck. Keep your hand open and don’t grip too tight to what you think you should do. Instead, enjoy what you get to do for as long as you get to do it, and then enjoy the next thing you get to do.

8. What lessons did our school district community learn from the COVID-19
pandemic? How will you help the school district’s efforts to recover the academic
losses associated with the pandemic?

I hope we learned lots of lessons. I hope we learned that we cannot always trust the government as they are made up of flawed humans just as we are. I hope we learned not to tie our wagon to government funding, but instead to work to be a district of local control.

9. Should the school board promote more community involvement? If so, how? If
not, why not?

Yes, by being active themselves and throwing events or attending school events to show their support. It’s so important that as we sit on the board we are involved in the community so we can hear what needs to be addressed. Always with our ears to the ground listening and engaging to better our learning systems.

10. Is there anything else voters should know about you and your perspective?

I believe in parents’ rights and liberty. I believe in supporting and trusting the teacher. If parents have a relationship with their kids’ teachers and their administration, trust will be an easy gain all around and students’ learning environment will only bloom with positive partnerships and quality learning. Which is our goal: “Effective teaching, successful learning!”

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