Alioune 'Ali' Sogue: Candidate for Cherry Creek Schools Board of Education, District C

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City of residence: Centennial

Occupation: Environmental engineer

Contact information: aliounesogue05@gmail.com

Why are you seeking this office?

We have, without doubt, an elite school district that ranks as one of the best in the state. I am running for school board because I want to see that elite status maintained … There is no innovation without good education, and good education comes with great teachers, great management group (superintendent, principal, teachers and staff) and involved parents and communities.

What makes you the best person for the job?

As president of the board and co-founder of the Colorado African Organization … a nonprofit organization (that) delivers services for Colorado refugees and immigrants … I have gained enough expertise for resolution of toughest challenges that faced our communities … the CAO … provides support for refugee families through school-based programs … with Aurora Public Schools and Denver Public Schools.

What, if anything, should be done to enhance security at district schools?

Establish a culture of inclusion and respect that welcomes all students; encourage students to take responsibility for their part in maintaining safe school environments; reintroduce civic education in the curriculum; and most importantly, hold accountable our leaders, politicians who promote division for self-interest.

What, if anything, should be done to better address the mental health needs of district students?

Unlike physical (wounds), mental health affects mood and thoughts and often remains hidden due to culture barrier, difficulty in communication and poor communication between teachers/staff and students. What needs to be done in resolving the mental health issue is better line of communication between students and staff and most importantly requesting assistance from organizations that can break barriers and open a healthy line of communication with parents.

What issue or issues must the school board make a bigger priority next year than it has in recent years?

The two biggest priorities will be finances and inclusion. The board has to target new industries that value innovation for additional funds (improving staff salaries); and priority 2, establish a culture of inclusion and respect that welcomes all students.

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