Angela Garland: Candidate for Cherry Creek Schools Board of Education, District C

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City of residence: Centennial

Occupation: At-home mom, program director at youth-serving agencies

Contact information/website: https://garlandforcherrycreek.wpcomstaging.com

Why are you seeking this office?

I am a vociferous supporter of public schools … I know the importance of a great education and how transformational it can be … I look forward to assisting in ensuring that we continue to have innovation-learning experiences for all students; have a more diverse workforce and teachers who reflect the student population; and address issues related to the district's budget.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I have served on various committees throughout the district, including the CCS Foundation, PASS, Leadership Cherry Creek and the Cherry Creek Community Legislative Network. The knowledge I have gained by serving in these areas and my experience as a current mom of four children in the district has prepared me to serve the citizens of the district.

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

I believe the district's current approach to hiring more mental health professionals, and safety and security professionals, is definitely a step in the right direction. The district's Future Forward plan aptly centers students and their experiences as a metric to determine the health of our district. Engaged students have a stake in their environment, will not bring harm and will partner with adults and staff to keep it safe. In addition, our safety initiative includes parents, first responders, staff, faith leaders and other community stakeholders.

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

Mental health cannot be addressed solely by the school. The Cherry Creek School District has increased the number of mental health professionals. However, we must work to destigmatize mental illness. If our body ails us or is hurting, we go to the appropriate doctor; if our thoughts, moods or situations are “hurting” and in a sad place, we should advocate our students, families and community seek and have access to mental health services.

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

I believe the district needs to celebrate our excellence and our fiscal stewardship all while telling the story of how grossly underfunded Cherry Creek and other districts across the state are in spite of Colorado's booming economy.

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