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School Board Candidate Profile: Emily Kennedy

Could you please give a bit of background about yourself?

I am a mother of three with two Kindergarteners and a second grader, and married to my best friend. My husband and I moved to Three Forks primarily for the excellent school that had small town family values, which are very important to us. I am a mortgage lender for Stockman Bank and work closely with finances, budgets, and have a healthy understanding of mill levies as well as housing affordability concerns in the area.

Why did you choose to run and what qualities would you personally bring to the board?

I chose to run because I want to be an asset to the community in which I live and be involved in what my children are being taught. I have a varied background in Education: I have a BA with a Minor in Education, worked as a paraeducator and substitute paraeducator in special education and a college-readiness class called AVID. I was the Lead Teacher for an after-school program to keep children from participating in gangs, taught English in Guatemala, founding a high-school mentoring program with grant funding while in college, and have volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

My career as a mortgage lender has given me the ability to communicate clearly both verbally and in writing as well as handle sensitive issues with efficiency and discretion. I consider myself to be an open-minded and pragmatic individual – I'm not emotional and I don't attract drama. I hope I could be a neutral, helpful, and thoughtful member of the board. My priority is to serve our children, families and the community at large, and be someone who others are comfortable contacting with concerns.

What are the biggest challenges for the district?

The biggest challenges for the district is the growth we are seeing. Many families are moving to the area, which puts a strain on resources and creates the need for increased staff and facilities. This combined with the high cost of living and comparatively low educator wages makes staffing challenges particularly difficult. I also believe that in years past they have not communicated well how important mill levies are for the betterment and growth of our schools.

What do you think the district is doing well?

I think the district does so many things well. Sometimes I think about how amazing public school even exists: they offer so many things, from mentoring, enrichment, adult education, sports, college prep, counseling, and so much more. We ask our schools to be so many different things to so many different children and families, and our schools are truly the heart of our community. I'm proud to be a Wolf and to call Three Forks home!

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