Brandy Harty and Les Nichols run for FNSB School Board seat C

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 5:03 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Brandy Harty and Les Nichols are both running for seat C on the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board.

Harty said she is running because she is an educator and a mom of two kids in the school district. “I truly believe that Fairbanks is a wonderful place to live and learn and I want to make sure that our schools remain a place where students love to learn and educators love to work.”

Harty said the school board’s role in hiring a superintendent for the district will be very important. “The superintendent sets the goals and sets the tone of every way that our district operates. The school board doesn’t control operations, but we hire and supervise that superintendent, and it is very vitally important that we are able to recruit competent and capable superintendents that see the vision and understand Fairbanks and what a unique population we are.”

Harty said she wants the contract being negotiated with the district’s two largest staff unions to be respectful and fair. “It is important that we show our educators that we respect them and that we value them, and a big part of that is through our contract with them so that we can retain the educators that we already have here, and we’re able to recruit other skilled and qualified educators to our district.”

Meanwhile, Nichols said he is running because he wants his kids and those of the community to have a good education. “We’ve got lots of budget struggles. Nobody in education feels like they’ve got all the money to do everything that they need. It’s always a struggle figuring out how are we going to best use that money to meet the educational missions, and I’ve done that. I’ve been a principal. I’ve had to make some really tough choices with a budget, and how to focus on the things that really matter so that we can move forward.”

Nichols said he’d like to get students back into the district enrollment that haven’t returned post-pandemic. “That’s a $10 million problem, so if we could get those kids back into the district that have not come back since the start of COVID, that’s a lot of money that could go back in to help us recruit teachers, that could go back in to help solve a lot of problems that the district is facing. I’ve done a lot of recruitment. I’ve done a lot of things to boost enrollment for other schools and other organizations, so it’s not new to me.”

Nichols also said he wants to create a culture of support around teachers. “Money’s not everything. Most teachers are mission-driven - not that most of them would turn down a raise if you offered it to them but that’s not why they’re there. They’re there because they believe it’s their mission in life to help children, and as a community, one of the things that really drives them is when they know they’re in a community that supports them in that mission, and it’s tough. As a teacher you keep getting more and more things added on to you.”

Harty and Nichols will appear on the ballot in the Municipal Elections on October 4.