Story provided by Stillwater Public Schools
Stillwater Public Schools Board of Education welcomed two new members to their meetings this week. Ashley Moore, representing Ward 5, and Melody Wright, representing Ward 4, come to the board following June 30 elections.
An Oklahoma State University and Union High School Alum, Ashley Moore recently completed a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and has lived in Stillwater for more than 20 years. Having taught for SPS for nine of those years, she is currently employed by OSU as Program Coordinator for OSUTeach. Moore and her husband Brady have two daughters, 13-year-old Kinley, and 10-year-old Sadie.
Moore feels her experience teaching will be of benefit as a board member. “I want to make sure that when we adopt policies that we have an understanding of how those policies can actually be implemented in the school and classroom.”
“Curriculum and instruction is really important to me,” says Moore. “I want to make sure that, in the midst of plans to deal with the pandemic, we are still addressing the educational and social and emotional needs of all our students,” citing recent efforts by SPS to establish trauma informed training for teachers. Moore feels this was a positive step that benefits students, teachers, and the school environment.
New board member Wright agrees, “Retrospectively, getting ready to be a trauma informed district was really beneficial. I think it’s obvious the current situation has put everyone under a lot of stress.”
A more than 40 year resident of Stillwater, Melody Wright received both a bachelors and masters degree from OSU and is a U.S. Grant High School alum. She and her husband, Joe Bob, have two adult children, Taleri and Justan, who grew up in Stillwater. With over 30 years at Stillwater High School, Meridian Technology Center, and OSU, Wright feels ready to give back to Stillwater in her new capacity as a board member. “I feel that since the school system is what I know best,” she says, “This is a good way I can contribute to the community that helped me raise my children.”
Class and school sizes are key concerns for Wright. “I’d like the district to do a better job of keeping class sizes under the maximums established by the state,” she says. “Also, elementary enrollment in Stillwater has grown by almost 800 students in the last 20 years, and while we’ve updated and expanded our schools, it might be time to consider adding another elementary school.”
Both board members acknowledge that upcoming challenges facing the district as a result of the current pandemic. “I can’t imagine the undertaking it has been to try to come up with a plan for all students and teachers with very few guidelines from the state and national level,” says Moore. “I appreciate that a task force has been developed and is working to create a reentry plan and meeting weekly, to make adjustments.”
“There will definitely be things to overcome,” Wright says, “I think there is going to be a teacher shortage, not just in our community, but the state and country,” referencing shrinking pools of certified teachers and reduced enrollment in teacher education programs. “I think we need to be using more of our resources on teaching staff, focusing every dollar we have on the classroom and the kids.”
“I am looking forward to working with our new board members,” said Dr. Marc Moore, Superintendent of Stillwater Public Schools. “Both bring a great deal of experience in education and vibrant connections across the community. I’m looking forward to their fresh perspectives and input as they join our already dedicated board members.”
The new board members encourage community members to contact them by their district emails, listed at StillwaterSchools.com