I’m running for re-election to the South Washington County School Board! I would appreciate your vote and support! I’m excited about our district and eager to continue the work to make a difference for our kids and our community.
EDUCATIONAL PRIORITIES: STUDENTS FIRST
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT: Get students what they need to feel safe and supported so they can focus on academics
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: Continue the district's upward trajectory to improve finances so we can invest in what students need, now and in the future
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Set clear academic expectations and provide students the resources they need to achieve and thrive
The pandemic has been devastating to our children's mental health. Across all age groups and demographics, students suffered. Our staff suffered. Our community suffered. Schools are not just places for kids to learn reading and math - they are also a place where they receive the care, guidance, and tools they need to grow and thrive. When students feel safe and supported at school, academic performance increases and behavioral problems decrease.
I want to make sure our students and staff have the tools they need to be successful - especially with respect to mental health. We need to give teachers and other staff the resources they need to be able to observe and help all students. We must ensure our schools have appropriately-trained staff to get students and families access to broader community resources.
Just as my husband and I try to save for our children's futures, I know planning ahead for our district is important. When I joined the school board, our fund balance - equivalent to a savings account - was among the lowest in the state. Long before I joined the board, I had been a strong, consistent advocate for fiscal responsibility. I am in my eighth year of serving on the CItizens Finance Advisory Committee, the community committee that looks at district finances in detail.
Since my election, we have grown our fund balance from 1.8% (less than two weeks' cash on hand) to 10% (over a month). A strong fund balance strengthens the school district more than financially - it allows us to ensure we can invest in what students need - including quality instruction, curriculum, and facilities. We are currently on a trajectory to have a 16% fund balance, or about 2 months' cash on hand, by 2027. We must continue to make fiscally responsible decisions to strengthen the district's general fund and ensure we position the district for future, long-term success.
Student voice is critical to a successful school district. Our students tell us what they want their educational experience to be. When students are engaged and feel heard, they are more likely to achieve their academic goals. We need to ensure our schools reflect student needs to help them own their education and become future community leaders. The pandemic has led to increased gaps in students' learning and achievement. While some students emerged with minimal negative impact, many did not. Whether it is ensuring all third graders read at grade level or our high schoolers are college and career ready, we must set clear academic expectations and make sure our students have the resources they need. My children have had wonderful opportunities in South Washington County Schools, and I want that to be every child's experience. If re-elected, I'll continue to be a strong advocate for all students, and continue to encourage students to use their voices, so that regardless of a family's background, city they live in, or school they go to, every student can reach their full potential.
My husband, Mohit Dewan, and I have two children: Zuleika, who graduated in 2023 from WHS and is now enrolled in college, and Jay, a 10th grader at WHS. I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and moved here after graduate school to work for 3M. My husband, who grew up in Rochester, MN, and I settled in Woodbury in 2002 because of the strength of the public schools. We both are products of public school and believe that strong public schools are a force for good.
I own a marketing consulting firm and also run Woodbury Thrives, a health and wellness collaborative program of the Woodbury Community Foundation. Before being elected to the school board in 2019, I served for six years as a PTO president, treasurer, and outreach chair; I also served four years on the district’s Citizens Finance Advisory Committee (and have continued to serve four years as a board member). I am currently the school board vice chair and serve on six different school board advisory committees. While on the board, I've remained active in the Woodbury band boosters and PWER Nordic ski boosters. My children have been fortunate to attend schools in Cottage Grove, St Paul Park, and Woodbury.
When I am not working, volunteering, or spending time with my family and friends, I love to read, so if you have any good book suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
CURRENT SCHOOL BOARD ROLES
School Board Vice Chair
Audit and Finance Committee
Citizens Finance Advisory Committee
District Ambassador Committee
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Parent Advisory Committee
City of Woodbury Committee
HOW YOU CAN HELP
I need your help to get re-elected to the board! Here are four simple things you can do to ensure your values are represented on the school board: