School Board Candidate

Jennifer Kerns


No info available.


Our Candidate Summary

Socially Moderate

These assessments are based on the answers or lack of answers supplied by the candidates. Jennifer’s responses indicate a socially conservative position.

Jennifer Kerns on the Issues

Why have you decided to run for the Saint Joseph School Board?

1.) Being a volunteer with PTA in the district and in the community for so long, I have said that I wanted a seat at the table. I feel that a parent/teacher representative is necessary in order to get everyone’s voices heard. If you know me, you know I am passionate for advocating for our students, teachers and staff, and family engagement. Community engagement is so important to me and transparency is a must to gain that confidence from the community.

2.) Working in the clinic for several years with mosaic and volunteering in the district, it is hard to get physicians, healthcare workers, teachers, ect… to want to move here and work here because our schools do not have good ratings, but we have the potential to get there. I want to help make our community more desirable to come a bring families to by improving our school district.

3.)The education field is always changing….technology, curriculum, diversity….we have to have a new way to look at things to move forward with support to the teachers and staff. They need to make sure they have everything necessary to keep up to teach the students in this never ending changing environment. I want the help get the community on board with this and make sure the teachers have the support and tools they need from the district.

What are the strengths you will bring to the school board?

My strengths are working with the community and PTA for several years now. Currently I hold the president spot as the council and I am a big voice for advocating for the students, parents, teachers, and community. I have worked closely with the district for awhile and they know I am not one to back down and I want to fill that gap between the school district and community so we can become stronger together.

What changes/policies do you want to implement within the School Board?

I would like attendance problem to be addressed as it is already and have accountability set in place. Curriculum to be the same throughout all schools and grade levels. All middle schools to be 6,7,8 or just 7,8 and to be consistent. Teachers- Incentives and research on how we can keep our teachers here and gain more that would like to teach in our school district Facility- we need to make a plan on what we are going to do to make our high schools more comparable to the schools we compete with academically, artistically, and athletically. They all need to be the same in our town, whether it is 2 or 3 high schools, and offer the exact same thing.

Many schools in Saint Joe are falling into disrepair. What would you do to see schools maintained and upgraded?

That goes back to facility above. Lets work on the curriculum and the consistency throughout all the schools and I would definitely start with the facilities of the high school. As a community, we have to come together and do what is best for the students. It will cost money to do either plan above, but I would definitely have the community involvement and opinions heard on what they think is best so everyone comes together as a stronger community.

How do you feel the mask mandate was handled by the School Board during the COVID pandemic?

I worked in the healthcare and we all know that no one had the exact answers for this. We did the best we could with the knowledge we had on the disease. I think they handled the mask mandate to try to be compliant and safest as can be. There was no right answer to this. I am thankful for all they did during the pandemic.

Would you be in favor of mandating face masks or vaccinations of students within the school district? Please elaborate.

No. I feel that numbers are low enough that we do not need to do this anymore. I think it could still be a personal preference. Same with vaccination. It is a personal preference.

Do you believe there are financial resources within the budget that are currently misallocated?

I can not answer this questions without studying the financials. I think that our new administration has the best interest of the schools and students. If on the board and after studying the financials; if I have questions about the financials and budget I would definitely let my voice be heard. I would like to see money allocated towards the teachers and staff as well as facilities and technology within the schools. Also to make sure the support staff has the support they need.

What are your top funding priorities?

Teachers/Staff, Curriculum/Technology, Facilities

How would you ensure financial transparency and accountability with the public?

I feel that financial should already be in the public eye and easy access to see. Maybe provide at meetings and be open to questions. I have always questioned everything I am not sure about or does not look right to me. I am big on putting accountability in place.

What is the greatest challenge the Saint Joseph School district is currently facing?

Attendance and number of students enrolled. This is where we need to change as a district and a community to make it more desirable to come work and live here with your families. Teacher/staff shortage.

How do you feel about the current approach to special education within the school district?

I think we need more support for special education. I think we have great people running that department, but we do not have enough support in that area. This would include language barrier kids as well. This will only become greater. We need to look into that now and have the support needed to provide these students the education they need too.

What do you see as the most significant challenges teachers face within the district?

Teacher shortage, diversity and multiple languages spoken, curriculum and attendance.

How will you encourage community interaction and receive community feedback about the state of Saint Joseph Schools?

I feel that we need to have more community involvement such as the vision forward on a more regular basis. You have to get out and talk to your community to see what they want. Involve your volunteer groups within the district and community to help make decisions for the community.

How would you encourage parental involvement within the school system?

PTA of coarse. The school district needs to let the PTA have a seat at the table on decision making and work closely with them. If the community sees that SJSD supports PTA and family engagement and that we work together, more parents will be involved and will have more trust in our district knowing that their voices are heard. I know that our new administration is working on this.

Do you support transgender-inclusive or lgbtq+ policies for schools such as bathroom and locker room inclusion based on someone's preferred gender?

I feel that every student should feel safe and comfortable in their learning environment. I also think that a student can express theirselves in their own way if it is not against rules or disruptive to others learning. I do not think that they should be able to go to the preferred gender locker rooms/bathrooms, but I think other accommodations could be made so everyone is comfortable.

Would you encourage the introduction of materials into the school system based on Critical Race Theory (CRT)?

I think this is something is taught more in the higher educational levels such as university. I do not think it is acceptable to teach in the public school system.