Watershed Voice sent out questionnaires to over 30 candidates running for elected school board positions in St. Joseph County and the surrounding area. Leading up to the General Election on November 3, Watershed will publish the questionnaires as it receives them back from the candidates. Vicki Welburn Essex, a candidate for School Board Trustee on the Marcellus Board of Education, filled out our questionnaire. These are her answers.
Name: Vicki Welburn Essex
Address: 29518 94th Avenue, Marcellus, MI 49067
Family (optional): Married, 2 children: 16 yr. old and 9 yr. old.
I have lived in Marcellus my whole life. I have participated as a coach and as part of the Little League Board. I am a proud graduate of Marcellus.
Does your background include training or work, paid or unpaid, in education? What was that experience? What are some of your successes, and what have been some learning moments?
I have a BA in education from Western Michigan University in Secondary Education and a Master’s in Special Education from Arkansas State University. I am currently a middle/high school Special Education Teacher.
Do you now or have you ever had children enrolled in the district where you are running?
I have a child in each building of the district.
How else do you currently participate, or have you participated in the past, in school district activities?
I have coached softball in Marcellus and the district where I currently teach. I also participate as a Band Booster at Marcellus.
How has your school district handled the pandemic in both the spring and fall of this year? If anything, what would you have done differently?
I really think all schools have handled the pandemic to the best of their abilities. Nobody expected or planned to ever have to make the adjustments and decisions they have had to make. The government and Department of Education have consistently made changes as to how schools must comply. I think all schools and making the adjustments to the best of their abilities and as quickly as possible.
Outside of the pandemic, what are currently the most important challenges your school district faces? How do you plan to address those challenges?
Funding is always an issue in small schools.
Are there other key points of your platform as a candidate for school board? If so, what are they?
I don’t know that I have a platform necessarily. I think the board is doing a good job with the resources they have. As a teacher, I feel like I can bring a different perspective to the board.
How does running for the school board fit your broader views and ethics?
I want to see all students be successful to the best of their ability. Every student deserves a positive educational experience.
Why is education important to you?
Education should be important to everyone. Education prepares the next generation to be adults. We want students to be productive members of society whether that means going into the job force, military, or college; it is the school and parent’s job to prepare them.
Is there anything else the community should know about you?
(no answer provided)