September 1, 2008

Passion for Kids Spurs Candidacy

By stacey becker

Lesley Stephens Age: 64. Occupation: Retired principal of Bryant Elementary School, now a volunteer at The Finley Hospital's Babka Center. Family: Single.

The only female candidate for the Dubuque Community School Board is ready to be a cheerleader for education.

"I have a deep care and concern for the children and young adults of our community," said Lesley Stephens.

The retired Bryant Elementary School principal said she has considered running for a school board seat for the past three years, but she said she wanted to take some time to separate herself from the school district.

"I'm a strong believer in the concept of service," Stephens said. She added that her passion for children is what ultimately drove her back to the district.

Stephens said her passion, combined with her experience as a principal and curriculum consultant, has turned her into a multiple- issue school board candidate.

"It's not as though I'm running because I have a particular issue," she said.

The many things that Stephens said she will focus on if elected to the school board on Sept. 9 are programs for early childhood, program needs for at-risk secondary students, the district's budget problems, schools identified on the School In Need of Assistance list and any other issues that arise.

Student achievement, for Stephens, is at the heart of every issue that comes before the school board.

The candidate said she is just as passionate about the school district's staff.

"I want to be affirming to the hard work that all of our staff does with kids every day," Stephens said.

She added that there are many good things that happen in the school district daily that don't receive enough attention. Still, Stephens said there are many in the community who don't completely trust the decisions of the school board.

"We have to come to a point where we trust the judgement that they give us," she said, adding that she is committed to bringing some of that trust back to the school board.

Originally published by stacey becker TH staff writer/[email protected]

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