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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Get to Know the Candidates: A Q&A w/ Lisa Duckworth, Fort Thomas Board of Education

Lisa Duckworth, incumbent, is running for re-election to the Fort Thomas Board of Education/Provided

This November, three members of the Fort Thomas Board of Education are up for re-election. In addition to the incumbents, there are two challengers running for seats on the Board. As part of FTM's efforts to keep you, the Fort Thomas electorate, informed and prepared for the upcoming elections, the Q&A below is part of an ongoing series, "Get to Know the Candidates." Each participant is asked an identical set of questions.

Incumbent Lisa Duckworth is no stranger to Fort Thomas school involvement, having served on the Ruth Moyer PTO as well as the Site-Based Decision Making Councils for Moyer, HMS, and HHS, among others, before joining the Fort Thomas Board of Education.

FTM: What is your connection to Fort Thomas Schools and the Fort Thomas community at large?

LD: My involvement with Fort Thomas Independent began in 1996 when my daughter, Laura, was in first grade.  That year I became a board member of the Ruth Moyer PTO. Over seven years I wore many hats, including co-chairperson of Santa House, Market Day coordinator, and PTO President for two years.

I also was Highlands High School PTO board member for eight years.  Wanting to serve the district in another capacity, I was elected to serve on Site-Based Decision Making Councils for Ruth Moyer (1 year), Highlands Middle School (4 years), and Highlands High School (4 years).

For the past fourteen years I have also been a committee member of the Education & Eggs Breakfast. This annual community breakfast includes teachers, administrators, and staff employees from St. Catherine and St. Thomas, as well as Fort Thomas Independent.  This highly anticipated event is sponsored by Fort Thomas businesses and interested citizens to show their appreciation for everyone who educates all our children in Fort Thomas.  The committee coordinates breakfast and a keynote speaker welcoming everyone back to school.

What brought you to take on Board service?

After our son Evan graduated in 2011, I wanted to find a way to serve the district again in some capacity.  I sought the appointment when the Fort Thomas Board of Education had a vacancy due to the passing of board member, Gail Federle.  Through my experience and involvement volunteering and working with Fort Thomas Independent Schools, I felt I had a unique point of view.  While on SBDM councils, we hired principals at Moyer (Jay Brewer), HHS (Brian Robinson), and while on the Board of Education we hired a Superintendent (Gene Kirchner). I was appointed to the Fort Thomas Board of Education by Kentucky Education Commissioner, Terry Holliday in January 2012.

What accomplishment during your time on the Board are you most proud of?

I am most proud of our partnerships with St. Elizabeth, Commonwealth Orthopedics and Northern Kentucky University, and others.  Through Commonwealth Orthopedic support with the new fitness center, we are able to have a state of the art fitness equipment, not only for our students, but for the entire community of Fort Thomas. The center will also aid Highlands students who are interested in health field careers get dual credit in Life Science classes with our partnership with NKU. For students interested in becoming teachers, we have dual credit agreement with Thomas More College.  We also have dual credit classes in Theater arts through Western Kentucky University. All of these opportunities provide students with tangible, real-world experience in their chosen careers.

What, in your opinion, should the district do to address the continued challenge of obtaining funding and other support from the state and federal governments?

It is important to me that the Commonwealth of Kentucky realize that the funding formula currently used creates financial challenges for school districts such as ours. I feel it is important that the District continue talking and meeting with our elected officials in Frankfort to further our tradition of excellence at Fort Thomas Independent Schools. The Ruth Moyer building renovation/addition is a perfect example of what we can accomplish through these joint efforts.

What do you see as the District's top priority(ies) now and moving forward over the next four years and beyond?   

Our top priority now, as well as the near future, is making sure we are living our Mission & Vision statements, which we revised last year.  This includes making sure our facilities are up-to-date, our instruction is always focused on individual student growth, and that we have  the latest technology to enhance student achievement for real-world connection. In addition leadership and faculty must maintain high expectations for students.  Parents and support staff also play a crucial role in student achievement by serving as essential participants in a partnership of mutual respect.  By achieving these goals, we will best prepare our students to become productive and impactful citizens. 

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