At the top of Destiny Sargeant's list of priorities is choice - for students and for parents.
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The Juneau School Board candidate spent six months on the committee planning for Juneau's new themed-based high school curriculum, called "Next Generation." Offering students choices is a key part of that curriculum.
If elected, Sargeant said she would work for student and family choice in education. It's what Juneau residents asked for on surveys and in public comment periods on the curriculum, Sargeant said.
Individual choice leads to a passion for education, she said.
Occupation: clinical psychologist for SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
Education: Ph.D. in psychology.
Time in Juneau: 13 years.
Boards and committees: member, Alaska State Occupational Licensing Board; board president and director, Juneau Critical incident Stress Management Team; board member, Juneau Youth Football League; past member, Floyd Dryden Middle School Site Council and parent group; past member, Glacier Valley Elementary School Site Council and parent group; past member, the High School Program Planning committee.
Family: Son, Marshall, who attends Juneau-Douglas High School and daughter, Malina, who attends Glacier Valley Elementary School.
For more information about Hood's stance on Juneau's top issues or to ask her questions visit our interactive website: www.juneaublogger.com/election
"We're operating in a system that is about 100 years old. It doesn't work for everyone," she said. "I have a passion to see that all of our children are successful."
In her pitch, Sargeant is careful to include students heading for the trades and in need of vocational training alongside those headed for college. She said she expects the Next Generation plan to begin closing the gap for the 40 percent of Juneau students leaving school without diplomas.
Having taught at the university level in Ketchikan and Juneau, Sargeant has some experience behind the lectern and believes it is relevant experience for the School Board.
To make the Next Generation plan work, Sargeant said she would focus on providing teachers and staff with the support to develop additional skills to carry out the curriculum.
"Change is scary, yes," Sargeant said.
On the other hand, some of the educational system is not working with the current generation of students, she said.
Jan Maze, state licensing examiner, has described Sargeant as an active and productive participant on the state licensing board.
"She is willing to take projects on," Maze said. "She takes initiative on her own."
Maze gave a recent example of Sargeant reviewing and rewriting regulations in an effort to make them more user-friendly.
Sargeant said she believes institutional racism is at the root of the problem of lower educational performance by Alaska Native students.
"It seeps into the fabric of expectation," she said. "I work with Native clients. I hear it all the time."
She also said she believes the Next Generation curriculum is the only hope of lowering the district's dropout rate.
However much emphasis she puts on Next Generation, Sargeant doesn't see it as the only solution and said she is open to others.
Bruce Bowler, treasurer of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team described Sargeant as a "sparkplug."
"She brings new information to the table," he said. "She brings ideas that go beyond the current comfort level."
To make change, Sargeant said that teachers need help, not criticism. She would have someone come in and help teachers look for causes they don't see.
Asked about her stance on the "Bong hits 4 Jesus" free speech case, Sergeant said the district had a right to enforce its policy based on its perception of Joseph Frederick's message.
"There are limits in life. There is an authority in life," she said.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June in favor of the school district and against Frederick, a former Juneau-Douglas High School student who held up a banner with the words "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" at an off-campus school-sanctioned event. Frederick sued the district after he was suspended for holding up the banner.
Had the sign been clearly political and read, "Legalize Medical Marijuana," Sargeant sticks to her belief.
"I wouldn't want any political message whatsoever on that board without approval ahead of time," she said.
James Lockwood works with Sargeant on the Juneau Youth Football League and said she is very active in her logistical role managing field time and working with Juneau Parks and Recreation.
Sargeant isn't the type who just wants to sit on a board for the sake of being on the board. Instead, she is involved in the league to get things done, Lockwood said.
"She is very interested in how to make football work with two schools," he said. Lockwood said Sargeant's thoughts on sports logistics are logical and well thought-out.
"She is professional in her approach," he said.
He believes Sargeant would be a capable addition to the School Board as it faces the task of setting up a sports program for two high schools.
"It's an 800-pound gorilla that the current School Board has taken a pass on," Lockwood said.
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