Candidate profile: Katy McElwee-Stevens
Family: Husband, Rick; son, 19, daughter, 15
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology, University of Minnesota; graduate work in industrial relations
Occupation: High-needs paraprofessional, Newport Elementary School
Katy McElwee-Stevens holds at least one distinction among District 833 School Board hopefuls: She is the only candidate who works in the school district.
A board incumbent, McElwee-Stevens also is a full-time paraprofessional at Newport Elementary. She said that has provided her a window into how school board and administrative decisions affect students. Besides working at Newport Elementary, McElwee-Stevens has volunteered in the district for 15 years and has sat on a grant committee at East Ridge High School.
“Everything I can possibly be I am,” she said. “I’m able to see the big picture.”
McElwee-Stevens said she sees that the district’s pilot iPad program is working. The point of providing iPads to students in five schools is to individualize student education, she said. Students are using it for math and reading, among other school purposes.
“They want to do it,” she said of school work, “and that’s half the battle.”
Still, McElwee-Stevens said she would want to see more data about how the iPads affect student learning before deciding whether to support expanding the program.
McElwee-Stevens voted to put the three-question district referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot. It’s important to fund education, she said, and people in south Washington County expect students to do well and graduate prepared to succeed in life.
“If the state’s not going to do it,” she said of adequately funding schools, “then it will fall to us.”
McElwee-Stevens is wrapping up an 11-month appointment to the board, following Leslee Boyd’s resignation. She previously served two years on the board after a 2006 appointment.
If elected, McElwee-Stevens doesn’t plan to continue in a full-time role with the district but wants to stay involved. She said she enjoys helping students learn to learn.
“That’s a life skill, and if I can be a part of that it’s fantastic,” she said.