My name is Debbie Mann. I am a native Floridian, and have lived in St. Cloud for 28 years. I met my husband Kevin while we were attending the University of Florida. We are so proud of our two daughters who grew up and attended Osceola County schools and also went to college at UF, with one currently in P.A. school there. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Extension Education.
When my youngest started school, I volunteered there at Michigan Avenue Elementary, and then became a substitute teacher. I also worked as a paraprofessional at MAE with some amazing teachers. One of which inspired me to take a serious look at teaching while working in her room one day, saying “are you sure you don’t want to teach, you’d be great at this”. After taking an almost year-long substitute position there in PE, where I started their first track team, I knew I’d found my calling. In the last 16 years, I have taught PE, 2nd grade and 3rd grade, which I am currently teaching, at Harmony Community School. I am proud to say I’ve been a highly effective teacher there since we opened in 2008. I have also volunteered & served on the board of St. Cloud Little League and have been a member and chair on the Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show Committee.
I am running for Osceola County School Board – District 5, because I am a proud momma and teacher. I believe what is right is always important. I believe in education that involves our country. I will stand up for parents, students and educators, and be a champion for my counterparts.
There are many important topics to mention when discussing schools today. Here are a few I am passionate about…..First, our ESPs (professional support staff) must be honored with a decent wage. They are an integral part of our schools, and need to be taken care of, and feel appreciated. Veteran teacher salaries should be higher than new teacher salaries. I am glad that all teacher pay is finally being raised, but the loyalty of our veteran teachers needs to be valued. This will also help with teacher retention and attracting new teachers.
Increasing performance in our schools always needs to be a focus. But, I do not believe it is all related to test scores. Providing a safe environment for all students to learn and focusing on academics will help. Students need to be welcomed and respected, but also held accountable. We need to have more opportunities for trade school and certifications available to those students that want them. Our students not only need to be college-ready, if they choose, but career-ready as well. The financial literacy requirement coming back next year is also a positive. Everything we teach needs to have strong academic value and merit. CRT has no place in our schools.
Osceola County Schools did well with the COVID-19 management, and I firmly believe schools must stay open for in-person learning.
We have got to come together to solve the school growth issue. Our county is outgrowing our schools and staff. There needs to be open collaboration between the school district, other governing agencies, and all stakeholders to discuss the impact of this growth on our students and families.
In my classroom, my families know I will be honest with them and take care of their children like my own. Success looks different for everyone, and I try to build a community where all are successful. I care about my students. I care about their families. I care about my fellow teachers. I do not shy away from difficult conversations and I will be a voice for you that will not be silenced. I am dedicated to working hard for you – Students, Parents, Teachers.
A vote for me on August 23rd is a vote for you.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration,