Susan Sander

Learn more about Susan's stances below.

  • Susan Sander

  • About Susan

  • New Castle
  • Red Clay Consolidated
  • District E
  • My name is Susan Sander and I am running for a seat on the Red Clay School Board.
    I was so inspired by the strong support and passing of the recent referendum. I realized that as members of the Red Clay community we have been given a golden opportunity to better the education of our Red Clay students and families, but only if we have a proper plan and clear vision for the future. To that end, I support comprehensive solutions to increase positive student outcomes, improve the teacher retention rate, and to ensure an equitable and transparent use of district funds.
    I have always strongly supported the public school system. As a parent of 5 and grandparent to 5 more, I know the importance of these institutions in the lives of our children and families. As a Delaware resident for the last decade, I’ve learned both of the tremendous opportunities afforded to Red Clay students as well as the challenges facing our district. Even though my children are long out of school, I remain dedicated to fostering stronger bonds between our schools, families, and community.
    In my private life, I am passionate about getting involved and spending my time volunteering. I work with a local sewing group to create and sell pieces of handwork, and we donate the proceeds to allow students from underfunded schools to access curriculum-enriching field trips to a major local history museum. I also donate my time and the materials to teach sewing skills classes through the Sunday Breakfast Mission. Before retiring, I worked in sales and marketing and as an executive assistant for several senior housing and assisted living communities.

  • Candidate Questions

  • Equity is about creating an environment where students have access to the same opportunities and supports, while also acknowledging that some schools and students may need different sets of resources to attain those opportunities.

  • Recently, the Red Clay School passed the Operating Referendum and the Capital Referendum. The tremendous support and interest demonstrated the commitment of Red Clay families to improving the educational needs of all students. For this reason, I believe that ensuring the equity and financial transparency of our budget and resources remains a key responsibility for all school board members.

    Increasing opportunities for community engagement with financial decision making allows for clear and consistent communication with our students and families. Fostering community involvement channels promotes not only transparency but also accessibility with the decision making process. Frequent audits and reviews with the input of different interested parties will serve as a means of tracking and oversight over our budget. Offering training for members and educators will work to ensure decisions are made with equity in mind. Furthermore, I support further development of our funding models, especially in regards to shifting towards weight based funding formulas for students at economically disadvantaged and English learners in our current funding formula. Moreover, adding weighted consideration for gifted and talented students, and including indicators such as size, geography and resource prices.

    As a school board member, I will actively seek to promote contextualized and flexible decision making processes to use our budget and resources in localized allocation but also as a means of overcoming systemic barriers in our education institutions.

  • School board members must ensure all decisions regarding disciplinary measures take into account the variety of disparities our students face without removing accountability in individual circumstances. Board members should be responsive to any system-wide issues that uphold inequality. There are many factors that either create or worsen circumstances affecting students, including how they are perceived by the adults around them.

    Additionally, I believe strongly in strengthening early education programs which are critical in leveling the playing field and closing opportunity gaps. At all grade levels but especially the upper level schools, I advocate for more mental health resources and after school programs all of which aid in the prevention of behavioral issues and disruption. Schools with large numbers of students with special needs, English learners, and those living in poverty should have more access to mental health professionals and social workers to help combat . Systemic equity requires any consequence-based disciplinary measures to close opportunity gaps for each Red Clay student, not further it. I believe that an inclusive and diverse educational environment remains essential in creating positive student outcomes.

  • School resource officers should provide a sense of security and safety for all students by making unbiased decisions and actions. Black and Brown students are suspended at a higher rate, and this cannot go unaddressed. Training for the officers on cultural awareness and school-specific issues should be comprehensive and ongoing. I support measures that are proven to increase student safety.

  • Yes, I believe students have the right to read and learn free from viewpoint based censorship. We need to teach history as it actually happened.

  • Yes, I support this statement because I firmly believe in the duty of our schools to support the future of every individual student. Embracing wholeheartedly the diversity of our student body and promoting the different experiences both on a student and educator level enriches our learning environment. Our schools serve both as support structures within our community in which our students are free to discover and grow, as well as, a source of inspiration and introduction to the larger world. I view our differences in sexual orientation, culture and abilities as key to our strengths. Promoting acceptance and empathy in our institutions will build a path to eliminating discrimination and creating a space for students to thrive.

  • Yes, I support a district-wide policy that affirms the rights and inclusion of LGBTQ+ students and staff. LGBTQ+ students and staff are our families, friends, leaders and children. I firmly believe that inclusion and acceptance are vital to building a strong and enriching professional and educational culture. The Red Clay Consolidated School District has already made progress thanks to the recent passage of Policy 8005 which enshrined many great practices, especially for our transgender students.

  • I believe that addressing anti-bullying and discrimination should be a school-wide initiative. There should be a safe, secure and clearly communicated reporting process.

    Additionally, the repercussions from policies on discrimination should be clear, reviewed and updated by the board on a regular basis. I advocate for training and educating the staff, students and support staff on bullying prevention and awareness. The ability to identify bullying behaviors and provide anger management skills are the front line to prevention.

  • I am dedicated to fostering stronger bonds between our schools, families, and community. By increasing family and community engagement, we can create a collaborative educational environment that supports the holistic development of all students. If elected, I will advocate for initiatives such as regular town hall meetings, volunteer opportunities, and culturally inclusive events to bridge the gap between home and school.

    Additionally, the district needs to be doing more to hear from individual educators and to sponsor their ideas about connecting to parents and families. I’ve been speaking to educators and support staff who have the initiative to build fantastic partnerships and relationships, but we already expect so much from our staff. The district can do more to identify these opportunities that are happening organically at the schools and to bolster and encourage these interactions.

  • I firmly believe we need a more diverse teaching and administrative staff to reflect the diversity of our student body. I believe students are able to connect with school leadership when they have more commonalities and shared experiences. We need more inclusive professional development, and we need to address systemic barriers to entry that make the teaching profession less welcoming and unsustainable for many. I believe that every student will benefit from a diverse leadership.

  • I find lead in our schools’ water as absolutely intolerable and would continue to support the efforts underway to ensure the safety of water in the schools. I will facilitate the consistent monitoring and maintenance of our building infrastructure. In addition, I would strengthen the communications with our Red Clay families to inform them of any risks from lead levels in their schools’ water supply and the progress of any measures the board undertakes. I will always prioritize transparency and immediate action when it comes to our students’ health.

  • As it currently stands, Delaware’s funding matrix is outdated and needs major revision. I would propose a review of our Red Clay budget to make sure the resources we do have are being used where they’re most needed. As a lone school board member, I know my single voice likely won’t be able to close any funding deficit. However, as an active and engaged community member, I know we will need to organize to send a message to Dover to pass funding legislation that will better meet the needs of our schools and students.

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