Ask the Candidate: Katie Jo Roemhildt

Katie Jo Roemhildt.

Candidate for Cordova School Board

Job: Former human resources director of The Health Center of Merritt Island in Merritt Island, Fla.; parent

Public service: Cooking meals for community members; supporter of Cordova Church of the Nazarene

Education: Master of Arts in Vocational Education, University of Central Florida; Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration, University of Central Florida


How would you like to see the school district adjust its coronavirus response?
I would like to see both schools open full-time at normal capacity. I’m concerned that the lack of in-person learning our children have received for almost a year now will negatively impact them moving forward. Right now, students are receiving three hours, four days per week. It takes me about three hours of homeschooling for all of our subjects, and this is essentially one-on-one instruction. With teachers having multiple students with different learning styles, I am concerned that our children are unable to learn everything they need to within those time restraints. I would like to see a shift of focus to providing alternative resources or avenues of education to those families that fall into the high-risk category and who feel that in-person learning is not safe for their family.

Other than dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, what is the school district’s biggest task for the coming year?
It’s important that the school district is student-centered. Parents/guardians of current students should have an active role in deciding what happens regarding their child’s education and place of learning. Politics, teacher unions and government leaders have interfered too much with our children’s education around the nation, and there should be no place for any of this overreach within our schools. The best interest of our children in our community is best known at the local level and with active participation of the parents. Cordova has a great and unique opportunity to ensure that every student will be provided with a consistent and quality education regardless of what the popular ideology of the day may be. I would also like to see the enforcement of a zero-tolerance bullying policy so our children can learn in a safe environment free of anxiety and needless fear. Lastly, my passion lies in vocational education.

Working on expanding on what Cordova already does in this area can provide an abundance of opportunities for our high school students moving into adulthood. I think it’s important to ensure that vocational and trade schools are taught as a viable and advantageous option for students.

What sets you apart from your opponents in this race?
I know several people on a personal, friendship level running for school board and I think they have great qualities and share my drive of ensuring that the student’s needs always come first and that parent voices are heard. I will always focus on what’s best for the children, I will never use divisive rhetoric that divides the community but will always try to present my ideas or solutions with respect to others.

What can schools do to promote good mental health among students?
The easiest way to do this is to try and go back to as much of a normal way of doing things as possible. Students need to be able to socialize, play sports and express their feelings, values and ideas without reproach. Our minds are broadened with a healthy debate of ideas and in our learning institutions specifically, this should be encouraged.

Identify one previous decision by the school board that you disagree with, and explain why.
I disagree with the most recent decision of not opening schools full time. We can safely go back to full-time in-person learning and scientists throughout the nation are telling us to do so. Not fully reopening is doing more harm to our children than good. Abuse, depression and suicides in our nation’s youth have skyrocketed and coincide with the approach we have taken in our response to schools and coronavirus. Daycares, theme parks, public transportation and huge shopping centers like Costco are open but our school is acting at half capacity… it’s time to get our kids back in school full time!