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Melissa Whithorn

Courtesy photo
School Board Candidate Melissa Whithorn stands with her son.

Geyser reporter Addyson Norquist interviewed Melissa Whithorn at her place of work on April 24. This is a paraphrased account of their interview.

Tell us about yourself and your background.
Whithorn is a mom with two biological kids and one step kid,and she said her education when she was in school was awful. She was deaf until she was eight so she just passed all her classes because her teachers did not know what to do with her. She has been in Livingston for two years after moving from Louisiana. She has been working with kids for 17 years and is currently the owner of Little Einsteins Preschool and Daycare learning center in Livingston.
What inspired you to run for the school board position?
She said her son, who is special needs, goes to Sleeping Giant Middle School and she thinks that the teachers cannot support him and that there needs to be more therapies for special needs kids in our school district.
What are you hoping to accomplish if you are elected? How are you going to accomplish these goals?
She is hoping to help people think outside the box to find resources for special needs kids in our community. Whithorn wants to empower teachers with the tools to teach these students better. She wants to be a nagging voice for the people who have money by reaching out to people who have tax write-offs and the wealthy people to help pay for things. Other ideas she mentioned included getting a trade school in the district and offering teachers housing. The teachers do not have time to teach all these kids. Get programs like Home Ec back into the school. Get more vocational electives. She said she does not like the Tech levies on the May school district ballot. As a parent, the school system is giving her kids computers that they cannot take care of and she doesn’t want to have to pay for damages. She mentioned that cheating is also a big concern with computers and they should put money into classes that will give students practical life skills.
What do you think is the biggest challenge we face in our schools today?
Teachers: we need more teachers and the kids need more support. Whithorn said that in Livingston we have the highest suicide rate in teenagers. The teachers are exhausted and the kids need more support so we need to get teachers more support too.
What do you think is the role of a school board member? To monitor and make sure that the superintendent is doing what he needs to do and the funds are going where they need to. She wants to be someone for people to voice their concerns to and be there for individual families. She wants to help those families whose kids are struggling and they do not know what to do.
Who is an educator who impacted your life?
Whithorn mentioned her 6th grade English teacher whom she said did not like her because she was not a good enough student. She wrote a children’s story and her teacher took her into the hall and told her to stop trying and that she will be lucky to graduate. It really hurt her and she felt like she had to give up, so she proved to this teacher that she can do anything any other kid can do. Her ninth grade algebra teacher took the time and re-graded all of her tests because she was dyslexic and was getting the test wrong.

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About the Contributor
Addyson Norquist
I am a senior at Park High and I play softball and I enjoy hanging out with friends and family.

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