Next up on our Vote DFL Candidate Series–Steve Marchese for School Board! Here are Steve’s answers to our questions:
Why did you decide to run?
As a parent of SPPS students, I had been active in their schools and was familiar with many of the issues facing parents in the district. As a lawyer, I bring skills and abilities that I believe are needed on the board – a willingness to ask tough questions, a focus on the need for wise use of fiscal and human resources and experience on other boards. Also, as someone who works in public interest law, I see the connection between our educational system and the need for access to the legal system for low and moderate income people like many of our families.
What’s your vision for the St.Paul School District 30 years from now and advice for the Class of 2049?
I want to see SPPS providing rigorous, culturally relevant education for all of our students that prepares them to realize their dreams and goals. I want SPPS graduates to be engaged members of our community who bring critical thinking skills, as well as compassion to their work. For the Class of 2049, I suggest they always be ready for change – that the world moves fast and their education has prepared them to adapt to changing environments and demands. Also, I urge them to be lifelong learners – to bring a spirit of inquiry to everything they do.
How do you plan to govern in a way that is inclusive, creative and equitable?
As a board member, much of my job is to listen actively to the needs, experiences and concerns of students, staff and families. For me, that means creating opportunities to be in conversation throughout the city – for example, I hosted coffee “office” hours throughout the city to make sure I am accessible and provide space for folks to bring their thoughts and concerns to me. I also know that, as a white professional man, I need to make sure I am in places and spaces with folks who I do not regularly see in my daily life to make sure I am learning from them about their experiences in SPPS. Finally, my guidepost is ensuring the district is acting equitably and addressing the needs of students who do not look like me or my children. We are all neighbors in this city – my future and my children’s future is intertwined with the future of all of our children in St. Paul.
What’s the last book you read?
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – it’s his autobiography of his early years in South Africa as a bi-racial man. I did a lot of anti-apartheid work in college during the 80’s and this reminded me of the personal impact of racism, power and hierarchy. It’s also a well-written and engaging read.
Name one previous teacher/ administrator who left a lasting impact on your life?
Mrs. Alcaly, my 6th grade teacher – I grew up in a working class white ethnic neighborhood in the borough of Queens in New York City. I didn’t know many professionals, beyond my teachers, and was the first in my family to go to college. Mrs. Alcaly lived in Manhattan in a world I knew existed, but could not access on my own. She believed in me, shared aspects of her life in class and made me see that I could aspire to live differently. Being in her class broadened my mind and world view.
Connect with Steve’s campaign online at https://www.steveforspps.com/.
Connect with Steve on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SteveMarcheseforSaintPaulSchools/.