- Gig Harbor Living Local
Putting Our Children First
Vote Juanita Beard for PSD Board, Pos. 5, by November 2nd
By Jillian Chandler
“It’s time to level up and to help the Peninsula School District soar to new heights of success.” By day, Juanita Beard is the mother of two young children in the PSD, the wife of a district CDL driver, a mental health therapist and a small business owner. She is passionate about her family, her profession and her community—especially the children within that community.
“I enjoy many things about being a part of the local community and its education system,” shares Juanita. “As a working mother and a small business owner, I am deeply invested in serving my community.”
It was the outstanding reputation that the Peninsula School District holds for public education that drew Juanita and her family to Gig Harbor. “My husband and I chose the Peninsula School District to offer the best education to our kids,” she says. “Putting kids first is my second nature. I want to ensure that we’re doing the same at the board level, so all of our kids have access to the same high-quality education across the district.”
Juanita is a woman of action, and in order to ensure that the PSD is doing all it can to provide the best for its students, their families and the community, she is running for the PSD Board, Pos. 5. “My motivation to run for the school board came from a desire to represent what our community is—diverse, ever-growing, highly educated and compassionate. My family is deeply involved in our community. My husband is a CDL driver and Marine Corps veteran, and I respect hard work.”
According to Juanita, she sees the top three challenges facing the PSD, and the board’s role in addressing them, as follows:
1) Mental Health: Fellow parents are struggling to balance increased workloads and their normal commitments due to the pandemic, and our kids are still grappling with the emotional effects of isolation. The board's role is to coordinate efforts to secure grants and funding to provide the critical mental health resources that the district currently lacks.
2) Addressing Safety, Bullying and Harassment: Marginalized students feel that their voices are ignored and that they do not belong. Juanita is aware of recent news articles that have detailed several incidents occurring in our local schools and recognizes that these incidents have made students, and their parents, afraid for their safety if they attend school. It will be part of her 100-day plan to address these concerns, and to make sure that students are heard, that staff have the tools and resources they need to intervene, and that parents can rest assured that their children are in good hands.
3) The School Board Itself: Juanita sees a need for the school board to have continued involvement from parents whose children are in the district. She believes that the board does not currently reflect the diversity within our community—she’s here to change that.
She also aims to ensure that the voices of the students in the district are present at the school board meetings, especially during their decision-making processes. Juanita will work with the Superintendent of the Peninsula School District to ensure that the PSD’s Student Advisory Council is implemented, and up and running, early into 2022.
Juanita is proud to live in Gig Harbor and to be a part of the Peninsula School District. She is deeply invested, personally and professionally, in serving this community and its children. “It’s time to even the playing field. This includes recognizing our students that are part of marginalized populations and ensuring that they feel safe, healthy, happy and heard within our schools. We need to foster a flourishing learning environment for all students.”
If you, like Juanita, believe in putting our children first, you can rest assured that a vote for her will make your voice, and the voices of our children, heard on the PSD Board. She will lead with truthfulness, compassion, integrity and transparency. Juanita aims to bring a fresh perspective to the board and encourages the community to visit her website (JuanitaBeard.com) to view her priorities for the PSD and her community supporters, including elected officials, organizations and your friends and neighbors.
“In my professional life, it’s important to be able to have difficult conversations about pressing issues, with the intent of creating collaborative solutions that work for everyone. I feel that this experience will translate well into my role as a PSD board member,” states Juanita. “I will conduct a thorough listening tour with constituents across the district, in and out of our schools, because I know that the most important, powerful advocacy begins when we take the time to understand where people are at. From there, we can begin the hard work that is necessary to address their concerns and to navigate through the obstacles that stand in their way together, toward a better, brighter future.”
Every vote really does count, and participating in our local elections is more important now than it ever has been before. Decisions that will have profound impacts on our everyday lives, at a local level, are being decided by just one vote. “These off-year elections tend to draw less voters, but the decisions made in these local elections impact your day-to-day lives — the lives of your neighbors, families and, most importantly, children,” reminds Juanita.
On November 2nd, remember to get out and vote for the candidate that will ensure the brightest future for our children — vote Juanita Beard for the Peninsula School District Board, Pos. 5!