Konk Life Candidate’s Questionnaire

Mindy Conn

Conducted by Mark Howell

Mindy Conn, 49, has filed for the District 3 school board seat.

She is currently a Take Stock in Children College Success Coach, serving Take Stock scholars and mentors at Horace O’Bryant Middle School, Big Pine Key Academy, Key West Montessori, Sugarloaf Middle School and Sigsbee Charter School as well as at Key West Collegiate Academy.

Originally from New York, Mindy has been living in the Keys since 2001, the wife of United States Army Colonel Abraham Conn and mother of Emily 16, and Josh 14. She herself graduated in 1989 with a B.A. in Speech Communications from George Washington University and in 1992 received a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.

Here are our 15 questions of the candidate and her responses:

Q. Explain for us your platform and why you are running for this seat on the school board.

A. I am running on the ABCs:

      Accountability: transparency and fiscal responsibility, improvement of the academic achievement rate and graduation rate, and decrease the dropout rate.

      Balance in Schools: Balance state-imposed standards with the playtime children need to expend energy and learn social skills.

      Create more pathways to success for students, both career- and college-bound.

      Community Partnerships: Collaboration on new programs and ideas that will benefit the students and the community at large.

Q. Detail how you and your platform differ from those of your competing candidates.

A. I am concerned with the entire community, to include teachers, parents, students and community members who contribute to our district but may not have family in the schools.

Q. Tell us more about your personal history – your work and family life – and how they relate to your ambitions as a school board member.

A. I was working as a lawyer for the New York State Attorney General when I met my husband, Abe. We married and made our way to the Keys in 2001. In 2005, my husband left for his 2nd tour in Afghanistan. Needless to say, at ages 3 and 6 my children needed me nearby. To help them deal with the separation of his deployment I began to spend much of my time at their school. I volunteered in their classrooms and in whatever way was necessary. Thankfully, my husband returned from being deployed, which allowed me to spend even more of my time volunteering; therefore, I became that much more involved in the school system. I began substitute teaching, joined the School Advisory Committee and later became the Chair. I joined the District Advisory Committee, which led to my being asked to participate with the Strategic Planning Committee. The more involved I became, the better I was able to see the incredible things our schools and teachers were accomplishing as well as some things that required change. As a result, I decided to run for School Board to facilitate the changes necessary.

Q. Touch on your personal passions in addition to the above.

A. My passion is children and their health, wellbeing and education. Election to the School Board will enhance my ability to positively affect the lives of children.

Q. Describe where, or how, in your view, we might be going in the wrong direction in the school district or in the Keys as a whole.

A. I believe our schools need a clearer focus on career education/preparation and I have new ideas on how this may be accomplished.

Q. Tell us the political flash points you expect to encounter if elected.

A. Finances, salaries, teacher turnover and technology will always be “flash points” in our school district.

Q. Tell us anything you feel you need to explain or any misapprehension you believe voters may have of you.

A. I hope voters have been hearing my message and understand that I not only have the education and experience necessary to be their choice for School Board, District 3 but also I will bring to the School Board knowledge that differs from any other candidate, one from within our schools, as a parent, teacher and College Success Coach.

Q. Give us your view on the partisan divisiveness in politics today and any solutions to it you might have.

A. Right now I am concerned with the divisiveness of the School Board. I know I can be a solution to bring the School Board together and make good decisions for students, teachers and taxpayers. I appreciate that School Board members run with no party affiliation. Partisan politics have no place on our School Board.

Q. Name your favorite movie.

A. “Mary Poppins”

Q. Your favorite TV show.

A. “NCIS.”

Q. Your favorite TV talking head.

A. Tom Brokaw.

Q. Your favorite newspaper columnist.

A. Gail Collins.

Q. Your favorite book.

A. “The Immigrants” by Howard Fast.

Q. Your favorite character in American history.

A. Thomas Jefferson.

Q. Your favorite person in the history of the Florida Keys.

A. Mr. Ed Knight, although he is as much a part of our present as he is our history.

Q. Your favorite quote or proverb.

A. “When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” – Unknown

Q. Any secret strength you’d like to reveal    about yourself at this point?

A. My greatest strength is my strength of character. I am real and I am honest and I will always do my best.