Sheri Kelly was appointed as the newest Arlington School Board member on Sept. 14.
Former board member Jim Weiss had to move because of his job and therefore resigned from the seat.
Last year, Kelly ran for the school board against incumbent Jim Weiss and lost. When Weiss moved out of the district Kelly applied for the position and was appointed to the seat.
Kelly is the mother of three children who attended the Arlington School District and graduated through the ORCA/Running Start program.
She has spent six years on the Advisory Council for Education with the school district.
"Which is almost a subordinate of the school board," said Kelly.
"They are community members who help give guidance to things the school board is voting on," she said.
Looking at enrollment, policies and other issues at the district gave her experience with the various decision-making going on in local schools, she said.
"That really led me to see a broader scope of what was going on with the district," said Kelly.
Kelly has also been a member of the Arlington High School Booster Club, which helps with funding clubs and programs for students.
Her experience there helped her see how extracurricular activities in the district work, she said.
In the immediate future the biggest challenge for the district is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
"Really, right now it's about keeping open with our communications," and keeping parents informed.
Kelly said safety is a big priority right now.
"Our goal is the same, which is to bring students back to school, but we have to do that safely," she said. "We're all in the same boat and we're following the guidance of medical professionals."
The district is providing Chromebooks to students and hopes to get internet hotspots available to all those who need better access.
"From a technology standpoint we have a lot to do," she said.
Next year's budget is something the school board will also have to work through.
"Certainly, enrollment may be an issue," with some parents choosing to home school their kids this year due to safety or curriculum concerns, said Kelly, which would mean reduced funding.
Secondly "the tax funds we receive from the state may change," as the state legislature deals with declining tax revenue, she said.
In terms of the district overall, Kelly said she hopes to promote 'equity.'
"You want to be the voice for people who can't get their voice out as much," she said.
Whether that be English language learners, those with special needs, or other groups, Kelly said she hopes to promote policies that support all students.
She also hopes to make sure the district's "highly capable" students have a variety of quality programs available to them.
"With some of those programs that are offered in more urban environments, I hope we can do something to bring some of those experiences north to Arlington," she said.
Kelly said she looks forward to being a part of the district's leadership.
"I'm excited to join the team here," she said. "I've done so much on the periphery for the school district that I look forward to being a more active participant."