On May 15, Lakeland voters will vote on a and .
Below is a brief bio of Robert Rodriguez and his replies to a set of questions sent to all of the Lakeland candidates.
Robert Rodriguez, who lives in Mohegan Lake, is running for a seat on the school board. He has had two children who attended the schools within district and another child who will begin in September. He is a member of the American Association of School Administrators, American Society for Curriculum Development, American Association of School Personnel Administrators.
Patch: What's your greatest concern as a resident in the Lakeland School District?
- Differentiation of Instruction for all students.
- Fiscal responsibility without overburdening the taxpayer and reducing instructional programs and staying within the State Tax Levy Cap.
- Ongoing professional development for all staff.
Patch: Why are you running for a seat on the board? Why should people vote for you?
Robert Rodriguez: I have been a Lakeland School District and Yorktown resident for 8 years and within that time, I’ve enjoyed and appreciated all that the community and school district has had to offer. I therefore want to invest more of my time and skills into maintaining and improving the work of the Lakeland school district for all of its children. The Lakeland School district has seen an increase of a more diverse population over the past few years and I believe any school Board should reflect the population that it serves as well. While the Anglo population accounts for 75 percent of the district, Hispanics account for 13 percent of the population and are projected to be the fastest growing group increasing by 25.4 percent between 2012 and 2017.
Patch: What experience – either personal or professional – do you have that makes you a strong candidate to serve on the Lakeland Board of Education?
Robert Rodriguez: I am an Assistant Superintendent for another school district and have first-hand knowledge of how districts operate. Aside from my educational background, I have over 15 years of grass-roots work with youth which provided me with the privilege of working alongside their families and school districts to help foster and create a love of learning. I understand the everyday challenges families face today in educating their children and recognize the significance and value of true partnerships between families and their local schools. It is my hope to invest all of my past and present experiences into my home community for the continued benefit of my family and fellow community members.
Patch: What issues facing the district do you feel most strongly about?
Robert Rodriguez: I would need to assess what initiatives are currently in place as well as understand the needs of the district in all areas such as, instruction and operations. My recommendations would be based on this in concert with conversations among the Superintendent and the school board.
Patch: How do you think the recently mandated 2-percent tax cap will impact the future of education?
Robert Rodriguez: It will be challenging for school districts to continue to provide a sound research based educational program for all students.
Patch: Is there anything we haven't asked you about that you would like the public to know about you or your candidacy?
Robert Rodriguez: I believe that the district has made efforts to move towards having a more differentiated approach to educating our children. However, we must also lend attention to more avidly assessing our students early on in the academic year and having a clear understanding of what their learning needs are. We need to immerse our teachers in ongoing professional development throughout the year and provide them with the resources to be able to plan and drive their instruction aligned with the needs of all our children. High performing children need to be enriched and challenged and struggling students need to be identified early on and given the scaffolding they need to be successful. This doesn’t happen without teachers truly understanding what data driven instruction is and it certainly doesn’t happen by solely focusing on the state examinations.
Children learn in a variety of ways and our classrooms need to speak to that end. Project based learning needs to happen, classroom libraries need to be rich in genre and choice, students need to be immersed in authentic writing tasks that inspire them to see the power of the written word. These are just a few of my concerns but with that said, the Lakeland School District under the leadership of the Superintendent Dr. Stone has made significant strides in making sound fiscal decisions, a much improved infrastructure and clear goals and expectations for the future of Lakeland Schools.
Click on each hyperlinked name to read the Q&A with the other three candidates: , and .