BOARD MEMBER PROFILE: Elisa Snelling, Anchorage School District
How did you come to be in Alaska?
I was born and raised here in Anchorage, attended all ASD schools, and am now raising my family here.
How long have you lived in your community?
I have been in Eagle River since 2004, however I have been a life long resident of the broader Anchorage community my entire life.
What is your career background and current job?
I am an accountant. I love numbers! I currently work at Mat-Su Resort, LLC on Wasilla Lake. I have been here since April and I really enjoy the people I work with. Prior to this job I was the Accounting Manager for Brews Brothers, LLC. Being on the School Board has been a fantastic use of my number skills!
Describe a teacher or school staff member who had an influence on you.
The teacher that had the most influence on me was my high school band teacher. He didn’t just increase my music skills, he helped instill a better confidence in myself while constantly challenging my inner drive to improve. He taught me that I could do anything I set my heart and mind to. And still today, he is right.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I can play the entire woodwind section! Going to elementary school concerts still give me goose bumps to see all of the budding little musicians.
Why did you run for the school board?
I ran for the school board for several reasons. First, I wanted to give back to the community that raised me in a meaningful way. What better way than to be an active part of the education process of our future generations? I also wanted to see more school choice within neighborhood schools, because not all kids learn the same.
What special strengths do you bring to the board?
I have an excellent accounting back ground that has assisted my information intake. I am able to understand a complex budget, interpret test scores, and look into future numbers with confidence that I might not otherwise have with a different background.
I am the mother of three school age children. Three kids at three different schools. I have a SPED child, a gifted child, and a textbook normal child. I have an ability to relate to all levels of child needs and development relative to education. I can easily fight for all kids having a great education.
What goals do you hope to achieve during your term?
I want to see better financial documents and accounting practices. I would also like to see more choice with in our schools. I also want to be on a board that has mastered governance vs management.
How have you helped to improve education in your district?
I have had the opportunity to work with a couple of great boards and two superintendents. The biggest vote I have made was our district leadership. That one vote has had so many ripples down the line in some amazing ways for our students. I have taken classes and conferences and used the information to be a better informed voting member, as well as sharing the things I have learned with fellow board members.
What’s the hardest thing about being a board member?
One of the hardest things is the budget. Every year difficult choices have to be made and they all affect people, be it children or adults. The decisions are not made lightly or without research. It has to be done, and while it creates opportunity for innovative ideas to be explored, it is still a challenge.
What’s the best thing about being a board member?
Besides the opportunity to serve my community, one of my favorite things about being a board member is the example I am setting for my children. When they see mommy working hard for education it makes them want to be better little citizens.
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