Vote November 3, 2020
Board Of Education
A bridge to our kids’ future
I am a problem solver, a dedicated community member, and most importantly, a parent of three wonderful children who have had the opportunity to grow up in Nevada County. While I prepare to become a grandmother, my youngest is a junior making his way through our county’s public schools. In addition to my work on the Nevada County Relief Fund and as the Executive Director of Californians for the Arts, I have decided to run for Nevada County Board of Education because I believe education is the starting point for building an innovative, compassionate, and community-oriented society. As Trustee on the County Board, I plan to emphasize the importance of educational equity, physical safety, and mental wellness as we collectively navigate through this unfamiliar territory. I am confident that through effective leadership, we can find the proper path forward to ensure none of our children slip through the seams. I know I will be a valuable asset to this board as I bring decades of board leadership, nonprofit and business experience, a wide array of community connections, and legislative advocacy skills. I, Julie Baker, respectfully request your vote for Nevada County Board of Education Trustee Area 3 this November 3rd.
Photo Credit: Kim Sayre
I began my career as an advertising executive in New York City. Twenty two years ago I moved to Nevada County with my husband, Richard whose family has been here for six generations. I have focused my community contributions to the arts and nonprofit sector including opening Julie Baker Fine Art, a contemporary art gallery and running The Center for the Arts and California Worldfest as Executive Director from 2009-2017. In 2018, I became the Executive Director of Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates. I currently serve on the board of CHIRP and was elected to the Nevada Union High School site council in 2019. I have served on many boards including the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation and The Friendship Club and various committees for the Economic Resource Council and Grass Valley Downtown Association. Since COVID, I have been a member of the six person Community Advisory Council for the Nevada County Relief Fund. I am the recipient of the first annual Peggy Levine Arts & Community service award. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California at Santa Cruz. Photo Credit: Alan Sheckter.
I’ve learned a lot in 20 years. Games of kickball under the ivy wall at the old Nevada City Elementary taught me about the importance of communication. At Deer Creek Elementary, I learned about mathematics, social studies, and the scientific method. When I moved to Grass Valley Charter School, I spent a lot of time learning outside, all while being trained in the art of self-reflection. My final years attending school in Nevada County were spent at Nevada Union High School, where I learned more about the world and myself than I could ever imagine. Now that I am a rising Junior at Columbia University in New York City, I am grateful for every public school teacher and administrator who fought for me along the way. I chose to work for Julie Baker because she is a qualified leader as well as an empathetic mother. Julie has been an active community member since I was a child myself. Her dedication to the students of my community is unquestioned in my mind and I believe she would be an excellent trustee member on the Nevada County Board of Education.
We can build a community of empowered and hopeful young people by offering an education which recognizes the demands of modern society. We must ensure all of our students have a background in innovation and technology to prepare for the 21st century workforce while also recognizing the inherent diversity of interests and aspirations within our student body. Through budget oversight and resource allocation, the board has an opportunity to support our graduates’ careers by prioritizing vocational programs, expanding career technical education, and improving access to arts education.
It is essential that the county prioritizes programs which seek to benefit our most vulnerable students. We must fight to fully support foster children, those who are currently or previously incarcerated, experiencing homelessness, socio-economically disadvantaged, and otherwise marginalized. A strong and reliable education system must serve these students and provide ample pathways and opportunities for success. Every student deserves the right to a quality education and as a Board Trustee I will fight to provide equal opportunities for all students.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our students’ educational experiences are increasingly reliant on access to the internet. This is about educational equity; how we respond to the problem of inadequate rural broadband access will impact thousands of Nevada County students. We must work to optimize our students’ educational experience within current health limitations. In addition, we must maintain a forward view and plan for our students and teachers to re-enter the classroom safely. I will fight to access the technology and infrastructure resources needed to implement a quality and professional educational experience for all while maintaining health and safety standards as mandated by public health agencies.
The County Board of Education is most effective when board members leave aside their personal agendas and choose to work as a team focused on elevating student achievement, safety, and wellness. Amidst the pandemic and natural disasters, the key role of the County Board must be to prioritize support, training, and professional development for our teachers. We owe our children and their teachers an efficient and competent board with a clear set of community-oriented values. As a board member, I will draw on my experience as a community leader, business woman, collaborator, and problem solver to maximize the effectiveness of this board.
The health of our students and teachers must be our number one priority. I am in support of science-based decision making to guide our curricular and administrative student health initiatives. While physical health and safety measures are a must in the midst of a pandemic, the mental wellness of our children is of similar importance. Now, more than ever, is the time to heavily invest in our community’s emotional wellness through the expansion of mental health services for our students and staff.
The Nevada County Board of Education plays an important role in managing the budget for each district alongside the County Superintendent. We must pursue a board dedicated to accountability and the efficient allocation of resources. It is essential that decisions reached are guided by input from the community in planning documents and feedback forums surrounding our districts’ Local Control Accountability Plans. Full accountability is only possible with effective oversight. I am confident my business experience will be an asset to the board’s role in accountability and budget oversight.
In the face of ongoing state education budget cuts, it is increasingly important that our whole community supports the education of our children. As Nevada County is a state recognized California Cultural District, we must look to incorporate the most powerful elements of our unique community into our education system, including a respect and recognition of the indigenous people of Nevada County, the Nisenan. From outdoor education to career technical services, I will bring my diverse set of connections to enhance our students’ potential pathways to success through community collaboration.
I am dedicated to enacting measures to support our teachers and students to create environments of cultural humility in our schools by listening to students, parents, community members, and activists in our pursuit of an educational system defined by cultural diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism.
County education offices are intermediate units between state policy and local district needs. As my job is a professional advocate working on state policy for the arts, I will bring my experience and expertise on policy development and state budgets to my role as a board trustee. I will help the board to navigate and advocate for legislation and resources that will benefit our rural community in pursuit of a quality education for all students in our county.
Small Actions + Lots of People = Big Change
“I am confident that she will represent the interests of students, educators and the public in general, with dedication, knowledge, creativity and an open and unbiased approach to all of the varied concerens and issues put before the County Board of Education. I can think of no better professional, community member and mother to represent her constituents.”