Penichet emphasizes parenting, business skills
Heather Penichet is one of three candidates for the Clark County Board of Education’s 2nd District seat being vacated by Scott Hisle. She is a Realtor, manager and trainer for RE/MAX.
W.S.: Tell the readers a few basics about yourself.
H.P.: Born and raised in Clark County, I am 45 and a 1993 George Rogers Clark graduate. Pete and I have been married 25 years and have three sons. As the director of career development at RE/MAX Creative Realty, I train and mentor Realtors and assist in running day-to-day operations for our three franchises. After many years as a stay-at-home mom, I earned my real estate license in 2012.
W.S.: What makes you particularly well-qualified to serve on the Board of Education?
H.P.: My skill set is primarily based around my ability to work well with different personalities, project management, exceptional problem-solving skills and being able to see opportunities for creative thinking. I never complain without offering a solution. A positive attitude, desire to do better and accountability are part of what I bring to everything I commit to. The ability to represent my district’s desires over my own will make me a true asset.
W.S.: Why do you think you’re the best candidate for the seat?
H.P.: As a parent in Clark County Public Schools, I have seen our strengths and weaknesses. I learned many life lessons from having a GRC senior during COVID-19. I have also experienced having a student athlete with dyslexia and a son that took advantage of every opportunity through the Area Technology Center and the welding program. My perspective as a parent of multiple students with different needs and goals allows me to better understand the challenges we face.
W.S.: What are your thoughts on students returning to in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic? When should that happen, and what should be done to make them as safe as possible?
H.P.: I am in favor of students and staff returning to in-person sessions as quickly and safely as possible. It is my understanding we have been provided the necessary tools from KDE to move forward, and it should be everyone’s goal to have students in the classroom sooner rather than later. Any parent or teacher at high risk or concerned about returning should be given an opportunity to remain virtual.
W.S.: At a recent meeting, it was announced that the school budget for the current fiscal year is not balanced, in part because it was based on a tax rate that would have brought in 4 percent more revenue than the year before, but the board kept the tax rate the same as last year’s. As a result, severe budget cuts may be necessary. What should be cut to balance the budget, and should the board take the maximum tax rate next fiscal year?
H.P. I am not comfortable speaking about specific departments that should have budget cuts at this time. Those decisions will need to be made in real time, on a case-by-case basis and need. I would be looking at non-essential items to be cut first. I would not be in favor of cutting faculty or necessities for students. Tax increases should be decided upon each year based on need and circumstances.
W.S. What are your first and second priorities the school board should address this year?
H.P.: My first priority for our school board is to evaluate the current status of our student body and identify who is struggling and falling behind. They should then develop a plan to get them back on track immediately. We have an entire generation that has lost valuable educational time. We should all be committed to making up that lost time. My second priority is to get the students back to in-person classes.
W.S.: Why is public education important to you?
H.P. The best education should never be a privilege. It is essential for our youth, community and the world. Providing the best public education possible will ensure a brighter future and allow each generation to be more successful and productive. We owe it to our community to provide an exceptional education with every advantage and opportunity available, regardless of economic status and circumstances.