Karen Rose, candidate for District 2 of the Sarasota County School Board, has previously served as a special education teacher, principal and executive director.
She intends to use her experience from those roles to have a positive impact on the school board.
Rose, 68, is from Warren, Ohio. Sarasota has been one of her favorite vacation destinations, so she decided to make it her home in 1985.
Rose, who has one son, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education. She retired in 2018 from Sarasota County Public Schools.
The Sun spoke with Rose about her previous election, hopes for the district, and her stance on issues.
You ran in the past. Why did you want to run again?
My calling in life has been to serve my community. Although I lost my first attempt at elected office by less than 1% of the vote, I gained invaluable experience in running for office. I have always modeled productive failure for my students. Lessons learned are the building blocks for success.
Board member Eric Robinson contributed to your first campaign, and you use his accounting firm now. Can you explain your relationship?
I have tremendous respect for Mr. Robinson in his role as a school board member and as a CPA in the community. Eric Robinson is the treasurer of my campaign as well as several other local campaigns.
What issues in the district are important to you?
Fiscal transparency and accountability. Recruit and retain great teachers. Assure every student can read at grade level. Graduate every student college-ready, and/or career-and-trades-ready to work. Include students, parents, staff, and the community in policy decision-making.
What would you like to see implemented or incorporated into the district?
A certified teacher in every classroom. Additional programs/course options specifically designed for students to graduate ready to work in a career or in the trades. An initiative to improve the performance of special-education students, low-income students, and underrepresented students that is monitored for success and adjusted accordingly. Expand school choice options “within” traditional Sarasota County Public Schools and provide transportation. Adequate mental health initiatives.
What is your position about the school tax referendum?
I support the school tax referendum. Increase transparency and accountability. Move the referendum vote to the general election to save money and increase voter input after the pandemic challenges have passed.
My vote on impact fees will be based on forthcoming data and need. The school district produces a study with all relevant data in a Long-Range Growth Plan every five years. The next study is due sometime this year and will be available to the public prior to a vote.
How do you believe the board could better work together?
School board members are accountable for setting the tone that ultimately impacts children in our classrooms. Make every decision about children with accountability to the people. Honor healthy deliberation, respectful discourse, and hold yourself accountable.
Do you believe Sarasota County residents trust the school board? If not, why and what can be done to regain that trust?
With all the recent challenges that have been well documented by local media, trust is an issue. I believe that the school board wants to work with this community. I am confident that the focus will transition to the long-standing record of excellence in our schools.
What have we learned in the past few months about how to best educate students?
The power of relationships when it comes to change, instruction, and learning. Sarasota County teachers, staff, and families can adjust to any challenge, quickly change the face of instruction and learning, and do it well. Flexibility and working together are key.
Where do you think the school district should be in five years?
Certified teachers in every classroom. Every student can read at grade level. Every high school graduate is ready for college and/or ready to work in a career or the trades. Successful mental health initiatives.
What have you done in your life that would help you be a good school board member?
I have a proven record as a leader of A+ Schools, led middle schools to their highest Florida Assessment results and Florida School Grades, developed the North County Full Time Gifted Magnet Program, recognized by Florida Department of Education for Exceptional Student Education math performance, leader in science/technology/engineering/and math education, transformed Sarasota Middle School classrooms into student centered rooms for teamwork/problem solving/and engagement in State of the Art Technology, initiated the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program in Sarasota, developed a College and Career Program in every Sarasota County Middle School.
Anything else you would like to add?
I am very proud to be endorsed by Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association, Republican Party of Sarasota County, State Sen. Joe Gruters, School Board Members Bridget Ziegler and Eric Robinson, Sarasota County Commissioner Al Maio, Chairman of Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Paul Caragiulo, and Venice City Councilman Joe Neunder.