Gloria Quintero: Providing a voice for Summit County minorities
Summit School District board candidate
- Occupation: Strengthening Families outreach program counselor with Summit County Youth and Family Services
- Hometown: born in Merida, Venezuela; moved to the USA in 1992 (speaks Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese)
- Family: husband and three children ages 19, 17 and 4
- Civic involvement: Youth Mental Health First Aid certified instructor, Child Passenger Safety Technician certified, Pyramid Plus certified, Head Start Policy Counsel member, Feria de Salud (9 Health Fair) founding committee member, Summit County Child Passenger Safety Coalition founder and Trust-Based Relational Intervention trained.
My name is Gloria Quintero, and I’m running for Summit School District’s Board of Education.
I have degrees in accounting and international business and a master’s degree in social and human sciences. I currently work with families at risk and/or in crises. Before that, I worked with Public Health and Early Intervention, which ensures that children ages birth to 3 with developmental delays get the help they require. I have seen firsthand the hard decisions that working families in Summit County have to make when their children with developmental delays turn 3 years old. While the public school system offers some therapy, those preschools have limited enrollment, high tuition fees and fill less than 28 hours of the child’s week. As a result, the majority of working parents opt for private preschools that aren’t compelled to monitor special needs. Children who receive therapy in private settings have to pay their therapists out of pocket. I’m a Summit County employee, and even my insurance will not cover these expenses — roughly $160 per week for the minimum suggested counseling. Often children’s special needs go unmet until kindergarten, two years later. It is a shame that something like dyslexia, which is already stressful for the family, would be enough to force residents out of Summit County. But more tragic would be not meeting the child’s needs. Failing to get adequate help during these crucial developmental years could put them at a life-long disadvantage.
The above example offers only a glimpse from the parent’s perspective.
Unmet social and emotional needs have repercussions for teachers, classmates, those classmates’ parents and schools’ administrations. The trickle-down effect of early detection and intervention leads to less class disruption, thus freeing teachers to spend less time disciplining and more time teaching.
Shoring up lapses in services will be a slow, gradual process, but the effects will be felt throughout the school district.
Our teachers also need Summit County living wages to let them focus on our students without worrying about secondary employment. All of the candidates I’ve spoken with have that belief in common. I was endorsed by the Summit County Education Association, not because I’m fighting for those teachers’ wages, but because I’m eyeing long-term strategies even they don’t know to ask for.
I urge voters to look not only at all 10 School Board candidates’ strengths, backgrounds and priorities but those of everyone already on the school board. No one else has the background to represent the groups I’ve made a career of helping. It’s important to bear in mind that the four candidates chosen Nov. 5 are not being tapped to overhaul some broken system. We’re being elected to work with the existing system, representing our ever-diversifying community’s interests. I don’t view the school board as a stepping stone to a career in politics, and I don’t like anything about campaigning. I’m running because it’s important that someone with my knowledge gets in a position to effect positive change.
Thank you for this opportunity.
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