With Tillie Elvrum
Why is school choice important to you?
School choice is important to me because I’ve seen what having educational options meant to my son. My son attended an online public school from 3rd through 12th grade and the flexibility of the online model allowed him to work at his own pace and really master concepts that were difficult for him. The flexibility also allowed him to dig deeper into subjects that he was really passionate about, which kept him excited about learning. My son was a non-traditional learner and school choice allowed him to learn in the setting that fit him best.
Why did you become involved with PSO?
My son attended online public schools in three different states — and in each state the option faced considerable threats that would’ve resulted in the schools losing considerable funding or closing altogether. I knew that I had to do something as a parent to advocate for my son and the schools that were the key to his academic success — PSO was doing important work and I knew they were making a difference for kids.
Why should parents become advocates for their children’s education?
Parents are natural advocates for their children and especially their children’s education. No one knows a child better than their parents, and their input is so important to the educational process. Engaged parents can make such a difference in their children’s educational outcomes.
What is your favorite advocacy story?
I have heard so many great advocacy stories over the years — it’s impossible to choose just one, but I’m always overwhelmed by emotion when I hear stories about students who had been written off by their traditional school, and through school choice found a way back to their love of learning and in turn found academic success. So many times school choice means a second chance for students and we should never forget that as advocates.
How has access to school choice impacted your family?
Access to public school options meant so much to our family. As parents we were able to be a part of our son’s day-to-day learning. We never had to wonder how he was doing in a class and we had more quality communication with his teachers. School choice also meant more quality time for our family — because we were an online family we could travel to the places my son was studying in history and other subjects, and school could happen anywhere we had a WiFi connection.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment? My children, Megan and J.D. — they work hard, they have big hearts and a lot of passion. Each is unique and working to make their dreams come true — even when they face challenges.
Tell us about your family.
My husband retired from the Air Force in 2001 and currently works for a Fortune 500 company. He’s the rock of our family. We have two children, Megan and J.D. Megan is a Penn State University grad. She lives in Los Angeles. J.D. graduated from Colorado Connections Academy in May 2015 and he is currently a student at Pikes Peak Community College. And we are the proud parents to a 100 pound Labrador Retriever, Max.
If you were a condiment, what would it be and why?
Salsa — because of my “spicy” attitude and Latina roots!
Winter, spring, summer, or fall?
Aisle or window seat?
Aisle for long flights, window for short flights.
If we went into your Top 25 Most Played List, what would the top 3 be?
Is There a Ghost by Band of Horses, Morocco by Moon Taxi, and Maway by Dan Croll
Bonus: what is your favorite board game?