Full Name: Victoria Bowers
What office are you seeking? Dixon school board
What is your political party? The position I am running for is a non partisan office.
What is your current age? 39
Occupation and Employer: Preschool teacher, Woodlawn Arts Academy. I also teach visual arts and culinary classes, camps, and workshops at Woodlawn.
What offices, if any, have you previously held? I have not previously held any elected office; however, I do currently serve on Dixon school board’s Community Engagement Committee.
City: I grew up in Brea, California. I moved to Illinois to attend college, and I’ve lived in Dixon since 2007.
Campaign Website: On Facebook: Victoria Bowers for Dixon School Board
Education: AA from Kishwaukee College
BA from Northern Illinois University
For my job as a preschool teacher, I am required to participate in ongoing education - I am currently working my way through children’s mental health courses through the Institute of Child Psychology
Community involvement: I currently serve on Dixon school board’s Community Engagement Committee. I also volunteer as a youth soccer coach for the Dixon Family YMCA.
Marital status/Immediate family: I have been married to Matt Bowers since 2008. Together, we have one son, who is a 3rd grader in DPS.
Why are you running for office?
I am the mother of a DPS student. His time in the DPS system hasn’t been long yet, but it has already made an incredible impression on his life, and mine. I want his experience to continue to be a positive and impactful one, and I want all children who go through DPS to have the same experience. I am also a longtime Dixon resident; I’ve lived here since 2007 with my husband, who is a lifelong Dixon resident and DPS alumnus. I didn’t grow up in Dixon, but in the 16 years I’ve lived here it’s become the hometown that I love; this community and its public schooling system is extremely important to me, and I want to do my part to contribute to both of those things in a meaningful way.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
As the mother of a public school student, and a product of the public school system myself, I understand how vitally important public schools are to their communities; coupled with a background in education, and as a current preschool teacher, I have firsthand knowledge of both the challenges faced and successes experienced by both teachers and students. I believe this gives me a unique insight that will be put to good use on the board and for the district.
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
I think the current curriculum being used is appropriate. However, one of my goals as a member of the board would be to work with teachers and district staff to regularly review curriculum and ensure that what is being used in classrooms is the most up to date and accurate material available.
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
Statistically, LGBTQ students are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. I want to work with building staff, students, and families to ensure that all students, and especially those who are most vulnerable, feel safe and supported at school.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
I don’t have enough insight into this particular topic to make an assessment - my job as a school board member would be to listen to the voices of those in our community who have more experience in this than I do and learn from them.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
We should, as a district, always be working toward making every student and staff member feel safe and seen and included.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
I don’t think any teacher in ANY district is paid adequately.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
Yes. I would like to see an increase in the minimum salary for new teachers; I believe doing this would attract quality teachers to our district. I would also support an increase to the salaries of current teachers in the district - we are fortunate to have incredible educators and we should be doing what we can to keep them in our district.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
The national average salary for school superintendents is $173,009. Given our geographic location and cost of living index, I think our superintendent’s salary is fair.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
I would not.
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
Yes. I think Mrs. Empen has been doing very well in her role as superintendent, especially in light of the challenges schools have faced in the last 3 years.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
DPS already has a sex education curriculum that our superintendent and current board have deemed age appropriate. I believe that decisions about what curriculum to adopt (or not) should be left to local boards.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
DPS followed health and safety guidelines issued by local agencies like KSB Hospital and Lee County Health Department. I think this was the right choice and it was made with the safety of our staff and students in mind.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
That change can be hard, scary, and personally disruptive - but when changes are made for the health and safety of the community as a whole, we can and should pull together to keep each other safe and healthy.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
It would depend on the rate of the increase and what the revenue would be used for specifically. If the increase did not provide any substantial benefit to students, teachers, or staff, I would not support it.
Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?
If it meant cutting programs that serve to benefit students and/or teachers, no.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Absolutely. Having worked as a judge in several elections, I understand the sheer amount of checks and balances that happen before, during, and after election day. I have no doubt that the final vote count will be accurate and fair.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
All citizens are entitled to openness and transparency from their elected officials.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Yes. It’s important and useful in holding elected officials accountable.