Kanesha “KaCey” Venning is in the runoff for Atlanta Board of Education District 7 at large.
Candidate website: www.electkacey.com
How are you the better candidate for improving achievement gaps for students in the district?
My experience working with students in a classroom setting with deliverables and outcomes attached to my professional performance has been the biggest factor in my edge as a candidate. Those opportunities afforded me first hand knowledge in what a student needed in terms of academic supports to move from demonstrating below proficiency to grade level or above. Additionally, my experience in helping to facilitate dedicated family and community support to meet needs that made it more challenging for students to excel has aided in my ability to bring that knowledge to the table. I have worked for over 2 decades with the very students and families that continue to trend at the bottom of demonstrated proficiency.
Why are you the better choice to address the pandemic learning gap?
I supported and mentored 20 students during the pandemic. Many whole were struggling academically before the pandemic, the global health crisis compounded it for many of our APS students across the District. Most of our students and families in APS didn’t have the luxury of quarantining or being able to have the benefit of quality family time or utilize the time to travel or build businesses and skills like other families. I was one of many working to support students who had to continue facing life. This pandemic impacted a grand majority of our students’ mental and emotional health. ALL of our students suffered and experienced having to readjust and in many instances relearn how to engage in learning. These are factors we have to consider and infuse that into our decision making as we not just close the pandemic gap but the overall achievement gap as well.
How are you the better candidate for improving transparency in APS communications and policy-making with families?
In various roles I have served as the recipient of information from APS. Whether it be as a nonprofit leader, a vendor, a representative of a partner, and most importantly as a caregiver of a student, I have faced many frustrating points with getting timely and thorough information. Many of my positions have given me the chance to hone communication skills and transparency through systems and technology for major projects at Fortune 500 companies. And as someone responsible for leading an organization, I utilize those skills daily to get information to stakeholders promptly and with a level of transparency, that when they don’t agree with the information shared, they have a full understanding of why and it allows us to move forward more efficiently. I am confident our District could benefit from my both of my experiences. Especially, because I always keep our students and families, along with staff in mind.
Why are you the better candidate for this office, period?
For over 20 years I have been intentional about working across all clusters in our city and deliberate about ensuring I stayed connected to the families most impacted by policy changes and implementations amidst navigating the circumstances of a changing community. I have served in classrooms and provided both academic and student support services while helping to influence decisions for and with families. I did and continue to do this work as an AmeriCorps Alum, Schools Program Manager at Hands On Atlanta, Community Engagement Specialist with Families First and the Executive Director of Helping Empower Youth. The most important quality is that I have helped families navigate their student’s experience. I have served and worked with a diverse group of families and students consistently. Thinking of their needs first, as we work to move APS forward is critical.