by Ryan Collins
Nelson Yellowman has been serving on the school board since he was originally elected in 2006. Yellowman said that he is running for the same reason as when he ran for his first term twelve years ago during and interview with the San Juan Record.
“It’s a continuation of progress, improvement and once we make that improvement, I hope we continue to progress and get to a level we can be steady,” he said when asked why he is running for the board again. “Again my biggest concern was the performance of the schools in my respective areas, which are Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain. Now that the new redistricting has happened and I picked up the other schools, I continued to stay on that course of having those other schools improve and hopefully they will and stay where they need to be , or continue to improve.”
Yellowman gave Monument Valley as an example, saying that the district has come out of the old school grading system where the school was an F and now is at a C grading.
“Now that we are a C, that grading system goes away,” Yellowman said, adding that it makes him wonder what this new way of accountability for schools will be like, considering Monument Valley will now be switching over to the new system after improving enough to be considered for the new system of accountability.
When asked what he has learned from his time on the school board, Yellowman said it has been a continuation or perpetuation of progress. “For example, we have had a high rate of teacher turnovers, administrator turnovers and I’ve always thought and and wondered how do we deal with this so we can maintain to keep these teachers and administrators at these schools and continue to improve the schools,” Yellowman said, pointing out that it is not the teachers fault for the high turnover rates. “It gets to be repetitive. The concentration is taken away from focusing on instructing the students. For the teachers it takes their focus away from instructing them.”
Yellowman said the bottomline in his candidacy is the continuation of progress, getting the schools in his district out of the F grading system and getting them to where they need to be, or even better.
“That’s been my platform from the beginning,” he said. “To find these deficiencies and make improvements on them and sustain it somehow.”