Ann Fields is a lifelong educator who is seeking a seat on the Knoxville Board of Education.
Fields, who holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy, has lived in Knoxville the past 15 years. She was the first female president of William Penn University, then hired as a Business professor who taught another four years at the school. She retired in 2018, when she chose to run for the Iowa House of Representatives.
Fields has the experience, as well as two grandchildren who have attended Knoxville schools. She has been impressed by what the district is doing. With her experience and expertise, serving on the school board is another way for her to give back to the community.
“Educated people have a civic responsibility to make their community a better place,” Fields said.
The three biggest issues facing the district begin with facilities. A task force has come up with a proposal that includes construction of a new middle school and expansion of Northstar Elementary, should voters choose to support those projects.
At William Penn, Fields oversaw the construction of three buildings, worked with architects, interviewed designers and understands the process to get things built. With the need for facility improvements comes the need for greater funding, she added, and she has experience raising money. She would work hard to encourage people to support the $26 million bond referendum.
The second issue is technology. What do students need, what do teachers need, are top priorities in this category. She wants the district to utilize technology to make teachers’ jobs easier, as well as the administration’s. Her experience would loan itself to working with everyone to see how their jobs can be done better.
“I can ask the tough questions,” Fields said. She wants to understand the effects of decisions such as building new classrooms – what design would create the best working environment – when it comes to a property tax increase – how big of an impact would it be – and more.
Fields praised the district’s current efforts to provide mental health support – including engaging the community and having two counselors available. She said these are signs of an administration dedicated to improving the system as a whole. While there is a lot going for Knoxville schools currently, there is more that can be done.
She believes she is electable to the board because, if one is overseeing a car repair, it would be good to have knowledge of mechanics or the construction of the vehicle. The same can be said for a school board – knowledge of the manufacture of the educational product can be helpful.
“I’ve worked hard in the community the past 15 years,” Fields said. She has taken action to improve the community through services such as the Food Youth Initiative and summer lunch program – which have provided 8,700 free meals in 2019 to Knoxville students, as well as Melcher-Dallas, Lovilia and the Twin Cedars areas. She has been involved in Meals on Wheels, Salvation Army and the Marion County Democrats.
“When I see an issue, I don’t say, ‘that’s someone else’s issue’, I say that’s my issue,” she said.
More information is available on the Ann Fields for Knoxville School Board Facebook page.