Katherine Harper is hoping to represent Trustee Area 2 on the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD) board in the coming term. With years of experience as a substitute teacher in California schools, and firsthand involvement with the district as a mom of two young sons, Harper is eager for the chance to represent her community in this position. At the top of her priority list is ensuring the children are receiving the help they need throughout their education. After obtaining a high-quality education herself, both from home and in Washington state public schools, Harper believes it is critical that every child receives the same.
“My campaign slogan is ‘Putting Our Kids First’ and I think that encapsulates it. I think every decision needs to be made with our children’s needs as the number one priority. If elected, I would be evaluating every decision or proposal through that lens,” Harper said. “I will advocate for any policies that support a high quality education for kids and remove barriers to learning. A quality education is the right of every child.”
The other candidates running to replace Trustee Tom Silva, who is vacating his seat in a run for Galt City Council, are former Galt Mayor Lori Heuer and engineering manager Richard Estrada.
Harper was particularly frustrated throughout the duration of COVID-19 school closures. One of her sons, particularly, struggled throughout distance learning, giving her a personal stake in this issue.
In addition to her experience as a substitute teacher, a school administrator, and volunteering with foster children, Harper has also worked at a nonprofit for the past six years. She said this has allowed her a more detailed view of the impacts COVID has had on the community in addition to her own family.
“I work for a non-profit organization that serves at-risk youth and families and I have continued to watch the fallout from lockdowns hurt our most vulnerable. In-person school is a grounding force in so many kids’ lives and essential to their health and well being, as well as being critical to a quality education,” she said of school shutdowns. “I am seizing this opportunity to run because I care deeply about kids. Public education is a valuable privilege to be protected.”
Around the time of the initial lockdowns, she began speaking up during public comment periods in school board meetings, learning the importance of parent involvement.
“I would like to hear from parents about their concerns and ideas,” Harper said. “I have a solid ability to evaluate both sides of an issue, and I’m also interested in gathering as much information as possible before making a decision.”
Harper grew up in Washington state and moved to Galt with her husband, Robert, in 2009. She has a college music degree and has served as a substitute music teacher in Stockton. Robert has taught chemistry at Lincoln High School for the past 14 years. Together, they have two sons, ages seven and 10, who both attend Vernon E. Greer Elementary School. They all love living in Galt and appreciate the experience they’ve had with the district and extra curriculars.
“I believe that local government only works when the citizens are involved. I believe it’s the job of adults to safeguard our most precious resource, our children, even if that means sacrificing.”