Thompkins believes he’s particularly qualified to join the board as a former member of national, state and local boards including the U.S. Soccer Federation Board, the Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association and the board for 21st Century Preparatory School in Racine.
He believes the biggest challenge facing Racine Unified is returning to normality following the pandemic and understanding learning gaps created by it and how to fix them. Thompkins added that he has a more inside perspective than current board members of how the racial unrest last summer, after the death of George Floyd and then the shooting of Blake, impacted local kids, especially young Black boys.
“I have a different understanding, as an African American male, on what that means for students of color,” Thompkins said.
Contreras also has different understanding of the large Latinx community in her district than current or past board members, she said.
“Representation matters,” Contreras said. “It matters in schools and it matters on the board. The board is not representative of what the community looks like. I speak the language and am able to communicate and represent them fully.”
She would like to see more teachers in the schools who look like the students they’re serving and hope the district will work to deal with the opportunity gap for students of color, which leads to achievement gaps. If appointed, Contreras said she will be making history as the first Latina to represent District 3.