“We’re Going to Get Through It”: Q&A with Trustee Krista Weigand

Krista Weigand, the new trustee for area 6 of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District school board, became involved with the school district to voice the concerns of parents like herself. She wanted to offer the best educational opportunities possible for our community’s children. After her election in November, she is pushing for in-person instruction and a quick, safe return to life as usual. Weigand spoke with the Beacon‘s Lily Anderson to discuss her recent appointment to the position and her plans for the future of NMUSD. 

LA: What made you want to become a trustee?

KW: My kids are kindergarteners at Mariners, and I’ve always wanted to be really involved with their education. I had some ideas and plans that I thought would be really effective at making the district run smoothly, so I decided to run. I really wanted to focus on getting our kids back into school in a safe way. Ultimately it’s my children and their education that really got me to want to run.

LA: Do you believe having children gives you a better perspective as a trustee?

KW: I do think that for me it gives me a great perspective because I’m on the street with all the parents and teachers. I interact with them daily, so I can really understand the questions and concerns that come from our community members.

LA: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

KW: The most rewarding thing is going to be meeting with all the students and seeing all the great things that they are accomplishing and what great things they’re going to accomplish in their life. I think it’s just watching students and their personalities develop, and seeing students achieve what they work hard to do and put their minds to.

LA: What are the main things you want to accomplish in your position?

KW: My short-term goals would be getting back to a normal full day and getting back fall 2021. Long term, I want to make sure that we have the district running efficiently so that it meets every student’s need. Student’s mental health and safety is important to me. A lot of career technical education is also very important as we look at what we want our students to be after they graduate from Newport Mesa. I really do believe that we need to have some more real-world classes, like an entrepreneurial class for those individuals that want to start their own companies. I want to make sure that we have all the specific resources that a child needs to get into the college of their dreams or do whatever they want to do after high school. My long-term goal is to make sure our students succeed outside of Newport Mesa.”

LA: How could a vaccine affect how the year plays out?

KW: I really hope that as the vaccine rolls out we can make everyone more safe on campus. We could hopefully bring everyone back to longer days and more days on campus. I’m very hopeful that the vaccine gets down to our level quickly and the teachers are able to get a jump start on getting some of those vaccines.

LA: Where do you see the school district a year from now?

KW: I’m hoping everyone is back full time on campus and thriving. We’re going to have to deal with a lot of learning loss and will have to put plans in place to get kids up to speed so they can continue. I expect us to be able to get back to having a full football schedule and seeing our kids play sports. I just can’t wait for that moment when we’re all back in person enjoying life as it used to be. 

LA: What can we learn from this situation?

KW: I think everyone has had a rush course in how to do learning online and how to be effective with technology. Zoom meetings are great, but you lose a lot of the personal, social and emotional connection that you get when you meet someone in person. I think the use of technology in education will continue on, especially in the secondary level. There are some great things we can take away from this as we figure out how to carry on as a district and implement it into our curriculum.”

LA: What would you like to tell students right now?

KW: There’s times when things feel so desperate, you’re struggling with school, you’re struggling socially and emotionally. You’re worried about getting sick or a family member is sick, or lost their job. There’s a multitude of things that you can be worrying about, but you have to keep fighting. Keep pushing through all the hardship, because you have to be resilient in life. In life there are going to be lots of challenges and this is building that resiliency you can carry on through the rest of your life. Everyone is fighting through something, so open up, talk to your friends, your family, talk to someone at school, they’re always going to be there for you if you’re just open to talk. Things are going to come at you and you’ll have to take it and run with it, not let them affect you.

LA: What do you think is in the future for the high school level?

KW: I really don’t know. I like the kids being in person and I know you’re learning a lot better in person. I’d also like to see our teams compete in sports sometime in the spring. It has to be such a struggle, trying to teach yourself these complex studies. The teachers are also having to do things they’ve never had to do before; it’s uncomfortable, it’s tough. If we can handle this, next year is going to be a breeze.