The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Spector

Jeffrey Spector

What are your top three most important things in life?

“Family means the most to me. I have a wonderful support system here in Chesterfield and St. Louis. I was born and raised right here in Chesterfield, and I include the community in that family aspect. Family, friends and community; that is so important to me and that ties into number two, which is education. The education of my children and future generations that’s one of the reasons why I’m running. I want to see our children and their children for generations to come to be successful individuals in the community, whether that means furthering their education after Parkway or different means of vocational training or getting into a certain trade. Ensuring that our children’s education is preparing them for the next step of life. Third, one of the big things that I talk about in my campaign is equity—ensuring that everybody is given the tools they need to succeed in life. Parkway is a very diverse district. We need to ensure that we are doing right by our students and encouraging diversity, encouraging learning about people who aren’t like me, aren’t like you—anyone different from ourselves. Those are just three of the things that are important to me. In my family currently, my niece and nephew are African-American, we have a more multicultural family so that’s important to me as well.”

What were your elementary, middle and high school days like?

“I went to Riverbend Elementary, Parkway Central Middle and [Central] high school. I graduated in 2003. I loved school. Middle school, as it probably is for most kids, was not my favorite. It’s an awkward stage of life, but I met my lifelong friends when I went to Parkway Central. I think St. Louis is in a very unique place when it comes to that. Outside of St. Louis, most people’s friends are not necessarily the friends they had growing up in elementary school, middle school and high school. My father passed away when I was 17, and the school and the district rallied around me. I’ve seen that in others as well, not just myself, but Parkway Central and school helped me get through a very tough time in my life, and I can say nothing bad about my experience at Parkway. Again, that’s my personal experience. I know others share that experience or may have a different experience. I feel like I had an extremely well balanced-education that had me ready for the next step of my life.”

What is your connection to Parkway?

“I have two children in the district in kindergarten and second grade at Green Trails. My mother was a reading specialist in Parkway for 16 years. My wife was a teacher’s assistant, as well as a dance coach for both Parkway Central and Parkway North, and I have various family and friends who are teachers in the district or were teachers in the district. Like I said, so many people I know from growing up here are back with children in the district. The community as a whole seems to stick together.”

What is your favorite thing about Parkway?

“I think it’s that we anticipate or are at the forefront of things, probably better than other districts. Whether it’s on the technology side, whether it’s on the inclusivity side [or] the equity side. They’re thinking about things before most districts are. We are very community-based. We have a dense area that we take from. There are a lot of houses and a lot of community members. I think we do a great job of actively engaging with the community. We’ve got over 17,000 students to look after as a district and that’s just the students. There’s staff, there’s parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters. I think we do a good job keeping everyone engaged, keeping up with the times, except for a few things. You may know our pools are about 50 years old across the board, I know they are looking at things like that to spruce up. As a whole, I just think Parkway is amazing and just want to make it better If I can.”

Why are you running for the school board?

“One of our neighboring districts was in the news 18 or 19 months ago; they’re a very divisive community with regards to certain aspects of the curriculum, and, being a diehard Parkway kid, I wanted to make sure something like that didn’t happen to Parkway. I want Parkway to succeed for generations to come and I thought right now it was the right time. Now that both my children are in the district it seems like the best time to make a difference for the lives, not only of my children but the rest of the Parkway community. I think my experience in Parkway and getting to know a lot more information that I didn’t know before just makes me even more motivated for the future.”

Are there any changes, big or small, that you would like to see happen in the district?

“As I mentioned earlier, we have a very diverse population of students, and our percentage of teachers doesn’t necessarily reflect that same diversity. I want to make sure that all students no matter race, religion, sexual orientation [or] identification feel safe and represented at our schools, and that’s something that not only Parkway, but everyone needs to work on. I know Parkway wanted to get ahead of that. I think we’re ahead of the curve on things. We’ve set up a task force prior to the pandemic, and unfortunately, the pandemic has kept things from moving along as quickly as they would have liked. There are a lot of great things that are going to be coming down the pipeline that showcases how Parkway is embracing that diversity and equity in our education.”

What do you do for work? Can this help you perform your school board duties any better?

“I’m an attorney by trade. In the role that I’m in currently, I’m very neutral. I am a corporate attorney. I work for a company where I’m the only attorney, and I make recommendations based on a lot of different viewpoints. It’s not my viewpoint, it is taking direction and information from various sources and making a recommendation that is best for the company and that’s exactly what a board member needs to do.”

What can you bring to the school board?

“A board member needs to check their opinions and egos at the door and look at what’s best for Parkway, not just looking at what’s best for my two children and my family. Looking out for what is best for the community, Parkway’s students, teachers and staff. That’s where I think I can make a big difference. That is something I do daily, really analyzing what is given to me and making an informed decision that hopefully is used universally.”

Why should people vote for you?

“Voting is a great tool. My goal for Parkway is to make an already amazing district better. I think we do an amazing job at almost everything we do. I am not one to criticize our district, but again there are ways that we can improve. I want to be able to listen to parents, students [and] community members about what they expect from Parkway and take those suggestions to the board meetings. Talking with the superintendent’s actions team and the superintendent to ensure that we are achieving all of our goals. I’m not here to disrupt things. I’m here to continue the greatness of Parkway. I hope all candidates, no matter who’s running, are in it for the right reasons. Not just for a single issue but the broad spectrum of Parkway. I would love for anyone to vote for me, but make sure you’re informed of all candidates. Many of us have websites and Facebook pages and learning about the candidates and what they stand for is something that I encourage everyone to do.”

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