Salt Lake Community College Director of Digital Marketing Sarah Reale, running as a Democratic candidate, succeeded in Utah’s State School Board races earlier this month and will be representing District 5.
Reale holds nearly two decades of experience teaching political science and American government, more than half of which has been at SLCC. Reale, saying she considers education as one of the most important institutions that the government manages, intends to utilize a student-first approach.
“I think [education] is the cornerstone to an equitable society,” Reale said. “I believe it can change the trajectory of someone’s life; it can change the trajectory of someone’s family; it can help solve a lot of the systemic issues that we’re facing as a society.”
As educators leave their professions at increasing rates, Reale plans to target policies and legislation that negatively affect teachers.
“We need to ensure that the [state] legislature continues to prioritize and fund education, and uses the surplus in our budget to focus on supporting our education system through much needed funding, especially for teachers,” Reale said.
Reale expressed frustration about political rhetoric surrounding current education policies, a point which she highlights on her campaign website. Instead, Reale said it’s important to hear directly from educators who are performing the job.
“I [think it’s] really important for someone to come in and try to take the politics out of education and focus on supporting our teachers,” Reale said. “Because when we support our teachers, we support our students.”
Come January, Reale will be the first openly gay person on the State Board of Education. Calling for greater efforts toward justice, equity and inclusion, Reale said it’s important to her that classrooms act as a safe space for LGBTQ+ students and teachers.
The school board is currently led by a Republican majority. Natalie Cline, one member of the party who represents District 11, has been a controversial member of the board due to her critical views on LGBTQ+ issues and advocation for “no anti-American curriculum.” Comments from Cline last year resulted in a petition that asked for her removal from office.
Reale and her conservative counterparts, Cline in particular, share opposite views in nearly every way. Reale said her beliefs in collaboration, connection and being a good teammate makes her fit for the challenge.
Reale encouraged SLCC students to consider reaching out.
“I would love to hear from everyone,” she said, “and I would love to be a source to any students at Salt Lake Community College that are interested in learning more about politics, learning about how a campaign is run.”
For more information about Reale and her campaign journey, visit her campaign website.