Southeast Polk School Board Candidate: Kenneth Cameron
In 2008 I left my corporate career in pursuit of my passion, which is helping others. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a minor in Criminal Justice from Upper Iowa University, and later earned my Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Seton Hall University. It was through my career and educational experience that I developed the skills necessary to better understand people and to educate them and assist in unleashing their potential; giving individuals big hopes for their promising future, seeking knowledge for a better life. I currently reside as Founder and the Principal Organizer of Aspire Counseling Center, LLC. My staff and I assist, guide, and advocate for children, adults, and families daily. I am extremely committed to serving and helping our community and its families. I am a firm believer that when positive guidance is given, skills can be translated into growth for individuals to improve and enhance their quality of life.
As former licensed foster/adoptive parents, my wife (Elizabeth) and I have helped at-risk children/teens in our local community by opening our home to them for a few days, weeks, or even months. This experience was eye opening and life-changing for our family, as we met, fostered, and later adopted two children into our family of 5. Daily life with a family of 7 keeps us busy but we can’t imagine life any other way.
Being a minority, I has developed a strong cultural awareness and the ability to rectify issues concerning the basis of cultural differences which makes it easier to anticipate and see how cultural differences can jeopardize relationship, family dynamics, positive communication, and affect the communities at large. As a Licensed Mental Health Therapist, with over 10 years of experience, my goal is to help uncover true potential and lead individuals to a desired life. Helping individuals understand how changing their behavior can lead to changes in how they are feeling. I serve on several boards: Iowa Mental Health Counseling Association (IMHCA), Disability Rights Iowa (DRI), and Revival Center Church.
Above all I am a family man. I am happily married with five beautiful children (Nathen-SEP Graduate, Trinity-SEP Junior High, Shaun-SEP Junior High, Malia- SEP Spring Creek 6th Grade Center and Eden- SEP Clay Elementary). In my spare time I love spending time with family, church family, enjoying the outdoors, shopping, composing music for my church choir, playing basketball, watching the kids participate in extracurricular activities, traveling, camping, boating, etc. I also enjoy my quiet time (when it presents itself).
A few things ABOUT ME …
• Delighted to be an Upper Iowa University Alumni (Undergraduate)
• Delighted to be an alumnus of Seton Hall University and a member of the School of Diplomacy Alumni Association, an outstanding group of leaders making a difference around the globe.
• Licensed Ordained Minister and member of the Church of God in Christ
• Active member of the Des Moines Chapter NAACP and engaged in making the change you wish to see in your community
• Altoona Palooza community event volunteer
• Former member of the Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA) and a proud adoptive parent of two children.
• Served on the Iowa Mental Health Counseling Association (IMHCA) Board as the Chairman of Public Policy. In 2018, Mental Health was a big focus in this legislative session, and we were successful and responsible in the passing of numerous bills into law to expand services to address mental health concerns. IMHCA secured a significant victory in the enactment of legislation that creates different business opportunities for mental health counselors and other mental health professionals. Some of the key pieces of legislation were but not limited to:
SF 2113 – suicide prevention: This bill requires school districts to provide annual training to all employees under the purview of the Board of Educational Examiners on suicide prevention and postvention. This requirement applies to those employees who have regular contact with students in grades 6 - 12. The bill further requires school districts to provide annual training to all employees under the purview of the Board of Educational Examiners on how to identify adverse childhood experiences and strategies to mitigate the impact those experiences may have on a student. This requirement applies to those employees who have regular contact with students in grades K-12. In addition, school boards are required to adopt protocols for suicide prevention and postvention and strategies to mitigate the impacts of adverse childhood experiences on a student’s learning. The bill was signed into law on March 29 and becomes effective on July 1.
HF 2305 - telehealth: This bill requires insurance companies regulated by the state to treat health care services delivered via telehealth in the same manner as those services when provided by direct provider contact.
• Serves on the Disability Rights IOWA Board of Directors. Disability Rights IOWA aims to defend and promote the human and legal rights of Iowans who have disabilities and mental illness. We promote safety, opportunity, access, and self-determination for all Iowans through a program of:
Self-advocacy education, information and referral
Legal and systems advocacy
• Disability Rights IOWA’s Board of Directors determines what issues will be included in our priorities each year. They set goals for our organization and review our policies and budgets to make sure our plans coordinate with those goals.
Question #1) Why are you running for this seat?
I am running for a seat on the Southeast Polk School Board with the goal of serving all the children in the district; one child is no more important than another. We are a diverse community and must celebrate that diversity. Our schools are here to serve the educational needs of all the children. All stakeholders; parents, all district personnel, as well as students must be partners in this endeavor if we are to be successful.
As a district we must be proactive instead of reactive. A seat at the table would provide me the opportunity to assist in creating a long-term vision, outlining a course that provides the necessary opportunities students need to reach their full potential.
Question #2). What will you be contributing to this role that will provide a positive impact?
When I am seated on the Southeast Polk School Board, I will contribute to this role by providing a positive impact as a father of four students and a passionate practitioner that believes in and takes education seriously. I will bring to the assemblage a field of knowledge, deeply stirred by issues and ideas that challenge our students, drawn to the dilemmas and potentials of the young people who come into the classrooms each day. I will also bring to the assemblage the passion and knowledge to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, administration, educators and advocate for policies that support students with mental health barriers and their families. For several years I have worked with educators and administrations in administering effective and beneficial Individualized Education Program Plans (IEP’s). I consider it a tremendous privilege to work with the parents, administration, and parents in helping student progress.