“We have to start somewhere,” says Jackie 
Slaby ’15. “Let’s start with our schools.”

In November 2016, the Growth and Structure of Cities major won election to the Battle Creek, Mich., school board.

After earning her master’s degree in city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, Slaby returned to her native Battle Creek to serve the community that raised her. The youngest candidate in the eight-person field, she sees her work on the school board through a city-planning lens and as a way to effect a larger vision for Battle Creek.

In the days leading up to the election, she laid out her positions: enact policies to ensure a safe environment for all students; hold administrators and teachers accountable through training, open communication, and community outreach; improve the curriculum, after-school programming, and opportunities to prepare students for college and career; and develop a growth plan to ensure a healthy budget.

A proponent of community involvement, Slaby has creative ideas for growing the district’s revenue streams—ideas that won’t just cut deficits but will re-envision schools as community resources where people can gather, learn new skills, and even make use of the pool and gym.