Stacy Bateman originally went to school to become a kindergarten teacher, but plans changed and she ended up becoming a high school dance teacher instead. When she and her family moved to Lehi, she was asked to take on a long-term substitute teaching job.
From there she became a regular sub, mostly at secondary schools in the area.
Fast forward to 2019 and Bateman found herself being elected to the National PTA Board. Next thing you know, people began asking her if she was going to run for a seat on the Alpine School Board in 2020.
“One of my friends had said, ‘I think you should really consider this,’ so I did the math and I realized, maybe someday,” Bateman said. “I’d love to have that opportunity one day but I didn’t know if now is the time. I realized that in four years when the seat would come up again, three of my children would have already graduated.”
Having children that go to school in the district is not necessarily a deal breaker for her, but she does believe that it brings along a different perspective for board members. It began to set in that it could be her time to run, but she was still not sure.
While on a trip to Washington, D.C., for a conference with the National PTA Board in early 2020, she went to visit the site where the Battle of Antietam was fought. The battle, known as the bloodiest day in American history, was a must visit for the self-proclaimed national park geek.
Her favorite subject to teach while being a substitute teacher has always been American history and teaching about the Battle of Antietam has always fascinated Bateman.
While on site, Bateman was having what she said was a “sort of spiritual experience,” when she and her friend began talking to a couple they had met.
Her possible run for school board came up in conversation and it just so happened that the husband was a former school board member and administrator. The great conversation that followed inspired Bateman.
At the end of the conversation the man said, “It sounds to me like you need to file.”
“I just thought, I’ve done a lot of volunteering over the last 20 years, but being on the school board is a way to make sure I have an opportunity to have a voice in policy that gets made, the way budget gets spent, and if we’re doing the best for our teachers,” Bateman said. “I kind of amassed all of this knowledge and experience and I thought, ‘I think this is something I can do.’”
She was at the site of the Battle of Antietam on a Monday, on Capitol Hill for meetings come Wednesday, flew home on Sunday and on the Monday after her visit to the famous Civil War site she was filing to run for the Alpine School Board seat.
“I just really haven’t looked back since,” Bateman said.
The mother of five, four of which are currently going to school in the district and one kindergartner, said that having children in the district allows for her to have an understanding of what challenges the teachers have, what concerns the parents have and a grasp on how the students are doing.
She added that her family is entrenched in service within the district.
“I am really grateful for all of the people who called and said, ‘How can we help your campaign?,’” Bateman said. “It was kind of a humbling and almost overwhelming thing to know how many people thought I was the right person for this job. It’s a mildly terrifying experience to put yourself into the public arena. The support was amazing and blew me away. I live in an amazing community.”
When talking about the community she was elected to serve, Bateman brought up the underlying pioneer spirit she has seen while living in Lehi, something she has not seen in other places she has lived.
Bateman has seen people rally together for different causes, whatever that cause may be, and said that while the town may be growing rapidly with a huge tech scene, that small town feel is still there.
After being elected in November, Bateman was officially sworn in recently, marking the start of her term.
When asked about her biggest hopes and goals for her time with the board, she first brought up how she has enjoyed seeing the Alpine School District lead with social and emotional wellness in mind.
She wants to continue on with this message, prioritizing mental health for teachers and students.
“I just want to ensure that every student, (and) every staff member has the support that they need and that we are giving them the tools, the time and the space to take care of themselves,” Bateman said. “In terms of priorities, mental health is probably my No. 1. That’s huge for me.”
The next thing Bateman brought up was the lowering of class sizes. While this may be a tall task in the state of Utah and its largest school district, she brought up the benefits and positives for everyone. This includes the best compensation possible for teachers.
Lastly, Bateman spoke of everything being equitable, meaning that everyone should have what they need, but noting that not everyone needs the same things. She aims to look through a lens of what is best for everyone and not just the children in her home, her neighborhood or the schools in her neighborhood.
When talking about her term to come on the school board, Bateman seemed ready to take on the challenges ahead of her.
“It is exciting, I am excited to get in and get to work, but I think it’s also being mindful of the climate in our country,” Bateman said. “Thinking about recent events, really, I am just feeling hopeful. Just knowing that whatever is happening in our state or our country, when our kids go to school, they’ve got a safe place to land for a little while.”
She added that she has a grounded feeling of hope and a willingness to roll up her sleeves and get to work.