Since I started this website, it has attracted new readers from near and far. Many don’t know my background or why I write. After my run for school board last year, I have not been able to stop writing. I write on the back of calendars, on notepads, on any scrap of paper near-by just to get the thoughts down in order to move on to the next thought or task. I don’t know why. All I know is that I have to get my thoughts down on paper, and I have to publish those thoughts. It doesn’t matter whether I have 50 readers or 5,000. All that matters is that I put my God-given talents to use and follow his lead.
In January of 2022, I published my first article and followed it up with my first series titled, “Twinkie or Truffle? My Child’s Education.” This series was based on the exit letters I wrote to my district Superintendent upon leaving.
Hello. My name is Jaime Kokaisel and I am the author of JAiME for SCHOOLS.
I have been married for 21 years and I have two children, 13 and 16 years old. I have been a resident of Woodbury, MN for 13 years (and prior to that, Saint Paul). I earned my BFA in Illustration Design at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and I have been a professional photographer for 18 years, five of those managing my own business.
I was born in California, grew up attending West Saint Paul Public Schools (K-6), and later graduated from Rosemount Public Schools (7-12). My parents had divorced when I was just one year of age, and mom remarried when I was five, so all memories of my youth were in a blended family of six. In addition to my biological mother and father, I was blessed with my step-father, step-brother, adopted step-sister, and half-sister (always considered simply my sisters, brother, dad, mom and biological dad).
I never aspired to be in politics, or speak in front of large audiences, or lead groups or people, or organize movements. But looking at what I’ve accomplished over the past 18 months, you’d never know it. That is because 18 months ago I finally opened my eyes, and as I woke up, I followed God’s plan instead of my own plan. I put my personal insecurities aside to fight for something bigger than myself. Not just MY children, but ALL children.
- After 10 years on autopilot as a parent, I chose sacrifice over convenience and enrolled my children in local Christian private schools.
- In order to pay for private school tuition, I cut family expenses by $800/month and took a new job at New Kingdom Healthcare.
- Within a couple weeks of taking a new job, I submitted my affidavit to run for 833 school board.
- After my loss in the election, I turned my school board campaign site into JAiME for SCHOOLS.
- I attended my first caucus and was elected a delegate to represent CD4 at the State Convention.
- I was active in defeating the largest referendum in state history (had it passed).
- I have and continue to attend local school board and city council meetings.
- I recognize that the bigger the Government, the less control we have at the local level. I am currently working to support local and state candidates win their November elections.
I don’t know where I’d be today if I hadn’t forced my eyes to stay open. I chose sacrifice over convenience. I do know though that in the weakness of my most desperate moments of 2020, the Holy Spirit gave me strength through his daily word, prayer, and for each and every person God placed on the path he designed me to take.
“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” —Matthew 10:39
The state is so focused on outcomes, so let’s take a good hard look at the outcomes! Less than half of MN public school children are able to read at grade level. But not everything is declining. While proficiency in reading and writing and math declines, the mental health crisis rises. (alarming rates of depression, self-harm, and suicide among adolescence.) Funding rises. Violence in school rises.
I may not be an English teacher or a psychiatrist, but if there is one thing I know better than anyone else, IT IS MY CHILDREN! And they are now THRIVING in their private school models, when before they were DROWNING in public.
It only took one week for me to see hope fill their spirit again.
They read books now. They write essays. They study vocabulary and spelling and memory verses and history.
Their history lessons go so far back in time that my 8th and 11th grader debate about how ancient civilizations and Christianity created Western Civilization as we know it.
In private school, there is accountability. There are boundaries. There is respect and trust and grace!
Children in public school can absolutely be given the same pragmatic and honest approach through local governing boards, but if idealistic state government is going to implement policy that does not represent local communities then give the people choice. Why CAN’T public schools rise to the challenge?
Dr Scott Jensen said in one of his most recent videos, “I think we learn so much when we look at who someone is willing to fight for.” I thought this was so good. Who are you willing to fight for?
There is no reason children should be deprived their childhood time to be innocent. Government systems and district school boards should not be allowed to pile their adult problems onto the backs of vulnerable children too weak to carry that burden.
Let the children be children!