Photographed by Hillary Schave
Having a son with a significant disability impacted Anna Moffit’s family so tremendously that she had to reinvent herself personally and professionally. With a background in elementary education and a family history of mental health challenges, softspoken but strongly opinionated Moffit appears tailor-made for her positions on the Madison Metropolitan School District board and as a peer specialist supervisor for Wisconsin Family Ties, whose mission is “changing lives by improving children’s mental health.”
“[Felix’s] challenges forced me to…elevate my voice, and develop some skills so that I could be a better advocate and make sure he had what he needed. I don’t think I would have ever done anything I’m doing now if I hadn’t had that,” says Moffit.
Moffit shares her own experiences, including the successes and benefits, in hopes of improving outcomes for everyone.
“I believe that Anna’s passion and commitment springs from a deep well of compassion for others, and a conviction that when people work together, we can make the world a better place for all our children,” says Joanne Juhnke, policy director at Wisconsin Family Ties.
Moffit is working with the school district to revamp its discipline policies, including an overhaul of the expulsion system. Her belief is that the adults who are supposedly working in the best interest of children need to be open to compromise, and to stop making assumptions “that are just way off base.” According to Moffit, students are quickly labeled as aggressive or noncompliant before adults take a deeper look at the root causes for their misbehaviors. She would like to see greater investment in social emotional learning and trauma-informed practices.
“I would like to see the district also really continue to invest resources in a targeted way that will most significantly impact our kids who have been historically underserved and marginalized…it’s really our obligation to ‘lift all boats.’”