Current Occupation: Parent
How long have you lived in Wake County?
Do you have children in the district?
Two in middle school
Why have you decided to run for office?
I’m tired of sitting back and waiting for the person to come in and do the things that I think need to be done to make Wake County schools the best they can be for our kids.
What are the three biggest issues you think the Wake County Public School System faces? In 30 seconds or less, how would you address those issues?
Obviously right now we’re facing an assignment policy. I would come up with the most family-friendly, common-sense assignment policy, implement it and focus on student achievement.
Student achievement and growth, or lack thereof — how I would fix that is take a look at proven methods and begin to implement policy changes that will increase student achievement and growth. Achievement is what you show on paper. Growth is how far you’ve come.
What do you think are the best and worst decisions the current school board has made?
One of the best decisions is to end an assignment policy that had no proven data that it was helping any child. One of the best decisions I believe they have made is the hiring of Superintendent Tata.
Not changing Wakefield Elementary back to a traditional calendar.
What do you think is the most important issue facing your district, and how do you plan to address it?
Again, I go back to the assignment policy. That may be in place by the time I get into office. And I’ll bring it again back to student achievement. In the schools in District 3, I believe that we have resources in Wake County that we can be doing so much more for our kids than what we’re currently doing: the businesses that we have here, the level of education that we have here, the phenomenal parents that we have here. When you break everything down, I believe that everybody in Wake County wants to give our children the best that we can give them. Look at best practices, policies, systems, different things across Wake County, North Carolina, the United States, that address underachievement, have proven results, and find out what pieces of that can we implement in our school system to help our teachers be more effective, which in turn will increase student achievement.
What do you think WCPSS should do to address the achievement gap?
Think outside the box. And, again, I hate to keep repeating myself, but I go back to not reinventing the wheel. There are programs out there — again, they don’t have to be found in Wake County, but they might be — Wake County, North Carolina State, the country and beyond, into the world. But one of the very first things that you have to do before you can find a solution is figure out the real problem. Why is there such an achievement gap in Wake County? As diverse as this community is, why do we still see this great of a gap?
What are your ideas for measuring and improving teacher and student effectiveness in WCPSS?
Let me start by saying that EVAAS is a huge leap in that, in looking at value-added data. I would like to be able to use more information than just test scores for measurement. There are different factors in a s tudent ’s life and in a teacher’s classroom, and there are different factors with every child. Every child is an individual. I don’t believe that full effectiveness of a teacher for student growth can be shown just based on a test score. There are a lot of other factors.
Do you support merit pay for teachers? Why or why not?
Once we have a proven methodology of figuring out effectiveness, then yes, I do support merit pay.
How do you think WCPSS should attract more minority teachers?
Quite frankly, I don’t look at color of skin, and I can’t wait for the day that we can get past color of skin and hone on effectiveness, how that teacher is going to affect the students in his or her classroom.
How do you feel about the new student assignment plan that’s shaping up?
I’m glad they’re working diligently on it. There’s still not enough information. I have many questions that hopefully will be coming out shortly. When it begins to be presented to the board and either for public discussion or at least for the public to look at, then I’ll be able to address at that point if my questions have been answered. But I do love the premise of the Blue Plan, and I love and will continue to advocate for it. What is the percentage that they’re using of seats to be saved for Level 1 and 2 children? What are the logistics going to look like? What are the transportation costs?
How do charter schools fit in to your conception of a healthy school district?
Charter schools are a choice. Choice drives competition. Competition brings about innovation. I believe that Wake County should be proud of their charter schools and not see them as a threat. In looking at best practices that have proven results for issues that we are dealing with here in Wake County — which there are many different issues — some charter schools have proven results for some of the issues that we face, be they in Wake County, the state or the country. It is another resource.
How would you address the issue of student discipline?
That’s a big issue. I don’t think suspension is the answer to every incident, but it is the answer to some. There needs to be tools for teachers who continue to have disruptive children in their classrooms. Again, we need to figure out best practices in discipline. We need to figure out what works so that we don’t continue to have repeat offenders. Getting out of your desk when you’re not supposed to or continuing to beat children up, anywhere in between, if the child continues over and over again to disobey the rules, there need to be consequences.
What would you do to ensure that WCPSS has the funding to educate its students adequately?
If I felt as a board member that we absolutely did not have enough money — after researching every single line in the budget and seeing if the programs that we currently have data-driven results — then I would rally up with the rest of the board members, come up with how much more we needed and why and lobby our county commissioners and our state legislators with factual data of why we need more money.
What was your favorite subject in school?
It was not math. History and physics, because of all the cause and effect of how we got to where we are today.