District: Wake County School Board District 7
Occupation: Program Administrator/Education Consultant with Department of Public Instruction
City of Residence: Raleigh
Incumbent: Yes, 4 years
Do you have children in the district? If so, explain.
I do have a child, and my child just graduated from Wake County Public Schools. So he has attended all Wake County Schools throughout his entire K-12 years with the school system.
The school board has been divided over partisan politics in recent years. How do you think that’s affected how the district has been run?
I can’t say that the effects I guess you see in different levels or different aspects, but we are on the same page about a lot of things. For example, the discipline policy that we’ve changed for our school system, we’ve taken a look at the zero tolerance and how that affects kids and how that affects their school success and that sort of thing and we’ve changed the discipline policy to be more student-friendly and to give the principals more authority to make decisions based on other aggregating factors and things that come along. So that’s one thing that I can see that we’re on the same page about. I think the as far as the division we’ve had has been in the area of assignment.
What do you think about the current reassignment plan and what would you do, if anything to change it?
The current assignment plan right now is a stop-gap plan. We had voted in while I was on the board, under the leadership of Tony Tata, the choice plan and we were working towards going that road and when some of the new board members came into the position they had some different ideas and so they decided to readdress it and when they did we went into the stop-gap plan, and what that is we went back and took a look at the assignment plan from 2011 and that plan did look different because that plan is based on the old node plan that we have. So that is what we’re currently using. Now what we decide to do moving forward is unknown at this point. I don’t know if we are going to keep it like we are and put a few minor changes to it or if it is going to be more of a major change.
What is your main priority for the new superintendent for the next year or two?
I’d like for him to take a look at program disparities or looking at how the programming is different throughout our county. I can speak for my particular district that I’ve had schools that have been under-enrolled in District 7 and I have been able to really make a difference in this area, but some of the differences have come from putting some very unique and different programs in the schools. For one, like for Hilburn Academy, we were able take this elementary school that was under enrolled by at least 19 classrooms or more, a severely under enrollment situation, and able turn it around it so now we’ve actually had to cap it. So it’s been a kind of success story, so now it’s a K-8 school which as been very popular for my district, and it is the only K-8 school in Wake County. So I’d like for him to take a look at what we can do to kind of bring new, creative ideas to our schools to make them all very popular. So I think that will be a good thing for him to take a look at.
Do you support the proposed school bond? And, if so, what are your priorities for spending that money?
I do think that we need to have a school bond and I do feel like that we need the dollars to be able to, of course, build new schools and to renovate some of our older buildings that we have. If you’ll notice on this particular bond there is a large amount of money that’s supposedly going to go towards renovation. So you know I think we have schools that are just aging and they need new roofs, they need new HVAC systems, you know just things that we have to have to keep on maintaining the way we are. Now how the money is going to be spent, I guess sometimes it does vary. Sometime we go into a bond situation and we think certain schools are going to be built and we’re maybe not able to by the land for it or we have to go into plan B and change the scenario a bit. So I guess that will vary, but overall I have to say I’m in support of the bond because I do think, like we said, we have the older buildings to renovate and I do think we have some areas that are experiencing some growth that we need to take a look at.