Due to the social distancing guidelines, we have converted our traditional AllOnGeorgia candidate video interviews into short questionnaires. Each candidate in the race was provided an identical questionnaire with the same deadline. Answers were not edited in any way.
The Primary Election was moved to June 9th.
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CANDIDATE FOR EVANS COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION – DISTRICT 4
Please provide a brief bio on yourself.
Children: Beth, & Charlotte
Grandchildren: Sam, Michala, McKenzie
Retired from Evans County Board of Education – Middle School Teacher
Currently teaching at Coastal Plains Charter School and GED classes at Women’s Detention Center
Awards: Claxton Middle School Teacher of the Year
GA Dept of Corrections – 2019 Award for highest number of detainees attaining GED’s
What types of experiences and understanding of the education system do you believe is necessary to competently serve on the Board of Education?
To serve effectively on the BOE, the person must be able to work cooperatively with others, be willing to listen to different points of view, and base decisions on what is best for all concerned.
BOE members should have a knowledge of school policies and procedures as well as responsibilities of central office staff, school administration and staff, and the Board of Education.
Members of the BOE should be familiar with the local community and the citizens and students they serve.
What are 3 strengths of which our district can be proud? Why do you see these as strengths?
Outstanding community support – To be successful, the school district must have the support of the local community.
The school district is fortunate to have qualified, dedicated employees, including administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, school food service, custodial, bus drivers, monitors, and maintenance. These are the key to the success of the school district.
A broad curriculum to meet the needs of students with varying abilities, interests, and goals. While all of us are created equal, we are individuals. No two students are exactly alike, and the school has the responsibility to recognize their differences and to provide adequate educational opportunities for them.
What are 3 needs that must be priorities for our district to address?
Teacher and employee retention
Increased parental involvement in schools
With rising costs of operation and increasing tax burdens on property owners, it is essential that the district seek ways to operate more efficiently while providing a quality education for the students.
An individual school board member has no authority; only the board has a whole can make decisions for the district. What skills or traits will allow you to contribute to effective operations of the board as a whole and how do you overcome disagreement?
I have a passion for education, and most of my life has been spent as a classroom teacher. My experience as a parent, tax payer, and professional educator will enable me to look at problems from a broader angle and make decisions that are fair and equitable.
There will be disagreements at times. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, and I will listen respectfully to all points of view and consider them. As a Christian, I will ask for guidance in making the decisions that are best for the district.
If (re-)elected, what would you hope would be key accomplishments of the board during your years of service?
Whatever accomplishments are achieved will result from everyone working together. My goal is to see that every student who enters Pre-K remains in school until they graduate and have the skills needed to succeed in life. While this is a lofty goal, I believe strongly that we should work to achieve it.
The first priority of any school system should be to provide the students with the knowledge and skills they need to become productive citizens. While a broad curriculum is important, I feel that the 3 R’s (Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmetic) are basic skills that every student needs in order to succeed, and my goal would be to see that all students achieve proficiency in these areas.
Evans County is more diverse than it used to be – economically, racially, culturally, and in other ways. Is the Board of Education and the school system generally doing enough to adequately represent the needs of the various demographics across Evans County?
Although I have been attending the BOE meetings, I do not know all that the Evans County School System is currently doing; however, I believe there is always room for improvement. Most of my teaching career has been spent working with students needing remediation. These classes included students from all socio-economic groups. I have seen first-hand that all of these students are capable of learning and excelling although it might require extra time or a different approach. If elected, I will endeavor to see that the needs of students from each of these demographic groups are met.
What should our school district be doing to ensure the safety of students and staff?
Since I am not currently on the Board of Education, I am not sure what is being done at present; however, I have listed some ideas for consideration.
Students and staff should be provided with ID’s and be required to wear them at school and at all school events. (The staff currently has these, but I was informed that students do not.)
Safety drills should be held at specified times at all schools. Fire drills are mandated by law, but these train students how to exit the buildings quickly and safely. Safety drills would train staff and students how to seek safe shelter inside the buildings in the event of severe weather or violent attack.
All school buildings should be secured with only one entrance available during school hours; other doors, including classroom doors, should be locked except during change of classes. A staff member should be assigned to open necessary outside doors when classes are changing to allow students from other buildings to enter.
How can the Evans County Board of Education be more transparent about activities and finances?
The school calendar on the BOE web site is not always current nor does it include all activities; therefore, the web site should be updated and kept current. Since the district has a page in the local newspaper monthly, it would be beneficial to add a calendar to this page that includes all BOE meetings and school activities for the next month.
The BOE web site should show names and assignments of all current classified and certified staff for the Central Office and for each individual school.
The 3 public budget hearings for the system should be scheduled at times more convenient for the public. Presently, one is held during lunch and the others at 5:30 p.m.
Requiring people to sign up at 5:30 p.m. to speak at the BOE meetings at 6 p.m. limits participation. There is an agenda for the meeting, but the agenda includes broad topics, and the discussion is more specific. Previously discussion was not open to those in attendance unless they had signed up in advance; however, the present BOE chairman allows those present to ask questions or make comments. I support this practice of openness.
Describe the ideal relationship between the school system superintendent and Board of Education members. Please consider including how members elected by the public maintain a level of control and accountability without micromanaging the day-to-day duties of the Superintendent.
The ideal relationship would be for complete transparency and open communication between the superintendent, the BOE chairman, and all board members. The duty of the BOE is to approve policies for the district’s operation. As an employee of the school system, the responsibility of the superintendent is to operate the schools according to these policies. Board members should be familiar with the policies and follow them. Providing members of the BOE with an organizational chart for the system and an explanation of chain of command would be helpful. Members of the BOE are required to complete training for their positions, and this is probably covered in those sessions.
Is there anything else you would like the public to know about you? (This area may also be used to include a bio and offer information on where people can learn more about you?)
My motto is: “Good, better, best; never rest until the good is better, and the better is best.” (Source anonymous) My goal is to work to make Evans County Schools the best.
Parents have the right and responsibility to choose the educational setting which they feel is most suitable for their child/children. As required by law, Evans County has a public school system and it also has a private school (Pinewood Christian Academy) and an active home school association. For the benefit of all students, I believe these 3 should work cooperatively to provide what is best for the students of Evans County.
I will do my best to see that there is NO increase in school property taxes unless mandated by the state. Evans County has many senior citizens living on fixed incomes. Currently, the school millage rate is higher than the county millage rate. As costs continue to rise, it is imperative that all government agencies operate efficiently.
The job of all public officials is to represent their constituents, and I assure you that I will take this responsibility very seriously. My pledge to you is that I will always be available to talk with you about your concerns, and I will do everything in my power to represent you well.
With God’s help, all of our prayers, your support, and by working together, we can make a difference in the Evans County Schools. That is why I am seeking this position!