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Union County Board of Education At-Large {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Union County Board of Education is the local governing body of the County Public School System. Its members are elected in partisan elections by districts and at large and serve staggered 4-year terms.The 9-member school board has 5 primary responsibilities:1. Employ the superintendent2. Establish policy3. Determine annual operating and capital budgets4. Approve student assignment boundaries5. Oversee the management of the school district’s major systems, including budget and finance, curriculum and instruction, personnel and auxiliary services

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  • Candidate picture

    Sarah May
    (Rep)

  • Todd F. Price
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Claudia Sandoval
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What experience and qualities do you feel you bring to this office? (YouTube link or text, or both)

What do you think is the most important responsibility of a school board member?

What are the critical state funding needs for this county’s schools and how would you address those needs?

How would you assess teacher satisfaction in the county and how would you promote professional development?

Pre-Kindergarten is: [Importance Scale]

Please explain your choice.

What are the issues in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers?

Contact Phone (704) 780-1576
email address Sarahmayboe@gmail.com
Twitter @Swmay_nc
Position/philosophy statement Advocating for equitable education for all children in UCPS. A College & Career readiness focus so that every student has a successful future.
I served on the UCPS Citizens Advisory Committee in 2017 as well as being actively involved for the past 13 years serving as Committee Chair and volunteering in our schools with a variety of PTA/PTSO organizations including New Town Elementary, Cuthbertson Middle, Central Academy of Technology & Arts, Sun Valley High School, Walter Bickett Elementary and East Elementary. I operated my own internet fulfillment company where I contracted with companies to handle their online distribution needs which included customer service, inventory management & distribution. In addition I have an extensive background and passion for research and data analytics. This will become a valuable resource for serving on the school board to understand the levers to pull that will have the most impact for budgets and resources.
The biggest responsibility of a school board member is being an advocate for every student to receive the best education possible. This will ensure not only their future to thrive as adults but also improve the overall society and community.
In our current climate, all funding at all levels is critical when considering the challenges faced with implementing a successful upcoming school year. Under normal circumstances funding that enables teachers to have the adequate tools for educational programming and be fairly compensated is of utmost importance.
From the perspective of a parent and community member I feel that teacher and staff satisfaction currently is mixed. This upcoming school year leaves teachers in a position of needing extensive support from the school district due to the many challenges they are facing. Professional Development in remote learning would be a current need as well as future professional development that supports teachers when our school system returns post-Covid conditions hopefully in 2021.
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Pre-K is truly the foundation for a child’s educational path. Providing a public pre-K program sets the groundwork for many children and ensures that the basics are in place which aides in leveling the playing field for a successful educational experience. Pre-K helps not only educationally but also in facilitating social interaction and positive behaviors.
Our school district faces unique challenges in being located so closely to a major school district as well as a neighboring state. We are in constant competition to keep teachers who easily could go “next door” to SC or Charlotte Mecklenburg for potentially more pay therefore teacher satisfaction in their working environment is key. Facilitating a 360 survey where the results are thoughtfully evaluated leads to an improved workplace and educational atmosphere. I think it’s been made obvious how much our society values teachers, and that the job they do is more than just that of providing a basic education. They are educators, counselors and instill in our children a drive to do well and succeed in life.
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Age (optional) 41
Contact Phone (704) 993-6854
email address csandoval.nc@gmail.com
Twitter @CSandoval4UCPS
Position/philosophy statement I am running so every child can access high quality public education that promotes both academic excellence and social and emotional competency.
I have a vested interest in Union County Public Schools (UCPS): my twin 12th grade daughters and my 2nd grade son. I bring my experience as a mom, a community volunteer, and a leader. I am in the trenches like other parents, helping with remote learning, student stress, and college readiness. After my twin daughters survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, I became an advocate for school safety and violence prevention. I left a successful 12- year career as a Veterinarian to work for Sandy Hook Promise, the country’s largest school violence prevention organization. Currently, I serve as a parent member of the UCPS Safety Committee, I am a Board member of the Faith & Hope Community Center serving Latino communities in Monroe, NC, and was appointed by Governor Cooper to North Carolina's DRIVE Taskforce that is developing a representative and inclusive vision for education and helping ensure that North Carolina has a strategic plan to build a teacher workforce that reflects our diversity. Union County Public Schools have diverse challenges that have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. If elected, I will combine my passions for kids, community, and problem solving to advocate for policies that promote a healthy, safe, and engaging learning environment for Union County students and teachers.
During this pandemic, the most important responsibility of any school system is providing every child with the opportunity to receive a sound basic education. Overseeing how UCPS implements the state’s educational program, as a school board member, will be crucial to achieving this.

UCPS has made tremendous efforts to provide learning opportunities to our children. However, equity in our student body still needs to be achieved, especially if remote learning will be a substantive method of instruction during the 2020-21 school year.

Persistent achievement disparities in public education exist across income levels. Students without Internet access are vulnerable to disproportionate learning loss and if remote learning does not provide the quality of education that is delivered in the classroom, there will not only be learning loss, but also a widening of existing gaps. Special needs students also experience disadvantages due to remote learning and the loss of services required by an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan.

I am running to ensure that every child has access to high quality public education. When the pandemic has ended, there will be an academic gap that many of our students must overcome. As a former Veterinarian, I am a diagnostician and problem solver at heart, and I want to be on the school board to help close this gap.
While volunteering at a local food pantry this June, I met a teacher waiting in line for food. She said this summer is particularly hard because she cannot find a summer job. It’s time our educators are valued and paid accordingly.

With circumstances from COVID-19, teachers are being asked to do more than ever with fewer resources. UCPS has stated they are losing salaried and hourly employees to better paying jobs. While the school board cannot determine teacher pay, I will be an ally to teachers and will urge our state legislators to pay teachers what they deserve.

Further compounding the financial stress on our school system and educators is a problem of the state’s making. North Carolina schools are operating on a 2018-2019 budget and UCPS is unable to keep up with increased expenses from healthcare and pension costs. Similar to other districts in North Carolina, UCPS finds itself with a low fund balance to manage this economic hardship. Unfortunately, during the current financial uncertainty from COVID-19, the Union County Board of County Commissioners will likely not provide extra funding to meet these operating costs.

If elected, I would add to the to the UCPS Legislative Agenda the need to pass a state budget that addresses our educational funding needs. As a school board member, I would advocate for legislative priorities that increase per pupil spending and increase salaries for teachers, teacher’s assistants, bus drivers, and instructional support staff.
Preparing all students to succeed requires that teachers and school employees feel valued. I will advocate for proper classroom resources, teacher’s assistants, and professional development. In addition, I will back policies that create a productive learning environment by respecting teachers' expertise, providing adequate time for lesson planning, and allowing classroom autonomy for teachers.

The results of the 2020 North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey are a good place to start exploring teacher sentiment. When reviewing teacher satisfaction with professional learning opportunities, some schools appear to be outperforming others. As a school board member, I would begin promoting professional development by asking why these disparities exist in the district. Taking best practices from schools where teachers were more satisfied by their opportunities and incorporating into UCPS strategies for improving professional development could be one way to begin improvement. The field of education is always advancing, and as such, continued professional development of our teachers and ensuring they have quality opportunities is an ongoing need. Measuring and tracking teacher satisfaction with professional development and its effectiveness for students should be an ongoing focus of UCPS and the Board of Education.
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Research is overwhelming that kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who do not. In fact, poor and disadvantaged kids often make the most gains. Preschool sets the foundation for brain development and future learning.

NC Pre-K serves about a quarter of the state’s 4-year olds based on family income and other at-risk factors. Studies of children enrolled in NC Pre-K have shown positive school readiness and social and academic outcomes in the early elementary years.

Since current funding levels do not provide enough slots for eligible children, as a School Board member, I would advocate for the General Assembly to provide sufficient funding for additional slots. This can be added to the Legislative Agenda to ensure eligible children are provided an opportunity for an equal start to Kindergarten.
Teacher pay is the number one issue in my view. Prior to the pandemic, while shopping, I would encounter teachers at their second jobs in places like Target and Old Navy. Teachers are not earning what they deserve and not able to gain the salaries that support a middle-class existence.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationwide since 2010, there has been a decline in total enrollment in teacher preparation programs. This is despite increasing enrollment in bachelor degree programs over the same time period. Additionally, recruiting a diverse pool of applicants has been challenging as enrollment in teacher preparation programs by people of color has also declined.

Low salaries, student loan debt, difficult working conditions, and a lack of career pathway opportunities contribute to issues with recruiting and retaining qualified teachers. The recently released 2020 North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey, demonstrates how few teachers feel student conduct is well-managed at school. Teacher recruitment and retention will not improve unless these issues are addressed.

For recruitment, it is important to forge strong relationships with teacher preparation programs. I support UCPS’s collaboration with local colleges including South Piedmont Community College, Wingate University, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities for recruitment of diverse educators. As a school board member, I would favor continued growth of these relationships.