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Wake County Board of Education DISTRICT 4

The Wake County Board of Education is the local governing body of the County Public School System. Its members are elected by districts in nonpartisan races and serve simultaneous 4-year terms.The 9-member school board has 5 primary responsibilities: 1. Employ the superintendent 2. Establish policy 3. Determine annual operating and capital budgets 4. Approve student assignment boundaries 5. 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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    Keith A. Sutton

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?

Age (optional) 50
Contact Phone (919) 606-6572
Position/philosophy statement Every student deserves high-quality teaching and learning every single day.
My background and leadership experiences make me uniquely qualified to continue on the Wake County Board of Education. I am a staunch fighter for public education and a relentless advocate for the appropriate funding for public schools. I have a professional background rooted in civil rights and advocacy, and I have spent a significant part of my professional career as an advocate for marginalized populations. I have served as the Executive Director of the North Carolina NAACP, and President/CEO of the Triangle Urban League. I took that experience to the Wake County Board of Education where I have spent the last 11 years continuing to advocate for policies that improve the lives of the students, employees and communities of Wake County. I have an Ivy League master's degree in Education Entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania, so I have both the training and experience to provide transformational leadership. I currently serve as Chair of the Wake County Board of Education, a position I previously held in 2013. I have also served two years as Vice Chair in 2012 and 2019.
The most important responsibility of a school board member is to be a good steward of the public trust invested in me as a board representative. That public trust includes: 1. Ensuring that every student receives a high-quality education. 2. Providing financial oversight over the public funds that have been appropriated to the system. 3. Hiring a competent and capable superintendent to manage the day-to-day operations of the system.
Some of the critical funding needs for this county's schools include: 1. Funding for more school counselors and social workers. 2. Higher salaries for custodians, cafeteria workers, instructional assistants and bus drivers. 3. Technology 4. Capital Improvements

Since we do not have taxing authority as a school board, our options to address these needs are few. We must continue to partner with our county commissioners to help supplement funding from the state. We must provide sound financial oversight and be good stewards of the public funding we are provided. We must also effectively advocate for improved funding to the General Assembly.
I think overall teacher morale is probably low in the county due to concerns around COVID-19, protracted fights at the state level regarding salaries, and an overall lack of respect for the profession. I would promote professional development by working with schools to align professional development with the practical needs and skills desired by teachers. I would support efforts to provide professional development during work hours so that teachers don't have to take additional time to attend training. I would also support providing more funding to allow greater access to high-quality professional development offerings.
Very unimportant
Somewhat unimportant
Neither important nor unimportant
Somewhat important
Very important
Pre-Kindergarten is important because it helps to ensure that all students start off with a strong foundation. Learning starts at birth, yet due to poverty and other social ills, every student is not afforded the opportunity to good prenatal care and other things that support early cognitive development. High-quality Pre-K helps to provide the early reading skills that students need to be successful learners in kindergarten and throughout life.
To recruit and retain high-quality employees, the school board can do the following: •Develop and maintain meaningful partnerships with schools of education at historically minority serving institutions. •Identify early opportunities to recruit promising students with an interest in a career in education and nurture/develop that interest through high school and into college. •Identify and eliminate barriers of entry to the profession for teacher candidates of color such as bias in entrance exams, lower starting salaries, and student debt. •Identify and develop effective pipelines of teachers of color and characteristics of those pipelines such as effective onboarding and orientation, promising support strategies and networks and relevant professional development. •Identify effective recruitment and retention tools such as performance incentives, bonuses, and loan forgiveness programs that target male educators of color and educators of color that are willing to work in rural communities.