Wake County BOE has marginalized a vast majority of parents for years. I intend to bring common sense, proven and unbiased education back to Wake.
My leadership experience as an Officer in the US Air Force gave me the know-how to make sound, decisive decisions in even the most challenging circumstances. Perseverance in the face of difficult situations is sorely needed among today's BOE.
My experience in managing large budgets ($36B budget for contracts with the DoD, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and others) will be valuable, especially as we continue to deal with resources that are increasingly sparce.
I bring ethics, values and a common sense approach to education which I will use to re-direct the efforts of the current BOE toward improving the quality of education we provide for all students. This includes shifting the focus away from social and political agendas and instead toward the programs and mechanisms that will challenge our students. My work will be singularly focused on education and preparing students to meet and conquer the challenges of an ever-changing workforce and global environment.
To ensure that the Public School System in Wake County provides it's K-12 students with an unbiased, quality education that will prepare them to be productive American citizens. To provide the mechanisms that allow for students to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and facilitators for global good. To empower teachers with the resources and work environment so they can influence and illuminate their students. And to facilitate the partnership of our Wake parents and families in the educational success of our K-12 students.
If the trajectory of educational spending by the NC General Assembly from the year 2010 continues for the next eight years, the Assembly is on pace to exceed the Leandro recommendation ($6.8B) by several billion dollars (source: Fiscal Research Division). The 2019–20 K-12 budget would have been higher if the Governor had not vetoed House Bill 966. Education funding in North Carolina has increased by $968 per student in just four years, and $1,748 per student the last nine years. Nearly 80% of the entire WCPSS budget goes toward salary and benefits. Therefore, I do not believe that funding ALONE is the critical issue facing the Wake County schools today ... Charter Schools receive less funding and typically perform better. Schools that receive more in PPE (per pupil expenditure) rarely perform the best. Rather than have the focus remain on funding, we need to focus on curriculum (including transparency and textbooks), the parent-teacher relationship, eliminating poor programs such as MVP Math, and providing opportunities that prepare students to meet the challenges of the global economy. One example would be the proliferation of Vocational Schools, school-to-work programs, and internships.
Wake County is an extremely desirable location to teach. Currently, adjusted for cost of living, Wake teachers rank 26th in the nation for teacher pay. The last two years, North Carolina has seen the third largest increase in average teacher pay among all states. Despite the fairly young teacher workforce that Wake County has, I would like to bring that pay in line with the top 15 states in the country. I would push to bring back Masters pay and Longevity Pay to attract more qualified and experienced educators. I would remove MVP Math Curriculum immediately, which forces teachers to significantly augment their Math curriculum because of lack of training and in many cases lack of experienced Math instructors. I would also discontinue any teacher training that is in any way authored by or shows extreme bias toward any political or social ideology that is not in keeping with American values. Most importantly, I would ensure that teachers have the resources needed to effectively perform their job in a way that brings excitement and challenges to the classroom.
Neither important nor unimportant
I believe the building blocks for a successful life of learning begins at an early age. While deficiencies at this stage of life can be overcome, Pre-K can give children a successful jumpstart in success in the learning process.
-Providing the benefits and pay scale conducive to attracting top talent.
-Maintaining the type of community (low cost of living, attractive communities that appeal to the family lifestyle, vibrant growth) that educators want to be a part of.
-Furnish the teaching environment that challenges an educator to utilize their skills and meet their potential.
-Pave the way for teachers to focus on teaching students in a way that excites everyone involved by eliminating unnecessary programs that detract from that focus. Ensuring that the resources are available for teachers to teach in a way that enriches the learning experience.
I have three tenets: Support our Students, Trust our Teachers, & Strengthen our Community. I bring leadership & education experience to the table.
I bring both the perspective of someone who has been in the classroom and has four years of experience on the board which will help provide informed leadership of the school district during this uncertain time, as the continuity of leadership and institutional knowledge will be critical this year more than ever. I taught in a K-8 environment for eight years and co-chaired an accreditation team which allowed me to see the parts of a school including budget, facilities,and leadership, that are a strong part of setting school culture and climate and have an impact on the classroom. I have a Master's Degree in Teaching giving me an understanding of life in the classroom and respect for those who are currently teaching in our district. Since my first run for the school board I have had three tenets in mind: Support our Students, Trust our Teachers and Strengthen our Community. Every decision I make has been rooted in this view, and continues to this day as our school district deals with an unprecedented pandemic. I am the mother of three daughters who are all enrolled in WCPSS, which helps me understand the enrollment and assignment procedures. Being the parent of a neurodiverse child with an IEP gives me the empathy and understanding of what our special education families work with their teachers and schools to give their children the best educational experience. I currently serve on the School Board's Budget and Policy Committees.
Collaboration is a big part of being on the school board. The ability to listen to parents, teachers & students and merge those concerns with the availability of funding and state policy is a big part of the work we do on the board. There are many policies and restrictions placed on a public school system including funding restrictions, finding the balance of these barriers to provide our students the education they require, our teachers with the support they need and our community with the best education system we can is necessary when working on the school board. Being able to explain the why of an issue is essential to the role of a member of the school board. Explaining education policy and school funding is a conversation that is filled with history and complexity that cannot always fit in a simple sound bite. Being able to collaborate with the members of the County Commission to explain where our local dollars of funding will be spent and working with the Wake delegation in the State Legislature to share how educational policy decisions on Jones Street will impact our classrooms in Wake County. Collaboration and relationship building is vital to our community and our schools to thrive.
North Carolina has the setup in our State Constitution for a well funded education system. The Leandro Report in 1997 layed out the need for a 'Sound Basic Education' and this past year's WestEd report on Leandro went further to show what a 'fully funded' education would look like for North Carolina. At the Federal Level, increasing the 14.5% in funding for the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act to the promised 40% would go a long way for our Exceptional Children (EC) Population as well as increasing the per pupil state supplement for EC students (which hasn't increased since the early 1990's). I would love to see the Academically and Intellectually Gifted per pupil state supplement from a cap of 4% of the district population to adequately meet the needs of our students across the district which is over 10% AIG identifies. In Wake County we have been very fortunate to have County Commissioners that have supplemented our schools with local property taxes as well as construction funding that is a multi-governmental effort. I have worked alongside our commissioners to increase salaries, and social emotional personnel, but with adequate state funding we could do so much more. I am grateful that our Wake legislative delegation believes in public schools and have positive interactions with the legislators that cover District 8 to promote the funding of our schools in Wake County.
North Carolina currently has a metric known as the Teacher working conditions survey that assesses teacher satisfaction, Wake County Public Schools also prints its own school progress reports that speak to school climate, leadership and teacher satisfaction. These reports are compiled by WCPSS' Data & Accountability team and can be found at wcpss.net/Page/5055 . Wake County Public Schools has created an Office of Professional Learning to not only track Professional Learning Credits, but to provide a one stop shop for our teachers and other staff members to improve their craft. State funding for Professional Development must be increased and the $50 substitute teacher penalty that a teacher must pay to have a sub should no longer be their burden to bear so that teachers may attend Professional Development opportunities throughout the school year without penalty. WCPSS offers the Beginner Teacher Support Program for new teachers, a Future Teachers Program to build our teacher pipeline by recruiting WCPSS seniors that are pursuing education to return to teach in Wake. For 12 years, WCPSS has maintained the largest cohort of National Board Certified Teachers (NCBT) in the country. This is in part to the Beginner to Board Certified program Wake hosts to encourage more teachers (in their third year) to pursue their NCBT, and for teachers who are not in their third year, there are annual cohorts and Saturday support days to encourage NCBT certification.
Neither important nor unimportant
There is a wide body of research that shows the benefits a quality Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) education program has on students for years beyond preschool. WCPSS provides Pre-K services for families that help a wide range of students. Tuition Based Pre-K is open to all and offered at 4 sites, including Project Enlightenment throughout the district. WCPSS offers Pre-K programming at most schools either via Special Education classrooms or Title 1 Pre-K, or a blend of students from both programs. Pre-K programming offers a variety of social and emotional learning as well as academic learning to help develop students to be ready for Kindergarten. With the change in NC State Standards in 2010, the academic focus of Kindergarten increased disrupting the balance between academics and the Social and Emotional learning. This increased the value and importance of Pre-K for conflict resolution, speaking to big emotions and basic classroom skills like hand raising and sitting in a circle. I would love to see more Federal and State funding for quality Pre-K programming as it has become an essential part of the learning continuum. Parents can also find out about Pre-K programs offered by WCPSS and the Ready4K program that sends parents developmental and skill building tips at wcpss.net/Page/38129
Wake County along with North Carolina and the country are facing a shortage in the Teaching Pipeline. Teacher pay in North Carolina is a huge factor, NC is currently below the national average in teacher pay, and caps it's teacher salary schedule after 25 years of classroom experience. North Carolina no longer offers teacher's a supplement for earning their Master's Degree nor does it offer career teacher status anymore. North Carolina had a gem in the NC Teaching Fellows Program that began in 1986 until it was no longer funded in 2011 (the final class graduated in 2015). The current version of the Teaching Fellows program is only offered at 5 colleges and universities instead of the 17 institutions that offered it in the previous version, which included UNC Pembrooke and HBCUs. WCPSS has launched its own program to support current WCPSS students interested in teaching to come back and teach in Wake. A deficit of resources to help teachers once they are in the classroom also makes the retention of qualified teachers difficult. An underfunded instructional supply budget from the state, the state required $50 substitute fee a teacher has to pay to be out of the classroom when sick or pursuing professional development and the state pushing health care costs onto its school districts - - which requires the districts to use local funding to pay for healthcare rather than provide support to the classrooms all have an impact on the retention of teachers.