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TRANSYLVANIA County Board of Education {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Transylvania County Board of Education is the local governing body of the County Public School System. Its members are elected in partisan elections at large and serve staggered 4-year terms.The 5-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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  • Richard Kimsey Jackson

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    Ron Kiviniemi

  • Anna McCall

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    Tawny McCoy

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    Alice Wellborn

Biographical Information

What experiences have you had that will help you in your position on the school board? (1500 characters)

What do you think are the three greatest challenges facing our school system? (1500 characters)

On a scale of 1-10 how important do you think public pre-K is to student success.

Please explain why you ranked public Pre-K education as you did in the prior question.

Are there additional measures our schools/district should take to protect students? If so, what are they? (1500 characters)

What are the issues in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers? (1500 characters)

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Contact Phone (828) 884-4489
email address kron6904@gmail.com
Position/philosophy statement I believe that universal public education is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. Therefore it needs to be protected and nourished.
I was an educator all my working life. I have 36 years of experience in the public schools. I served as an elementary and middle school teacher and finished my public school career as an elementary school principal. While I served as principal of Pisgah Forest Elementary it was a North Carolina School of Excellence for four consecutive years. In 2004 it was chosen as a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Following my retirement from the Transylvania County Schools, I served as Director of Education at Brevard College. My responsibilities included teaching curriculum courses, supervising and evaluating student teachers, and working with the head of the education department to achieve state and national accreditation for the program.

I am completing my 8th year on the Transylvania County Board of Education. I serve as the board's Vice-chairperson.
1.Years of inadequate funding by the N.C. General Assembly. I would refer anyone who questions the accuracy of this statement to research the Leandro Case and the subsequent court ordered study by the Ed West firm and its recommendations to the court.

2. Attempts by many politicians to weaken and dismantle the public school system in North Carolina.

3. Growing re-segregation of our schools as politicians funnel more funds to voucher programs and charter schools.
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Research has consistently shown its value in helping poor and minority students succeed in school.
Yes, many of the ones listed below have already been implemented in Transylvania County. 1. A School Resource Officer in every school. 2. Controlled access for school entrances. 3. Strengthening school entrance access points and using video monitoring of those points.. 4. Strong anti-bullying and anti-racism policies that are consistently enforced. 5. A means for students/parents/community members to quickly alert SROs and school administration of potential problems.
1. Lack of a professional salary. The starting pay for NC teachers is $35,000 ($38,500 if the teacher has a Masters Degree).

2. In Transylvania County the lack of affordable housing is a critical issue.

3. Diminishing respect for teaching as a profession, particularly by politicians at both state and national levels.
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Age (optional) 58
Contact Phone (828) 884-5015
email address tlbmccoy@gmail.com
I was first elected in to the Board of Education in 2008. I served as vice chair from 2009 to 2012. I have served as chair since 2012. I have served on several committees including the School Health Advisory Council and the Bond Construction Committee. I am actively involved in drafting the budget for the school system each year and have been involved in negotiating the budget with the county commissioners for the last twelve years. A new Career and Technical Education wing was built at Rosman High School during the time I have been on the board. Our citizens voted to pass a bond referendum to build and/or renovate Brevard High and Rosman High and Rosman Middle School in 2018. I have been involved in every stage of the bond process from the vote to the design and development of the plans and will continue to be involved in the construction phase. I hope to use this broad range of experience to continue serving our students, parents, and Transylvania County Schools community for four more years.
The social-emotional health of our students is the primary challenge we face. Children who develop strong social and emotional skills tend to learn and perform well academically. While school is the place to provide an education we must first provide a safe and nurturing environment. The need for fast, reliable and affordable internet in every home is another challenge brought to the forefront because of virtual learning. Ten percent of our students do not have adequate access to internet. The students with inadequate internet are at a distinct disadvantage in the current instructional environment. The school system will work with those students to assist them so they will not fall behind. Adequate broadband access would better provide what is needed not just during the pandemic but for the future of education which will very likely include some on-line instruction. It is vitally important that we recruit and retain qualified teachers. Our teachers are required to perform a tremendous amount of responsibilities without sufficient pay. Our school system cannot function without the qualified and devoted teachers who educate our students. The certified teacher salary schedule doesn’t provide an incentive for teachers to remain in the profession. In Transylvania County, there is a lack of affordable housing. Our county is beautiful and offers many opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors but this is not always sufficient to attract teachers to our county.
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Public pre-K is a 10 on the 1-10 scale of importance to student success. Public pre-K provides an opportunity for students to begin building the academic foundation for their K-12 education. It is important to understand the stage of development for individual children in a pre-K classroom. Pre-K allows for focused attention on each child to help them prepare for the next step in education. The assessment of cognitive skills can be advantageous to the kindergarten teachers. Children need an opportunity to learn social skills and how to relate to one another before academic requirements take a more important role in the assessments required in public education. The pre-K classroom also allows parents an opportunity to observe their child in the school setting and to guide and help their child grow in areas as they prepare for kindergarten. Pre-K is also an economic development tool. Young families are attracted to our school system because of the availability of public pre-k, which in turn drives economic growth in our community. The advantages of public pre-K are lost if it is funded at the expense of cutting current funding of K-12 education. It is an additional resource providing additional opportunities for our young children as they prepare for kindergarten and their time in the classrooms of our public schools.
As we begin the 2020-2021 school year the safety of our students is paramount. We have a safety plan in place to allow for in classroom instruction. The plan includes temperature readings before entering the building, frequent hand washing, maintain social distancing in and out of the classroom, no assemblies. These are just a few of the safety measures being implemented. In Transylvania County, we have an excellent relationship with our Public Health officials and we are working with them to access the needs and address concerns relative to school reentry under the current conditions. We cannot forget the ongoing safety needs for our students. In Transylvania County we have a School Resource Officer is each school. Our county commissioners have worked with us for several years to provide funding for this vital presence in our schools. We must continue to advocate for funding of these officers at the state and local level. Our community has also recognized the need for new and renovated facilities which will enhance the safety of our schools. The design of our newest schools promotes safety first. Students cannot learn if they are not safe and we are doing everything possible to keep our students safe.
I believe recruiting and retaining qualified teachers is one of the challenges we face as a school system. We are fortunate to have wonderful teachers in our school system, but we need more support from the state to pay our teachers and create a fairer salary schedule. The annual salary for a teacher with 15 years of experience is $50,000 and their salary doesn’t increase until they have 25 years of experience. Ten years is a long span without a pay raise. Economic development in our county is also a key issue in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers. Particularly with the currently struggling economy, it is key to have a strong local economy that will attract teachers to bring their families and stay in our community. Our school system helps drive that economic development by attracting businesses and families who want their children to receive a high quality education. However, the school system cannot drive economic development alone and seeing economic growth in our county would certainly assist in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers.
Age (optional) 68
Contact Phone (828) 553-6256
email address alice4boe@gmail.com
Position/philosophy statement I believe that excellent public schools are the cornerstone of both a strong democracy and a vital community.
I was a school psychologist for 35 years in Transylvania County Schools, serving every school and every grade level (Pre-K through 12). The NC School Psychology Association awarded me the Presidential Award of Honor in 2002 in recognition of my advocacy on behalf of children. I presented papers on Grade Retention and Family Engagement at state and national school psychology conferences. I am on the Advisory Committee for the school psychology program at Western Carolina University. I am an adjunct professor at Brevard College, teaching an Educational Psychology class once a year.

During my first term on the Transylvania County Board of Education, I worked on the school bond campaign, early childhood programs, teacher recruitment and retention, attendance policy, supports for struggling students and their families, and improving the relationship between the school board and the county commissioners. I represent the Board of Education on the Community Relations Board, the Get Set Early Childhood Initiative, and the Blue Zone Project. I am an active member of the NAACP Education Committee - a group that works closely with school system administrators on issues of equity and social justice.

I am a product of public schools. My three sons attended public school and public universities. My oldest son is a high school science teacher.

Our greatest challenge right now is the pandemic and how our school system should respond in the best interests of all our stakeholders. Our school board recently voted for Plan B. In doing so, we prioritized the needs of students and families, and gave parents a choice between in-person and virtual instruction. We care deeply for the welfare of our teachers and staff, but public schools exist to serve the children in a community. The pandemic may also affect our ADM (average daily membership), and that is the basis of our funding. If the number of enrolled students declines more than 2% ( approximately 70 students), Transylvania County Schools will lose funding and teacher positions.

Another big challenge is funding for traditional public schools. At all levels of government we are begging for every dollar. It's unseemly and it's wrong. Per pupil expenditures in NC are below pre-recession levels. Teacher salaries are among the worst in the country. The federal government and our state government prioritize charter schools and vouchers.

Teacher recruitment and retention is also a challenge. In NC, teachers are paid poorly, their benefits and supports have eroded, and they are disrespected and disregarded by the NC General Assembly. Teacher education programs report a steep decline in students. If NC doesn't support traditional public education, schools will not be able to attract high-quality teachers and provide high-quality educational programs.
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Pre-K programs are extremely important, especially for children who come from homes that don’t have good resources. Kindergarten is no longer an introduction to school and group learning. Rather, it is what first grade was when I went to school in the 1950’s. Children are expected to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic in kindergarten. Children are expected to already know their letters and numbers, shapes and colors. They are expected to have group learning skills and social skills. Children who are not ready for our new version of kindergarten are starting behind and may never catch up. In these circumstances, Pre-K is necessary to set all children up for success in school. Every dollar spent on Pre-K programs saves seven dollars down the road! Dollars that would be spent on remedial programs, special education programs, grade retention, drop-out prevention services, programs for juvenile delinquency, and social welfare programs are instead spent on preparing children for success in school and so in life.
During the pandemic, on Plan B, we must strictly apply the safety guidelines given to us by state government. Students who cannot or will not comply with the safety guidelines will have to receive instruction virtually rather than in-person at school. Offering an in-person option is a choice that protects those students who are in difficult home environments or do not have reliable access to the internet.

The renovations for Brevard High School and Rosman Middle/High include many features that provide additional security for students. In all our schools, entrances are locked and monitored and the school office is located at the entrance. We have a full-time School Resource Officer at every school.

The Transylvania County school buses have extended stop arms and video cameras. Several buses have seat belts.
At the local level, Transylvania County Schools has had a teacher recruitment and retention project for over a year. The teacher survey indicated that the number one issue is the teacher supplement. The budget request this year includes a raise in the supplement from 8.5 to 9%. Other top issues included instructional planning time, strong administrative support, professional respect, and support in handling student conduct.

At the state level, teacher pay is the biggest issue. In the past 10 years, teachers have lost ground in pay scale, benefits, and programs. The Teaching Fellows program is much reduced. Teachers are not paid for advanced degrees. Raises between years 25 and 30 are non-existent. Insurance costs to teachers have increased. Longevity pay was folded into salaries, and the North Carolina General Assembly called it a raise.

The ongoing lack of respect for teachers at the state level is an on-going problem Teachers leave North Carolina public schools because they get paid more in neighboring states and because of the lack of respect and attention.