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

The Henderson County Board of Education is the local governing body of the County Public School System. Its members are elected in non-partisan races at large and serve staggered 4-year terms.The 7-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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    Michael Absher

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    Florence B. Allbaugh

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    Ervin Bazzle

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    Robert M. Bridges

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    Stacey Caskey

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    Blair Craven

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    Walter Doughty

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    Kathy G. Revis

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)

Age (optional) 30
Contact Phone (828) 702-4752
email address mabsher@hcpsnc.org
I am running for re-election for the school board because I feel that we need to continue to have a strong advocate for staff, students, parents, and the community. Over the past 4 years of serving we have been able to get social workers, new Edneyville, new HHS, and have been able to have a 10 year construction plan in place to update all the schools in the county. I also had the opportunity to be able to select the next superintendent which is one of the most important things a school board member ever gets to do.
Safety, Buildings (Updates or Construction), Advocating to State and Federal for Education
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Pre K is very important, it helps a lot of youth get a jump on education and it also allows the school system to get a jump incase of any issues that may have come up.
Especially during the COVID 19 Situation, I feel that researching and asking options from staff and the health community is very important since I am not a health official we have to listen to the state and health department on what their expectations are rather we agree with them or not. I personally think we have the best as possible since we have never been through this before, I might not personally agree with everything, but I feel our job is to the system. I have a lot of ideas, especially with making virtual better and will advocate for in person learning as much as possible.

Other priorities that I like to see happen is more feedback (from staff, students, parents, and the community). I also like to see more social workers and nurses in more schools at all possible. I also feel as we are supposed to be fiscally responsible we need to look at programs that aren’t working and working and reevaluate these areas to use money more responsibly, if we do this we might not need to ask for an increase, besides salary and benefits. I also like to see our school buildings to be safer and updated, there is a lot of items on the repair list that has been there over 5 years.
I think several reasons why it is hard to recruit or retain teachers is because 1 they don't feel listened too, 2 is pay. We also have to advocate to adjust or eliminate state testing and let our administrators and teachers since they went to school to have control on how to evaluate our students and teachers. If charter and private schools can do it why cant public schools do it.
Contact Phone (843) 422-1190
email address fallbaugh78@gmail.com
Position/philosophy statement • Equality & respect • Create opportunity for success in non-traditional and traditional educational programs. • Educational funding
Over the last 30 years, my career has taken me many places, from working as a public school teacher and later transitioning into Montessori education, to starting my own non-profit organization, Florence Nightingale Global Health, aimed at providing free medical and dental care, as well as expanding educational opportunities in the Philippines and Mexico. In addition, I have been a dedicated Rotarian for 20+ years, working with programs including the Gift of Life and Rotary’s Youth Exchange. In 2019, I completed my Master’s Degree in Curriculum Instruction.

Through these diverse experiences, I have gained a broad understanding of what it means to lead and to listen. I’ve witnessed at both a local and international level, the importance of education inside and outside the classroom. Providing kids with opportunities to be curious, creative, and grow in their own interests is just as important as teaching them math, science, history, and English. An education doesn’t just mean one thing, rather, it means a well-rounded experience to learn and understand the world we live in.

If given the opportunity to serve on the Henderson County school board, I would use my experiences to foster an education system that works for all our students and their unique needs.

There are many challenges facing education today. The three greatest issues include accessibility to resources & technology, the need for family & community support, and limited funding.
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Pre-K is very important because it establishes the educational foundation for each child. It is the time a child learns the basics of learning. Children learn the concrete lessons such as language, math, practical life, sensorial lessons and developing fine motor skills (alphabet, sorting, cutting, writing, pencil grip, manners, and more). After the child has mastered the basics, they are able to move up to more abstract lessons such as (patterns, geometric progression, writing words & sentences and comprehension). We must allow the child to develop at their own pace. "Follow the Child" as they are ready to progress forward.
Public pre-K is essential for student success. Research has demonstrated that access to early education promotes educational success through a child’s natural inquisitive nature and desire to learn. Teachers/Guides follow the child’s progress by creating appealing lessons. This is the stage which Maria Montessori calls the “Absorbent Mind.” By increasing access to pre-K resources, children can be provided a strong foundation in order to set them up for success in their educational and personal lives.
My time in and out of the classroom has shown me how even now, the profession is still viewed as something mundane, rather than an important role that largely shapes society. The bottom line—teaching needs more respect and support. This includes an access to resources. Oftentimes, teachers’ pay out-of-pocket for basic supplies to equip their classrooms. Teachers don’t just serve as educators; they serve as mentors and leaders for their communities.

Another issue facing the recruitment and retaining of teachers is the lack of diversity and representation. Student populations are diverse and this needs to be reflected in their teachers. By creating and fostering a more diverse and inclusive environment, students and teachers alike can benefit.

Age (optional) 71
Contact Phone (828) 697-4327
email address ebazzle@ebazzlelaw.com
Position/philosophy statement I strongly believe that an equal opportunity to a public education is vital to maintaining and securing our democratic way of life.
My education and military background provide the discipline and training to effectively serve. My active participation in business and civic activities in our community for over 30 years demonstrates a sincere desire to serve everyone. My experience as a former school board member, coach, member of the business community and parent, provides a resource of experiences that allows me to work with others to ensure that each child is safe and receives the best education possible. My background and experience has taught me the value of cooperation and working with others to enhance the ability of our County to obtain and retain the very best teachers and administrators in all stages of the educational system. My experience working with parents, businesses, elected officials and teaching professionals will help me understand the current challenges faced in the education system and enable me to face new challenges with the energy and determination to do what is best for our students in all cases.
1. Provide a safe environment in which to learn by adopting and incorporating available early warning systems. We need to also train and encourage all teachers and administrators to be ready to meet the continuing and evolving threats to our student and facilities.

2. Provide adequate financial support to recruit, continually educate and keep the very best teachers, counselors and administrators in our educational system.

3. Make sure that each student is given the necessary help to reach his or her goal regardless of their economic status or individual ability to become a useful member of his or her community.
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It is critical that each of our students enter public schools with a sound educational basis. The capacity for growth during the ages of 3-5 is enormous. Preparing these young girls and boys for entry into our schools at the K level on an equal level, will greatly determine how well our students do in the early stages of their education. We need to explore the possibilities of working with all groups that provide any type of educational program to children in this age group to insure that the effort is uniform and designed to prepare the children for a worthwhile educational experience.
In addition to the steps to address our current health crisis, we need to address the physical and mental health needs of all our students at all ages on a system-wide basis. All of our students, teachers and administrators must be able to attend and participate in school activities in a safe and modern facility that maximizes their security and well being. We need to continue to address the value of treating everyone with dignity and respect and actively teach and model these ideas in classes and activities.
We need to continue to cultivate and grow our culture that values education and those involved in the teaching profession. We do this not only by advocating that they receive the salaries (both starting salaries but also increasing salaries as they continue their teaching years) necessary to be competitive in a world wide teaching arena but also by insuring that we do everything we can to encourage professional development for our teachers and administrators through additional funding for continuing education and specialized training. Advanced degrees and certifications should be afforded additional compensation.

We need to publicly and repeatedly honor our teachers to show how vital their work is to not only our students but also our community.
Age (optional) 73
Contact Phone (828) 692-8725
Position/philosophy statement The school system should provide the resources to challenge students to reach their max potential on the path chosen, in a safe and secure setting.
As a former educator serving as teacher in 1-12, assistant principal in 7-9, and guidance counselor in 7-12 throughout 30 years, my experiences would be an asset as a school board member. I’ve supervised lunchroom and custodial, and coordinated a fleet of buses. Being familiar with the educational process from the primary grades through college gives me an avenue in developing a positive school environment for the students, teachers, and staff of Henderson County.
The challenges facing our school system are abundant, especially during this time following the issues with Covid-19. The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be important. With COVID-19 on us, the administration, teachers and aides, counselors, nurses, custodial staff, lunch room workers, and bus drivers have all stepped up to meet the challenges facing the health and safety of our students and schools now and in planning for the future. This unprecedented time will require changes we are not yet aware of, and it’s important our board of education steps up with supportive leadership. Secondly, Henderson County should continue improvements in safety within our schools by providing and retaining SROs, providing for one-way entry with identification, increased camera use, and support for the Report It, Don’t Ignore It (K-5) and Say Something (6-12) programs. It’s important that our school administration and Board be pro-active in assuring that all school properties are safe, secure, and healthy. These measures should be evaluated and updated on a regular basis to insure all students, personnel, parents, and public are aware of any changes as they occur. Finally, the third challenge I see is for the continued financial support from our State Legislature and local entities. School systems must be able to make improvements as needs arise. Our teachers and students must be equipped with necessary supplies and materials for the technical age we are in.
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On a scale of 1-10, I’d give public pre-K a 9, as funds are available. It’s my understanding that public pre-K is designed for those four-year old's whose families are at or below 75% of the State Median Income level or possibly a small percentage above that level if they are developmentally disabled, have limited English proficiency, have a chronic health condition, or an educational need, and certain military families. All of these are worthy reasons to begin working with these young children to increase their development emotionally, socially, physically, linguistically, and cognitively.
As to any additional measures our schools/district should take to protect students, I have none over and above those mentioned in question 2.
The recruitment and retention of qualified teachers is paramount to the success of our school/district and is dependent upon a welcoming atmosphere by both administration and staff, from state and local monies that shows the value of the job of preparing these students to be the leaders and workers in our community, and affordable housing.
Age (optional) 54
Contact Phone (828) 318-4876
Position/philosophy statement The N.C. constitution provides for a free and equitable education for all children. Our community is only as valuable as our public school system.
My name is Stacey Caskey and I'm running for a seat on the Henderson County Board of Education. I'm a National Board Certified Teacher with three Master's degrees in education--elementary education, mathematics, and college counseling. Along with my husband, Brian, I own Biltmore Tutoring, employing fourteen tutors and working with hundreds of area students each year. I've been chosen Teacher of the Year twice, in two different school systems, and was selected from 75,000 NYC teachers to "open the school year" in 1997. I believe that I bring a unique perspective to the Henderson County School Board, as I have expertise in grant writing, selecting, and writing curriculum for grades kindergarten through eight, as well as college and career counseling. I'm a strong advocate for countywide pre-kindergarten and will work diligently to see Henderson County set the standard for education in North Carolina.

We have the chance in 2020 to create a School Board that combines the strengths of key community leaders. A well-rounded committee of members who have expertise in infrastructure, budgeting, safety, and best practices in education would provide our students with the finest opportunity for success in their future vocational careers or college.
I think it would be irresponsible to negate the effect that COVID-19 has had on our students and faculty. We gave our teachers and administrators a few days to miraculously redesign what school looks like for our 13,000 students. In less than a week, a routine was established, innovative lessons were created for virtual learning, devices were loaned to students, internet hotspots were purchased, and free meals were provided for those in need. We forgot about all our current divisiveness and rolled up our sleeves as a school system and a community to get the job done. That being said, we know that learning loss is real. We know that our students rely on our teachers for daily interaction and nurturing. The huge gap of time away from traditional schooling will have some adverse effects and we will all need to think about how to help all of our students catch up in the upcoming school years.

Safety is always a challenge. Added to the usual concerns, we also have to rethink the way our students are clustered together in classrooms, lunchrooms, and on the sports field.

I truly believe the greatest challenge and the one hurdle we have yet to leap is providing pre-kindergarten for all of our students. Research has proven that students who have access to early literacy programs outperform their peers by grade three, but we have yet to prioritize this in Henderson County. We owe it to our students to raise the bar and bring North Carolina to the front of the pack in education.
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Candidate has not yet responded.
After the Parkland shooting, I think our school safety team did an excellent job reevaluating the needs of each of our schools in the county. They added resource officers, made structural and procedural changes at the front entrances, and created multiple ways of reporting any possible threats to our children. I would like to see our schools follow the Safe School Initiative created after the tragedy in Columbine. In this report, the U.S. Secret Service talks about the dangers of lockdown drills, describing a far safer way to get the children out of the building quickly and out of harm's way. If anyone has ever participated in a school code red drill, they will understand why we need to reconsider how we handle lockdowns and credible threats.

I also think we need to invest in security cameras by each of the side and back doors in school buildings. Every door to the outside is an entrance to the inside. A security camera that feeds into the front office and sounds a buzzer when any other door is opened would allow office staff to know immediately if someone has entered the building.

School resource officers are imperative as an integral part of each school community. While we've increased school social workers, we need to have one in each school to deal with the many issues our kids face. We also need to have a nurse on duty in each school. Teachers and administrators can't just pray that a child doesn't get hurt on a Tuesday or Thursday when the nurse is at another school.
Henderson County is blessed with outstanding teaching professionals. Unfortunately, they are far behind many states in teacher compensation and that leaves us in a position where it is hard to recruit excellent teachers when staff members retire. Neighboring states pay higher salaries, neighboring counties have higher supplements, and the cost of housing in our area is high. To my knowledge, not one teacher at Mills River Elementary lives in the town of Mills River. Workforce housing would be a huge attractant for highly qualified teachers. While we can hope that our North Carolina General Assembly brings back pay for advanced degrees and decides not to keep our teachers and staff in a holding pattern while the budget is negotiated, the reality is that most teachers I know have at least one other job. This is in addition to being at their schools from 7:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. (or later) and then going home to grade papers and write lesson plans. Our teachers need to be respected for the hardworking professionalism they bring to school each day. They need to be reimbursed for all the money they take out of their own pockets for supplies. More than anything, they need to be appreciated for being that steady caregiver for many of our children.
Age (optional) 41
email address blaircraven44@gmail.com
Position/philosophy statement I believe education should be inclusive for all children to help them become productive, responsible and caring citizens.
Having been educated by the Henderson County Public Schools I can say I am a part of this community heart and soul. The past 4 years as a Henderson County School Board member has prepared me to understand the challenges that our school system faces. We are in unprecedented times and I believe that we need leaders on the board that fully understand the challenges that are ahead. When elected as Chairman by my fellow board members this past December, I was honored and ready to take on the task. I have led the Board through the decisions we had to make in response to COVID 19 and the state level orders in response to it. I am well versed at working with other local leaders to ensure the students of our school system get the best this community can give them. As a financial advisor by trade, I am constantly focused on making sure our school system makes financially sound decisions. Also, as a minority candidate, I feel as though I have a unique understanding of the experiences a multitude of our students have.
I believe that one of the greatest challenges that any public school system faces is funding. Funding concerns feed into the second challenge we face; the aging school buildings many of our children go to each day. We have to make sure we are wise in facility prioritizing. 2020 has brought about a new wave of challenges for which nobody was prepared. Henderson County Public Schools now will have to navigate how to reopen schools within the realm of what NC officials allow with COVID 19 in mind.
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First and foremost we need to make sure our schools are inclusive places for children of all races, religions and economic statuses. We have started this process by hiring our first school social workers, psychologists, school guidance counselors to help meet children where they are physically and emotionally. The next is ensuring our buildings and campuses are as secure as possible. We started this process by creating double point entry systems, by increasing security cameras and SRO presence. We also hired a School Safety Director to be in charge of ensuring we can prioritize this as we continue in the future. COVID-19 has caused us to look at our cleaning efforts and I believe we need to continue working with our Department of Public Health to make sure students and staff alike are safe as we find our way forward.
Henderson County Public Schools actively recruits high level talent at a few different universities. It is my opinion that we need to branch out our efforts to increase the recruitment of highly qualified candidates who better represent the percentage of students we have who are male and also those of color. I am proud of the quality of staff and faculty HCPS employs and I do not believe we have to sacrifice quality in order to branch out and gain interest for new talent. I am committed to continuing to advocate with our state leaders, urging them to pass the budget, so our teachers and staff can get better compensation for the work they do.
After serving students and families with my fellow team members for over 30 years, I decided to move to WNC to complete the next chapter of life. With all my experience, success in education operations; pupil transportation and child nutrition, and the honor of being published by the Illinois Association of School Business Officials and School Bus Fleet magazine, I felt it was my responsibility to give back to my community and the students served. They are not only our future today but, our tomorrows too. My strengths afforded to the HCPS School Board would be: a. Organizational skills, b. Broad listening and analytical skills, c. understanding the whole picture and not focus on a specific task, d. render decisions based on the overall good of the school district knowing the answer is not always the best for all.
1. Individually and collectively gain an appreciation for humanity, accepting everyone as they are and for whom they are. 2. Meet student and household needs essential to create a foundation for learning. Student growth not only depends on what is gained in the classroom but, increased by adequate nutrition, supported by learning enrichment outside the classroom, and encompassed by the community. 3. Explore out of the box teaching and creative learning techniques to gain success in student learning and corporate recording documentation to show growth never stops learning.
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I believe the importance of pre-K education is essential for student success. Children always benefit from an early start to the education process. Our dedicated educators are continually challenged with an equal accountability in teaching students from various competency levels and backgrounds despite the effects and influences life in society has molded them into at their beginning levels of learning capabilities. Pre-K education allows the education system to become a potter in molding each child into a work of art.
Student security is an essential element of the learning environment. We, as adult leaders, need to establish procedures and protocols to create the best possible scenario to set the stage for student learning. Unfortunately, we cannot answer all the ways how an intruder could invade our educational facilities. Our schools, children and adults together, need to understand if we see something that, it is okay to say something. Historical events research has taught us triggers leading to past catastrophes were visible. Our social media instant society lends to our children and adult stresses and needs to be respected as warning labels.
1. Value -Our veteran teachers as well as our new recruits need to know Henderson County values them as an individual and an educator. Value to their commitment to the personal sacrifices in establishing foundations for learning and creating benchmarks their students find attainable, is the greatest value they offer to our school district. 2. Support - Our educators collectively need supportive measures personally and professionally. Their colleagues and administration needs to have keen sense of the individual and offer accolades and a listening ear and shoulder of support, one professional to another. Secondly, professional education keeps those who help build lifelong learners, continue as lifelong learners themselves. We continue to grow with every new day. 3. Growth Opportunities - Our school district should collaborate with all facets of our learning environment in growing our own internal educators into new leaders in the growth of our students, professional educators, and leadership, together in creating a winning team. 4. Compensation is a true value as well and within the best efforts of the administrative leadership team, strives to support this value in wrapping up the complete package in our value to capable, competent, creative, and committed qualified teachers.
Age (optional) 63
Contact Phone (828) 674-9981
email address kgrevis3@gmail.com
I have been an educator for 4I years! I began my educational career as a high school math teacher, then commenced my school administrative career as a high school assistant principal, then an elementary principal, and lastly, a high school principal. I served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in Henderson County Public Schools for over 17 years and retired three years ago after completing over 37 years of K-12 public education service. During the past 9 years, I have also been an Adjunct Professor in the School of Education at Gardner-Webb University, where I continue to teach in the Master’s in Executive Leadership Program, which is a K-12 graduate and licensure program for school administrators. Upon retirement from the school system, I also spent 2 years working in early childhood education with our local WCCA Head Start/ NC PreK program. I currently serve as a Trustee for Blue Ridge Community College. I have earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Secondary Math Education and a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership. Having educational experience from pre-K through graduate school gives me the ability to contribute from a broad perspective as a school board member. Additionally, I have 3 grandchildren who are students in the school system, which makes me keenly interested in the continued quality of education for the children and families we serve.
My answers to this question would have looked quite different before the school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Going forward, I think the biggest issues are (1) how to transition our students and staff back to school safely and securing the necessary funding needed to make changes in the way we will educate our students, (2) Making plans to reduce the inequity that a “learn from home” program creates for economically disadvantaged children and special needs students, and (3) how to continue to hire and retain quality teachers and school administrators.
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Research clearly indicates that one of the most critical time periods in child development and learning is birth to age 5. High quality, public pre-K programs for all children would be beneficial for their overall growth and development. However, for children of poverty and special needs children, quality pre-K programs are more than very important; they are essential. Quality early childhood programs help level the playing field for these children and are essential in providing foundational early learning skills to support school readiness.
Again, my answer to this question would be quite different before the COVID-19 pandemic. While we must continue to strive to make our schools safe from outside intruders gaining access to our school buildings, we also must make sure that measures are in place to properly sanitize our facilities and to develop protocols for children and staff that ensure social distancing and healthy procedures as they learn and play together. This will be a challenge that our school system leaders must work through, in conjunction with other community organizations, in planning for the opening of schools in the fall.
There remains a shortage of quality teachers, particularly in the areas of secondary science, math, K-12 self-contained special needs classrooms, and dual language programs. There is also an issue of attracting and retaining quality, experienced teachers in high poverty schools. Perhaps an additional supplement or hiring bonus would be appropriate for those hard-to-staff areas and schools. Additionally, we need to make sure we are staying competitive with surrounding school systems in terms of local supplements.