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Brunswick County Board of Education District 4

The Brunswick County Board of Education is the local governing body of the County Public School System. Its district members are elected in partisan races countywide 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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    Steven Barger
    (Rep)

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) 34 y/o
Twitter @stevenbarger_
Position/philosophy statement To bring Trust, Transparency, and Teamwork back to Brunswick County Schools and restoring the voice of students, teachers, and parents.
I have been serving my community for 15 or more years in various roles. I have been a volunteer in many civic organizations, including coaching youth sports and working as a camp counselor. As a career, I have and still work in emergency services as a career Firefighter/ Paramedic. My emergency service experience has spanned many years in both the private and public sectors. Currently, I serve as the Mayor Pro Tempore for the City of Boiling Spring Lakes, NC. I have experience in making at times unpopular but needed decisions as well as having forethought in looking ahead at future needs.
To be accessible and visible in the community, working with the people you represent and going to extracurricular activities, reading in the schools, or communicating in informal meetings with staff and parents. Our school board needs to listen and observe the concerns of our community while working for everyone.
The state needs to address and find a solution to the stalemate on teacher raises. The politics of Raleigh shouldn’t have the direct effects that it has on our schools. The school board not advocating the needs of our schools to our state leaders compounds this. We need to advocate for our staff and students so they can stay in school. The work in Raleigh needs to be done via open dialogue with our state representatives. In the short term, the Brunswick County School Board can institute higher supplements that can offset the salary shortfall. This can be achieved by merit-based bonuses and raises that rewards our excellent teachers on many achievable items within all positions
I have personally spoken to many teachers, as well as having daily interactions with parents. Teachers feel unappreciated and believe their ideas or requests to fix problems are not heard. This is leading to very low morale and satisfaction among teachers and staff in Brunswick County. As elected officials, our greatest gift can be, at times, just simply lending a listening ear. I plan to address this with supplement increases, open communication with all school system stakeholders, and the passion for improving our teaching environments. When our teachers enjoy coming to work, our students can learn more efficiently, and our county can grow and compete with neighboring areas.
Very unimportant
Somewhat unimportant
Neither important nor unimportant
Somewhat important
Very important
I believe Pre - K education is essential for children. Introducing them to formal education prepares students for kindergarten and will allow them to succeed. Public school Pre-K is a much-needed program, as it will enable children who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend the opportunity to succeed. Our county doesn't receive state funding for these programs, but as funds allow, I would like to introduce them.
Recruiting and retaining teachers is a very complex issue. In Brunswick County, we need to address teacher pay by increasing supplements. Local supplements will be a good start, but we need to have an open dialogue with our state legislators to help improve teacher pay that is currently held up in a partisan budget debate. Improving the teaching environment by allowing teachers to innovative in the classrooms as well as allowing for adequate teaching supplies will make a huge difference. Particular subject areas are becoming more difficult to retain or hire qualified personal. Our school board needs to look at partnering with teaching institutions to assist teachers and teacher assistants who want to pursue these certifications. Investing in our staff will pay dividends for our students.