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Dare County Board of Education District 4

The Dare County Board of Education is the local governing body of the County Public School System. Its members represent districts but are elected county-wide in partisan races 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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    Mary Ellon Ballance

Biographical Information

What do you believe is the most important responsibility of a school board member and how will your skills and experience help you perform this responsibility?

What are the current challenges facing public education in Dare County? What action(s) would you take to address these issues?

What will you do to recruit and retain qualified teachers in our public school system?

Age (optional) 48
Contact Phone (252) 305-2685
The most important responsibility of a school board member is to create and implement policies that will allow student growth and preparedness for their future as well as support and encourage administration and teachers to be prepared with the tools and training necessary to do that. I also feel it is important to be a voice for the community that I serve and advocate for their needs as well as the needs of our students and staff.

As a current member of the Dare County Board of Education, I have had the opportunity to learn so much about how to be an effective board member and how to work with board members and central office staff to create and implement change that allows for students and staff to thrive.
I think the current challenge is how we are going to meet the learning needs of all of our students during this unprecedented time in our country. Other challenges I see as significant is how we train our teachers and administrators to give them the tools neccessary to provide that education. The action I would take to address these issues is to continue to work hard to be accessible to district leadership and staff as well as the community to keep open communication and dialogue while working through all aspects of student growth and learning.
Currently, Dare County advertises open positions in a way that attracts quality candidates from across the state and even across the country. Our Human Resource Department, with the support of the Board, often attends career fairs associated with colleges and universities to seek the best of newly certified teachers. The Board also supports the Human Resource Department's rigorous interview process to ensure we are hiring the best candidate. This process often includes staff, parents, and community members.

Because Dare County currently has one of the highest teacher retention rates in the state, I would continue to support the existing programs we currently provide. Some of these include, providing a certified mentor for the first three years of employment, teacher housing, new teacher orientation and growth opportunities. The District also facilitates an emerging leaders program that is designed to prepare current staff to assume leadership roles across the district. I would support a continued effort by the Board in conjunction with District Leadership to build on these programs ensuring that all of our teachers and administrators trust and believe in those efforts to provide opportunities for professional growth and development.