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Rowan-Salisbury Schools Bd of Education Seat 03 (EAST)

The board of education will consist of seven members. All terms will be for four years with the terms staggered so that as nearly equal to one-half as possible will expire every two years. All elections are nonpartisan and are to be held at the time of the November general election in even-numbered years. Each seat shall appear separately on the ballot, but all qualified voters of the entire county are eligible to vote on all the seats.

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  • Brian Hightower

  • Candidate picture

    Kathy McDuffie Sanborn

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?

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Age (optional) 61
Contact Phone (980) 234-2336
email address
Position/philosophy statement Public schools must include all children. The needs of all students must be the driving force behind all decisions in public school.
Served 32 years in public education, including 21 years as a teacher of students with disabilities; three as high school assistant principal, seven as Director of Secondary Education and Career and Technical Education; in 3 NC counties. Returned after retirement: four interim principalships (2 elementary,1 middle school and 1 high school). Served as Interim Director of Exceptional Children--twice! Developed curriculum for Rowan County Crosby Scholars, community-based college access program, for 6-12th graders. I am a good listener, a willing learner, and a strong communicator. I have the courage to make tough decisions, while respecting all opinions and thoughts.
STUDENT NEEDS COME FIRST. Throughout my career in education, I’ve always based my decisions on what is best for the students involved and how a decision would impact their lives, both now and in the future. When making a decision, I gather all information, look at all sides and assess all options before determining what I believe is in the best interest of the students. The needs of our students, regardless of all other needs or wants, must be the driving force behind our decisions in public schools. Teachers and other school-based personnel should be empowered to make decisions that meet the needs of the students in their specific community while supporting the district goals and focus. In a nutshell, I want to make decisions that are best for the students as we align the education of our children with the future social, emotional and economic needs of Rowan County and its citizens.

BEING A GOOD LISTENER. Listening to and learning from all stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, administrators (both school and district), other school staff and community members, is an important responsibility of a member of the School Board. Once I gather information from all stakeholders, I must base all decisions on what is best for the students involved and how these decisions impact the community. School Board members must be willing to make tough decisions that are in the best interest of the students.
NO STONE UNTURNED. Funding the classroom at appropriate levels is a critical need. To me, funding the classroom includes providing materials for appropriate curriculum and instruction, providing appropriate technology tools, providing appropriate training for all staff who serve our children, and providing the best personnel to meet the needs of the students being served. In hiring, we need to ensure we are competitive and can recruit the best staff to serve our students. This could include community-based incentives for staff who are new to our community.

ALL FUNDING SOURCES. The Board must task the district leaders to look at all funding sources and determine how best to utilize all available funds. This should be an ongoing discussion, not just during the budget cycle.The Board must ensure that the community and community leaders understand the needs and the cost of providing an appropriate education as well as a safe and healthy environment for all students. Seeking grants and alternative funding sources should also be a focus for the district.
ONGOING COMMUNICATION. I would assess teacher satisfaction by talking with individual and groups of teachers to acquire a better understanding of their concerns, thoughts and ideas. I would review teacher retention and attendance data because both can be an indication of teacher satisfaction. Providing anonymous surveys is another way to collect information regarding teacher satisfaction, especially if you include open-ended questions. Teachers must know and believe that this information will be reviewed and considered in a constructive manner when decisions around teacher satisfaction issues are being addressed.

DATA DRIVEN. Professional development should be data-driven based on the needs of the students and the skill levels and needs of the teachers. Professional development should be multipronged, not one size fits all…focused on the needs of the students, the needs of the staff, the interests of the staff and ways to address new expectations (curricular, instructional, mandates).
Very unimportant
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STUDENT CONFIDENCE AND POSITIVE SELF-ESTEEM CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Many of our students come from families who are unable to provide basic school readiness support or opportunities for their preschool children. Pre-K programs can target specific needs or gaps children have and begin addressing these gaps before Kindergarten. Strong pre-K provides school readiness opportunities necessary for success in Kindergarten. Kindergarten is a very critical year and can set the tone for a child’s entire school career. If a child can enter Kindergarten with confidence and a positive self-esteem related to learning, along with a strong base of hard and soft skills needed in an educational setting, he/she will have a greater chance of being successful in school. Kindergarten success has a positive effect on the child’s school career as well as his/her life after school.
VALUE AND RESPECT. To most, teaching is a calling but even with a calling, teachers want to feel valued and respected. This starts with the recruiting process. Districts must have a pay scale that is competitive but more than that, a teacher wants to feel that he/she and his/her profession is respected and valued by the community where he/she teaches. This should be evident in the availability of instructional materials and supplies; the types and levels of professional development opportunities; the working and learning conditions in our schools; and a sense of community support for the schools.

CONTINUED SUPPORT. Once a teacher is serving in a school district, the support needed for a teacher to feel valued and respected must continue. We must remember teachers are professionals and should be treated as such. Value and respect can be shown in many ways, such as honoring their role in decision-making; respecting them as instructional leaders; understanding that in the classrooms of the 21st century teachers are asked to wear many hats--some hats fit well and others do not; and providing support for them and their students through funding of programs, materials and salaries. Again, providing value and respect for the many roles teachers fill in our communities is critical to teacher satisfaction and retention.