The ultimate responsibility of a school district is to provide a quality education to every child. The Board of Trustees is charged with setting the vision, goals, and budget for the district and adopting policies to ensure the success of its priorities. As a Trustee of the District 5 School Board, my focus will be on student achievement and implementing policies that will guarantee success for all students.
Leading By Example
As a community leader, I recognize that any group or organization is only as strong and effective as its leadership. In history classes throughout District 5, our educators teach students that the greatest civilizations have fallen due to pride, poor decisions, and the lack of responsive leadership. Over the years, District 5 has had a stellar academic reputation; however, more recently, the school board has been plagued with community concerns of dysfunction and distrust. It is my promise to every stakeholder that I will always act in good faith, demand open dialogue, and collaborate/engage with all interested parties. I understand the importance of being a team player and being respectful to others, especially those with differing opinions. Board members should be accountable for their actions and should lead by example. Responsible leadership requires being held to the same high level of standards as those with whom you are leading.
Equity & Access for All
I firmly believe that all students should have an equal opportunity to succeed throughout their educational journey, regardless of their circumstances. As a Trustee of the District 5 School Board, I will be an advocate for all children and it will be my priority to ensure that every student has the ability to receive an education from qualified teachers in buildings that are safe and conducive to learning with sufficient resources that are equitable to other schools throughout our district.
Teacher Recruitment & Retention
It is no secret that South Carolina is struggling to recruit new teachers and retain veteran educators. In fact, the State is dealing with a dangerous teacher shortage which will only be exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic. As the wife and family member of educators, I have seen firsthand the sacrifices teachers make to ensure they are providing a quality education to our students while working in schools that are not fully funded and accepting salaries that cannot support their families.
As a Trustee for District 5, I will ALWAYS advocate for our teachers. School board members are uniquely situated to advocate on a state level for the best interests of their local district. I will work with state legislators to advocate on behalf of teachers. I will demand that teachers are provided the best resources they need in the classroom, in a timely manner, in order to offer the best instructional quality possible. I will support the continued advancement of policies aimed to promote the recruitment and retention of teachers through programs such as: first year teacher induction support, mentorship programs, and opportunities for meaningful and engaging professional development.
For more information on South Carolina’s teacher shortage, please visit: https://www.cerra.org/supply-and-demand.html
Fiscal Responsibility & Accountability
The school board is the steward for the public purse and responsible for adopting a fiscally sound budget. This requires asking the hard questions and refusing to be a “rubber stamp.” As a former small business owner and CEO for a local business nonprofit, I have relevant experience with monitoring spending activity to ensure expenditures meet budgetary guidelines and making tough decisions when cuts are necessary. I understand the broad financial ramifications associated with the responsibility of reviewing proposals submitted to the school board for new construction, school renovations and other major investments of district funds.
As a Trustee, I will not vote in favor of any financially relevant decisions without a thorough understanding and due diligence of the requested action.
Pursuant to its own policy, the District 5 School Board is, by law and tradition, responsible to the community it serves and represents. In fact, board policy specifically identifies the responsibility of keeping stakeholders informed of decisions impacting all planning relating to schools within the district and for keeping Trustees and Staff informed about the public’s wishes. (Policy BBA)
Unfortunately, the lack of communication and dialogue is a common concern from stakeholders around the District ranging from students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers to County Councilmembers and current board members. This is unacceptable.
Whether the issues are dealing with building new schools, procurement, curriculum, safety procedures, or the reentry of schools during a pandemic, the district and the school board have a responsibility to facilitate and encourage open dialogue among stakeholders. This responsibility transcends the traditional public participation allotment at school board meetings.
It is critical that schools and communities work together through a collaborative and comprehensive approach in order to have the most positive impact for students. Strong community partnerships help prepare students for college, careers, and citizenship by offering additional opportunities, supports, and enrichment.
After serving on the Superintendent’s Business Advisory Committee, I have firsthand understanding that District 5 values the strong partnerships between our community and local businesses. As a Trustee of the District 5 School Board, I will encourage and advocate for expanded community partnerships to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students.