Address: 230 Arrow Leaf Drive, Lewisville
Education: West Forsyth ’88; UNC-Chapel Hill ’92 (B.A. music)
Profession: Marketing at Chick-fil-A Peacehaven; substitute teacher, WSFC Schools (both part-time)
Leadership experience: PTA board at Southwest Elementary 2010-14 (second vice president, 2011); Forsyth County Republican Women (president, 2013)
Political/civic experience: More than 25 years of volunteer work: PTA roles such as staff appreciation/hospitality, listener, tutor, as a vice president, room mom, SIT team parent rep, PAC rep, helping to bring Dr. Chapman to Southwest and to Parent Power events (entire system), after-school running club parent; tutoring a juvenile offender; mentor; camp counselor; Reading Is Fundamental volunteer; assistant in at-risk student classroom; Red Cross; Habitat for Humanity; adult sponsor to youth church choir; member of various church ministries; precinct chair and delegate; Pregnancy Care Center volunteer; assistant Bible Fellowship teacher; 2013 Forsyth County Republican Women president
Top priority if elected: I would like to see increased partnerships between businesses, leaders, churches and neighborhood groups in schools with no PTA or little parent involvement. I would like to examine curriculum (resources we have, what we need, what teachers have available to use as sources, teacher training) and help implement an improvement plan in that area. I would maintain the controlled choice assignment plan that we have — always proposing to give as much choice to parents whenever possible.
Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? Our system has a percentage given to it from the county’s budget. I would immediately seek to understand how to increase that amount! As well, I would make a trip to Raleigh to meet reps there on ways to increase the state allotment! Technology is always underfunded, but you can’t put a dollar amount to parents and teachers! More money per pupil is not the answer — higher teacher pay would help! Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? The benefits of a choice assignment plan are: more parent involvement, neighborhood businesses/churches, etc. involved, families in control, and competition (raises the bar and means success for more schools). This competition means more families are satisfied with their options, as we see in surveys done in this system. Children and schools benefit when parents can be involved (just ask teachers)!
How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? One role a board should play is that of advocate — for Forsyth stakeholders — to the General Assembly on key education issues. The board should be the liaison, ensuring that representatives for our county know what our needs here are! The board can make trips to the General Assembly, write and pass resolutions (opinions or stances) for the purpose of representing those by whom they were elected! They can be “representatives” on education issues.
What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? First and foremost, the board should keep its main goal as improving the educational outcomes for all of Forsyth County’s public school students. It should diligently research the issues and make judgments using facts and evidence while seeking stakeholder involvement and thoughts. The other priority should be raising teacher pay, allowing much teacher classroom creativity and support, retaining and valuing them, and preserving their jobs (I’d study successful teacher incentive pay plans in other areas).
How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? : I’d always push for as much local control and decision-making as possible. We know better what Forsyth Co. needs. Broad guidance is acceptable from DPI, but the “honing in” of specifics (which textbooks, resources, teacher training, etc.) should be done locally. If DPI does direct a policy or initiative or choose curriculum, local boards should be able to give open debate/opinion, volunteer involvement and see and question the results.
What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? As a conservative, I always support the ideas of vouchers and charter schools. Each equals competition, and that is a free market/enterprise-type ideal upon which our nation was founded. A public school system doing its job should not fear either — ideally, their presence should raise the bar for all schools. The “public” money issue (into a private school) is an issue that warrants close evaluation, as should accountability guidelines for charter schools.
How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? The board should consider what happens with Common Core in N.C. first. Second, we are in dire need of resources for both student and teacher, so assessing technology (future going online?) versus printed texts (books, etc.) would be necessary. Third, the board should look nationally for solutions other districts like ours have used. Fourth, the board should share the cost findings and possible revenue sources (General Assembly, our commissioners, etc.) with the stakeholders for open debate.
Dana Caudill Jones
Address: 600 Susanna Court, Kernersville
Education: Bachelor’s in political science, High Point University
Profession: Operating officer/owner of Caudill’s Electric
Leadership experience: Lead my company in 2008 as being named one of the top 100 small businesses in North Carolina. Elected five times and served 10 years as a member of the Kernersville Board of Aldermen.
Political/civic experience: I serve on the Kernersville Medical Center Board of Directors; president of the Next Step Ministries Board of Directors; Kernersville Cares for Kids Board of Directors; past president of Kernersville Middle School PTA and Cash Elementary School PTA; elementary school liaison for Winston Salem Forsyth County Council of PTAs; member of the Forsyth County Republican Women and serve as chaplain.
Top priority if elected: Focus educational resources to at-risk children in order to teach every child to read by the third grade and on grade level by the fifth grade.
Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? I believe our schools have adequate funding. I am not sure the money is always spent wisely and in ways that impact the direct instruction of education to the student. A large amount of funding received is restricted and must be spent in specific areas. More flexibility should be given at the local level to how funding and resources should be appropriated. Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? Yes, the current plan adopted and in place around 1995 provides choice for all parents and should continue. The plan empowers parents to make the right school choice for their own child and gives the parent and student a sense of ownership in their choice and school.
How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? The board should aggressively state its opinions to the General Assembly on issues that affect public education policy, such as advocating for the removal of the Common Core state standards from N.C. education. The board should not engage in political issues that do not effect public education.
What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? Protect the classroom teacher and support staff. This can be achieved if we manage the budget wisely and evaluate all spending on how it relates directly to the education of the students. The main goal should be to provide each student with a quality education in each and every school in the district, and in order for that to happen we must have top quality teachers and a school environment that is safe and welcoming.
How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? Local school boards, along with teachers and input from parents, should always be in the conversation before curriculum choices and policy decisions are made by the DPI. Teachers and support staff along with parents must be part of the conversation in the beginning. This will ensure a successful understanding and implementation of curriculum and policy changes.
What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? I believe in parental choice, so I support charter schools and the voucher program. Charter schools should be held to a high standard and we must be careful that the money granted to a school is used appropriately. I believe the voucher program can be improved to ensure funds are reimbursed back to the local district if a student returns to a public school during the course of the school year.
How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? If the state does not increase the funding, then locally we need to step up and purchase the textbooks, either books or electronic license for digital textbooks. Without textbooks and resources that can come home, parents are at a huge disadvantage when trying to help their children with homework. This may be a perfect opportunity to reach out for private dollars from corporations to purchase these resources.
Address: 5310 Forest Mill Drive, Pfafftown
Education: Bachelor’s in biology from George Mason University
Leadership experience: Member of WSFCS Board of Education since January 2013
Political/civic experience: Active in elections and issues since 2010; board member of Forsyth County Republican Women’s Club
Top priority if elected: Curriculum and involving parents in the curriculum.
Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? I think funding issues that WSFCS have faced in the past few years have been met with a creative and positive attitude, and never more so than now with the leadership of Dr. Emory. While I think that it would be a relief to not have these challenges, we are a government body that uses taxpayer funds to get our job done, and this struggle ends up saving the taxpayer money.
Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? Yes. The vast majority of people in our community appreciate the choices that we have set before them, and the friendly competition between our schools make each school better and our system stronger.
How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? There have been resolutions passed recently, and I think that is the respectful and effective way to approach the General Assembly. It is difficult for me to justify jumping in with lawsuits because of the money involved and limited benefit to us. Of course, an individual board member has their own prerogative to do what they think is right.
What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? : Limiting austerity measure effects on the classroom. You have to get creative, and we have thus far. For example, the board has played a big part in saving teaching assistant positions to mitigate the effects of these tough times.
How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? A lot! Local school boards should have the primary role when it comes to how local schools are run, and that is determined by policies and curriculum. A top-down approach is not the best way to resolve problems and to spearhead positive change. As a parent, the thought of trudging through a massive bureaucracy to resolve an issue is pretty overwhelming.
What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? They are part of “choice.” I am dedicated to seeing children in our community educated. Vouchers and charter schools are another way to empower parents and get them involved in their children’s education.
How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? A few years ago, N.C. cut textbook funding by about 80 percent. We have not had a refresh for about 10 years. The instinct is to jump in with both feet and tackle this problem, but it is clearly a state funding issue. The board should express its concerns to the General Assembly and press them for a plan.
Address: 504 Knob View Drive, Winston-Salem
Education: Attended UNC-Chapel Hill
Leadership experience: Chair of WSFCS Curriculum Committee 2002-present; president, Peace Haven Civic Association 1992; member of personnel committee Calvary Baptist Church, four three-year terms 1989-2013; member WSFCS executive PTA Council 1990-92; appointed by then-speaker Harold Brubaker to a four-year term on N.C. Teaching Fellows Commission 1996-2000
Political / Civic Experience: Member WS/FC board of education (1994-present); WSFCS Peace Haven Civic Association Board of Directors 1986-98; president, Peace Haven Civic Association 1992; member, personnel committee Calvary Baptist Church, four three-year terms 1989-2013; member WSFCS executive PTA Council 1990-92; appointed by-then Speaker Harold Brubaker to a four-year term on N.C. Teaching Fellows Commission 1996-2000
Top priority if elected: Focus on pre-K to third-grade reading
Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? Our job is to demonstrate need. Those making the decision about spending taxpayer money have to be good stewards and decide where that money is best spent. We, too, have an obligation to be good stewards of the funds we are given, as well. Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? We do not have a neighborhood school plan. We have a parental choice plan. Every year 30 percent of parents make choices different from their residential schools. And yes, I think it should continue.
How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? We should work together with our entire legislative delegation to make our needs known in Raleigh.
What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? Having all kids reading by third grade. We should focus dollars and time on achieving this. We need more pre-K locations in our schools. We should coordinate with existing preschools and day cares and let them know what we expect students to be able to accomplish when they begin kindergarten.
How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? We have a responsibility when DPI adopts flawed curricula — such as the horribly flawed Common Core — to speak up and share our concerns with our local delegation. Then do what we care to support them as they attempt to bring about change.
What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? They obviously give parents more choices.
How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? Obviously there is material available on all kinds of Internet sites devoted to lessons and lesson-planning for every subject possible. We just must be diligent in making sure this material is both content and age appropriate.
Address: 7890 Misty Mountain Road, Germanton
Education: Carver High School; Online studies, no formal degree.
Profession: Licensed insurance agent and tax preparer
Leadership experience: Veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Eagle Scout, small business owner, and 15-plus years’ management experience.
Political/civic experience: Republican precinct chairman and Plan of Organization chairman, local business groups.
Top priority if elected: Education equality for all students and a comprehensive pay structure that rewards teachers for both performance and time-in-service.
Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? Yes, our schools are underfunded and that is nothing new, because underfunding of proposed budgets has always been a common practice. We all agree that our schools need adequate funding, and in many cases more funding. I believe we also agree that we need to responsibly manage the funds that we are given. As for how? We have to make it a priority and bring it up at every chance. Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? Yes, we need neighborhood schools, and we need to address the special needs of these schools. I’m all of school choice and I’m concerned about the inequalities that are being created in some neighborhood schools as a result of school choice. Continuing to allow school choice is the way to go, and taking a look at our neighborhood schools and addressing their needs is also essential.
How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? The school board should always err on the side of students and teachers. And, when the General Assembly sends down unfunded mandates and legislation that is simply wrong, or not practical, then we have an obligation to aggressively oppose it.
What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? The school board’s top priorities should be creating an educational environment that allows students and teachers to make the most of the experience, while developing a local curriculum that addresses the unique needs of our students and teachers. We achieve this by not merely accepting the curriculum being provided to us, and actually listen to our students, teachers and parents. Then we find ways to make the needed changes.
How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? The local school boards should always have input into curriculum choices and policy decisions. In the same manner the federal government is meant to have limited access to education policy, the state should not be “the final say” on education policy. Our students and teachers greatly outnumber our Legislators and that local input should carry significant weight.
What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? Neither charter schools, nor vouchers are a “fix all” for what ails our education system. Yes, they are good ideas with potential, but that potential has yet to be proven. I’m all for giving students and parents options, but I’m also interested in seeing the numbers and whether or not they support the success of our students.
How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? Anything that we can do to provide textbooks for our classrooms would have to be better than what is currently being done. I’ve been out of high school for 28 years. We were short on books then and still short now? We need to make sure that all classrooms have the textbooks they need, or electronic access.
Article source: http://www.journalnow.com/news/elections/local/four-district-seats-up-for-grabs-in-wide-open-race/article_f843c96e-ca95-11e3-937d-001a4bcf6878.html