1. Tell us a little about yourself including why you are running and what goals you hope to accomplish
I have served on the Board for 20 years. Throughout those years, I have learned so much about public education and I have been a part of many changes. I grew up in the Kanawha County public school system, as did my husband and our children, which is why I first chose to run. At that time, there had not been a parent on the Board in 10 years.
2. What do you see as the role of a Board of Education member?
I see the role of a Board of Education member as multifaceted. However, to establish and enact policy would be a top priority. It also includes oversight of employment and the approval thereof. I feel that one thing that Board Members should not do is try to micromanage the daily operations of the school system.
3. What qualifications and attributes lead you to believe you would be a good Kanawha County Board of Education member?
I grew up in the Kanawha County school system and was involved in my children’s education when they attended Kanawha County schools. I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. I have worked many years throughout the Kanawha Valley in areas of substance abuse, child protective services, psychiatric services, home health and with the incarcerated. Serving on the BOE for the past 20 years provides me with excellent insight as to what our school system is currently facing.
4. For Incumbents, what are the greatest accomplishments of the Board during your term of service?
The accomplishments I feel have been the most substantial include keeping a balanced budget; making sure all children are given the resources they require to succeed; constructing and updating schools; consolidating declining population schools; and keeping our students knowledgeable of modern technology and making sure they have access to the appropriate equipment to do so.
5. Kanawha County continues to face declining enrollment. What considerations should be given in terms of school facilities and infrastructure spending?
Population changes all over the state require constant monitoring by all the County Boards of Education. It must be monitored and reviewed frequently to keep the Kanawha County Board of Education on the right path to success.
6. What are your views on the impacts of the pandemic and what would you do to close the learning gap created by this crisis?
The pandemic stole educational opportunities from our children, as it did all students across the United States. As diligently as Kanawha County Schools employees worked to lessen the impact on our students, unfortunately it did create a learning gap. Kanawha County Board of Education is providing learning opportunities again this summer and we are encouraging students to participate. It will take several years to fully assess the impact on our students.
7. There are many ongoing pandemic-related challenges facing education, including teacher fatigue. How would you address these issues?
Teacher fatigue has most certainly been an issue. I am hopeful that with schools operating in-person and the removal of mask mandates, that the weariness of our educators decreases. Kanawha County Schools is currently facing a shortage of teachers, just like every county in West Virginia. Until the West Virginia Legislature takes “real” action and provide pay increases, it will likely continue.