1. Tell us a little about yourself including why you are running and what goals you hope to accomplish
I am a retired Licensed Physical Therapist who provided therapy services for KCS for over 25 years. I have the strong intention to re-direct our schools to improve nutrition and physical education, provide critical thinking instruction, re-institute home economics and shop classes, prioritize staffing quantity and quality for students with autism, improve school libraries, and to de-emphasize IPAD devices.
2. What do you see as the role of a Board of Education member?
My role is to be open and to learn the concerns of parents, school staff, students, and the community, and then advocate and vote for needed improvements. I will be a strong supporter for providing more nutritious breakfasts, snacks, and lunches for students and staff. I support ‘critical thinking skills’ and ‘learning how to learn’ classes. I would be strongly resistant to inclusion of the divisive critical racial theory into our school curricula.
3. What qualifications and attributes lead you to believe you would be a good Kanawha County Board of Education member?
I have been a licensed Physical Therapist for 40 years with an unblemished record, and provided on-going therapy services in at least 35 Kanawha County schools. I have direct experience with multitudes of administrators, staffs, parents, and students and understand many of the challenges they face.
4. For Non-Incumbent candidates, what would you have done similarly or differently than the current Board of Education?
I would have proposed and supported increased staffing, including certified teachers and aides, of special ed classrooms. KCS has experienced a sharp increase in the number of students on the autism spectrum. Some of these students require continuous direction and re-direction throughout their day, and KCS has the obligation to monitor and improve classroom resources and staff. I would also challenge Diane Miller, Director of Nutrition Services, to demonstrate an immediate improvement in meal quality and variety. Every lunch and breakfast should have an option of a non-meat and non-dairy main selection. Many students have religious and personal proscriptions against swine and cattle carrion, and should be offered a choice.
5. Kanawha County continues to face declining enrollment. What considerations should be given in terms of school facilities and infrastructure spending?
Improve the quality of meals, develop and institute critical thinking skills classes, develop and institute classes in ‘how to memorize’, ‘how to learn’ skill development, less dependence on electronic media and more emphasis upon social and book learning skills. Renew a much needed celebration of American history and heritage. I would support instituting foreign language instruction beginning in kindergarten.
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?
I would place less emphasis upon test scores that will be depressed due to the effects of lock downs and school closures and more emphasis upon supporting students to regain motivation and skills to master the required schoolwork. The use of student mentors for more individualized catch up instruction should be provided. More assignments for small groups requiring increasing social skills and communication to complete the projects should be offered.
7. There are many ongoing pandemic-related challenges facing education, including teacher fatigue. How would you address these issues?
Less emphasis upon standardized “normal” test scores and a more pragmatic assessment and development of students’ skills and knowledge should be instituted. I would propose a decrease in the amount of mandatory teacher documentation with a commensurate increase in direct interactions of students and teachers. Given the increased difficulty and requirements for school staff at this time of historical inflation, I would strongly advocate for a 4%/year increase in salaries, for both professional and service personnel.