2020 School Board Candidates

The mission of Public Education Partners is to lead our community in acting collectively to support, strengthen and advance public education and student achievement in Greenville County Schools. Integral to our work is an effective school board that acts knowledgeably, responsibly and in the best interest of our community and all 77,000 students in our school system. To that end, we have developed a questionnaire to help ensure that voters have information they need before choosing their representative for school board.

Not sure which school board district you live in? Find out here.

Questionnaires were sent out to all 15 candidates who filed for the six (of twelve) school board seats on this year’s ballot. Candidates’ responses were limited to 100 words per question. Other than edits to meet the 100 word limit, responses are uploaded exactly as provided.

Candidate Responses

Number of years you have lived in the district: 58

Education Background: Doctor of Educational Leadership, Masters of School Administration, Masters of Elementary Education, Bachelor of Science

Employment/occupation: I served as a teacher for nine years in Greenville County Schools and has a principal for twenty-five years.

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Did not respond.

Email address: cvjstyles1@gmail.com

Daytime telephone: Did not respond.

Campaign website and/or social media page: https://www.facebook.com/carolyn.styles.5/

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

I have given a lifetime of service to Greenville County Schools (GCS) as a teacher and a principal, and I continue to have strong desire to serve. As a successful schoolteacher and principal, I believe I have much to contribute to the board. Education is my passion, and nothing make me happier than making a difference in the lives of others.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I am currently employed as an adjunct professor at North Greenville University Graduate School of Education. In addition, prior to retirement in 2019, I served as a teacher and a principal for GCS. In each of these positions, I contributed thousands of hours (volunteer) beyond my contract requirements. I believe my knowledge, expertise, diverse experiences, and leadership in field, coupled with my strong passion to serve will allow me to continue to be a difference maker for our students, our schools, and our community.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

In general, the Board is responsible for broad scope vision, policy making, and hiring and overseeing the Superintendent and the Internal Auditor. The Superintendent is tasked with the administration of the District. A Board member has authority only when acting as a board legally in session.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

The most important issue for the district and the school board to focus on is recruiting, developing, and retaining high quality teachers and school principals. With a teacher shortage on the horizon, we must work harder, smarter, and sooner than ever before to retain the best and brightest in the profession – especially teachers certified in critical needs areas. Moreover, we must reduce teacher burdens, pair fairly, and provide needed supports to encourage teachers to remain in the profession. Effective teachers and principals are the key to successful schools. Therefore, much of our effort must be channeled in this direction.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

My greatest concern in terms of academic achievement is the fact that many of our students will have learning gaps created by the pandemic. This is especially concerning when learning standards are sequential in nature, and mastery of skills at each level are the building blocks for the next level. These gaps have the potential to negatively impact student performance over many years at the local level and beyond. As a board member, it would be my desire to work with district administration to form a “task force” to determine how we could best close the learning gaps that exists.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

To ensure equitable and accessible learning, we must first ensure that all students in GCS attend a school that is structurally sound, safe, and conducive to learning. All schools must also be equipped with cutting edge technology, including digital devises for students.

Equally important is the need to regularly review student achievement data that is disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and income status to identify any trends or patterns that may require attention. Finally, mental health counselors should be employed at schools with at- risk populations. These are just to name a few of many issues needing addressed.

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

Teachers today face many struggles, some much greater than others. It is the combination of struggles that make teachers become unhappy in their jobs. State accountability measures are high, curriculum is fast-based, class sizes are large, and many children enter our doors as at-risk learners who also struggle with emotional and behavioral issues.

We can best support teachers by serving as advocates for them--reducing class size, reducing teacher burdens, and providing mental health counselors at all school levels. Teachers should also have a daily block of time for collaborating with peers, planning, and reflecting on best practices.

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

I would hope that the district has reserve funds in place for all emergency matters. Strong boards and superintendents plan for such matters. We should utilize these funds while developing a plan of action for the future. School personnel (certified and non-certified staff) should take an active role in the development of the plan of action.

In addition, all board members should communicate with state lawmakers, regarding the need for school funding that is adequate, stable, and recurring. The per-pupil funding amount provided by the state must also reflect the actual cost to educate a child in SC.

Number of years you have lived in the district: 35+

Education Background: Greenville County School Graduate, Continuing Education classes in Technology and Business Management

Employment/occupation: Expressions Unlimited/Florist

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: 2; Greenville County Schools

Email address: DBUSH19@aol.com

Daytime telephone: 864-294-0315

Campaign website and/or social media page: https://www.facebook.com/debibushdistrict19

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

I firmly believe that the investment of time and resources in our public schools is priceless and reflects in the great success of our community as a whole. Serving as a Board member has strengthened my belief that we can achieve anything by focusing on student success. We have built a foundation for that success by focusing policies and resources on the five goals of our Greenville Education Plan as developed by our community.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I have been a successful local business owner for over 35 years. I have served terms in all offices, including President, in my children’s school PTA.  I have had the honor of serving my community as a board member for 6 terms. During which time I have served as Secretary, Vice-Chairman & Chairman. I had the privilege to be the first woman, from Greenville, to be elected to serve as President of the S.C. School Boards Association. I currently serve on the Comprehensive S.C. Health Advisory Committee & the Board of Live Well Greenville.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

The role of the board is multi faceted. One of the primary responsibilities is to help develop and set policies that reflect the vision of the board as a whole. Although the board sets policy they do not carry it out. That is the responsibility of the superintendent.  The board oversees the hiring and evaluation of the Superintendent. The role of the Superintendent is the day to day operation and management of the school district.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

The most immediate challenge facing our district is the fastest and safest return of our students and staff to the classroom with the community spread rate still being listed as “high” for  COVID 19. Our current plan has allowed students to progress to a  2 day a week in-person hybrid schedule. It also follows all mandates put in place by state and local health experts for the safety of our students, staff and community.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

We must be diligent in continuing our success in closing the gap strategies, raising the graduation rates and our Graduation Plus initiatives. We must prepare our students with project-based lessons. Building skills in elementary through high school that support collaboration, communication and critical thinking that prepare them to be a Graduate that is college or career ready.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

The Greenville County Education plan was developed by a large diverse group of community members and is updated regularly to align our resources for the success of all students. We should continue to assure that all students reach their potential as the overarching first goal of this community action plan.

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

Guaranteeing the safe return of teachers and their students to the classroom with the technology and professional development to support those efforts must be a top priority. Teacher pay and class size are those challenges that will continue to face us and must be addressed in budget priorities.

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

Funding, more than ever, will be the most important issue facing our district over the next few years. The economic impact of COVID 19 as well as the operational cost will create great challenges. We must continue to be very conservative in building budgets while protecting and supporting the vision and goals of our community. We must continue to advocate against all state and federal unfunded and under funded mandates.

“I have decided to stop campaigning.”

Number of years you have lived in the district: 35 years

Education Background: BA, MA, JD

Employment/occupation: Petkoff, Lancaster and Barnwell, Attorneys 1980 - 1985; Michelin North America, Inc. 1985 - 2017

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Two children, both graduated from Eastside High School and the Fine Arts Center

Email address: roychamlee@gmail.com

Daytime telephone: 864-630-6070

Campaign website and/or social media page: https://www.facebook.com/Roy-Chamlee-for-School-Board-2084873021841829

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

Public education is the single most important path to success in a child’s life. This has been an ongoing goal for every school district for many years, and not just in South Carolina, but nearly everywhere in the US. At last report our third grade reading level was not on track, and we must find a strategy for those children. While much progress is being made, we also still struggle with workforce readiness and this has to be a priority.

In 2018 I ran to fill an unexpired seat on the Greenville County School Board.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I worked in the legal department and later in government relations while at Michelin for over 30 years. I have served on several committees at my church over the years.

I have contributed to the Greer, Greenville, and South Carolina chambers of commerce. For the last two years, I have served on the Greenville County School Board of Trustees. I have also served on the Boy Scouts Board for Greenville County and The Salvation Army Board for Greenville. Currently I work in the toddlers class at my church with 18 to 24 month old children.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

In a nutshell, the board of Trustees is elected to establish the policy of the School District, whereas the Superintendent is hired by the board to carry out those policies. The Superintendent is also called upon to administer the day to day functions of the system, acting much as a CEO. The Superintendent is also called upon to advise the board, and make suggestions to the board with respect to various issues.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

The most immediate issue for the board is to safely resume full five day a week instruction for grades K through 12. It is likely that we will have future disruptions to schools in the future.  During the last few months the district has worked diligently to establish distance learning.  We need to make sure that we do not lose it the lessons we have learned.    In this regard, while not everyone agrees with me, I believe we should work on streamlining teacher preparation methods and time.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

We need to address the issue of early reading levels. While this has been a challenge for many years around the country, and there is no silver bullet to fix it, too many of our students are failing to learn to read on level by grade three. We should put an emphasis on engaging parents and in cases where beneficial, pursue aid to parents to assist them in helping their children with learning.

If our students learn to read early on, it opens many areas of pursuit in their future education and contributes greatly to their ultimate success.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

We are required by law to “educate all children in the state.” That includes all children in the district. Not all children have the same social opportunities. To me that means we must constantly look at the progress of all schools and students. Obviously we do that but we must be continuously vigilant for areas of disadvantaged students within the district. As a candidate from a relatively well off community. We must take steps to put necessary resources into struggling communities.

We should not seek to divide the district into various smaller districts.

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

I often hear from some teachers that they are constantly bombarded with new teaching methods and approaches. We must make sure we always focus on education first. We don’t need to take every new teaching methodology that becomes popular.

I believe we do need to update the basic course requirements and let teachers decide how best to teach them. This helps teachers focus on what they do best. Much of this is already in place, but we should refine it on a continuing basis rather than replace it every year.

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

First, it is the state’s responsibility to provide for the education of our children. It is good that the local districts have much of the responsibility for the actual teaching, but It is in some ways unfortunate that the much of the financial responsibility has been placed on the districts. Act 388 in particular has been a major driver in tying the hands of the local school districts. While complete repeal of the act would be difficult, we need to make it more workable.

Number of years you have lived in the district: 8 years; 23 years in Greenville County

Education Background: B.S. in Financial Management; Masters in Human Resource Development Clemson University

Employment/occupation: Owner/Director of National League of Junior Cotillions™ – Greenville Chapter

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Yes; Eastside HS

Email address: mosleyad@aol.com

Daytime telephone: 864-630-0500

Campaign website and/or social media page: https://www.facebook.com/angiedilworthmosley
www.angiemosley.com

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

The educational crisis in which we currently find ourselves has affected me deeply. As a special education advocate, I recognize the disproportionate and negative impact that current decisions are having upon the special needs, minority, and lower income populations of our county. As the daughter of a retired teacher, I am eager to be an advocate for those who DO the job every day. I am eager to listen to the concerns of the parents and taxpayers of Greenville County. And finally, as a mom, business owner and advocate, I am eager to bring ‘Common Sense’ leadership back into the.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I’ve navigated GCS for 12 years with two children who receive special education services, and I’ve served as an advocate for many others. Upon graduating Clemson, I worked as a Corporate Trainer for Bank of America for eight years, leaving to start the Greenville chapter of the National League of Junior Cotillions™, of which I’ve been owner/Director for 21 years. In addition to serving as a volunteer in both my church and children's schools, I have served as President of the Down Syndrome Association of the Upstate, Board member of ProParents of SC, Board member of Langston Charter Middle School.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

School Board members are elected by the community. Their role is to establish policies and evaluate the outcomes of district operation. The School Board also serves as the final authority of the district. Superintendents communicate needs, provide leadership, and carry out the day-to-day operation of the district. Both should work together to set priorities.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

Under normal circumstances, I would be suggesting things like teacher retention, teacher shortage, classroom sizes, etc… But given the current educational crisis in which we find ourselves, the most important issue is getting our students back in school and assessing the academic consequences that are a result of the decisions that have been made. Everything from education lost to any fiscal issues we face are a significant concern of mine. I’m not sure we have enough information yet to fully appreciate the challenges we’re going to face in the immediate future.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

My greatest concern regarding academic achievement stems from not knowing the full scope of the impact from the pandemic closures. I have concerns about gaps that may exist as a result of e-learning. I have concerns in terms of how the social/emotional well-being of children impacts academic achievement. I have concerns about children not being identified as needing interventions designed to improve achievement. I have significant concerns about those who are already behind…students with special needs…who have not received adequate services during this time. I can not be specific on how I’d address it because too much is simply unknown.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

Opening the schools would be a start! Beyond that, Greenville County already offers a lot of school choice, which allows parents many options in terms of finding a learning environment best suited for a child. However, I’d like to see more effort behind inclusive education for students with special needs. We are far from what I consider to be a “best practice” district on this. As in any organization, the ‘tone’ is set at the leadership level. We lack leadership where inclusive education is concerned. Perhaps we could start there?

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

I am not a teacher so the first thing I think it’s important to do is to ASK. In our current environment, teachers feel marginalized, that their voice doesn’t matter or that in many cases, they have no voice. So I don’t want to presume to know all of the challenges facing teachers since I’m not the one in the classroom every day. But I do know that teachers are frustrated by two things: classroom sizes and excessive “busy work” that comes down from the district that accomplishes nothing, adds zero value and takes them away from valuable instructional or.

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

I don’t have first-hand knowledge of current budget expenditures, so I can’t speak to specifics in regards to this question. But the first approach to addressing any funding issue is to identify waste and I’d start at the district office.

Number of years you have lived in the district: 2

Education Background: Did not respond.

Employment/occupation: Registered Nurse

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Yes; Northwood Middle School and Riverside High School

Email address: kimberlyrieserwooten10@gmail.com

Daytime telephone: 864-363-7508

Campaign website and/or social media page: https://www.facebook.com/kimberly.rieserwooten

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

I care deeply for our public schools and believe teachers have the ability to change the world. Public schools make education possible for every child in our community. Public schools also provide nutrition (although food allergies/sensitives needed to be addressed), medical assistance, mental counseling, emotional support and the ability to develop social skills. Public schools offer a child the ability to participate in extracurricular activities they may not otherwise have access to. I am willing to serve on the Greenville County School Board to support to our teachers and help our children have an educational experience.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I have been very active in the Greenville County Schools for over 10 years. During this time, I have participated with teacher & staff appreciation days, classroom events, book fairs, field days, chaperoned field trips, and the Christmas Knight Program. I am an active member of Northwood Middle School’s PTA and Riverside High School’s PTSA. I am currently the Guard Representative for the Riverside Color Guard team. As a Registered Nurse with over 20 years’ experience, I have held several leadership positions throughout my career and have had the opportunity to improve processes and develop policies within multiple healthcare facilities.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

According to the Greenville Court School Board of Trustees mission statement my responsibilities will be to ensure excellence in governing quality education of the students in Greenville County by analyzing needs, establishing policies, allotting resources, and monitoring process. Some of the responsibilities of the Superintendent are proposing, writing and revising policies, review curriculum and ensure it meets state and national standards and documenting the data , developing and maintaining the school budget, monitoring the transportation system, the maintenance of facilities, as well as hiring and firing principals in the county.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

I believe the most important issue for our district and school board to focus on over nest 4 years is the budging of the Greenville County Schools. The pandemic has had an impact on the many sources that provide funding to public school. As the District 21 School Board member, I will work with the schools in my district to assess needs and bring those to the school board for discussion. I will work diligently with the board to understand the current budget and assist in decision to better serve the employees and students of Greenville County Schools.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

I believe the greatest challenge of academic achievement is the lack of the students having the resources they need to learn. Many students live in areas where internet connection is not available. These students would benefit from textbooks and audio calls verses the E learning or virtual learning programs. By providing alternative means for learning, children have more options with how they learn.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

Greenville County Schools covers a large area and nor all students have access to the current learning models. I would like to see textbooks placed back in our school and offer other means of communication between teachers and students.

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

I would need to speak to more teachers to make confirmed response to this question but I would think it would be the lack of resources and parent support.

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

The budget will have to be adjusted to meet the needs of the district. The district should look at all items allotted and unfortunately see which ones can be limited or deleted with hopes of returning them as soon as possible.

Number of years you have lived in the district: Greenville Native, moved back home 2003

Education Background: BA Mathematics Hampton University,  Hampton, Virginia

Employment/occupation: Retired Educator

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Adult children, Grandchildren all attend GCS

Email address: gsmf0651@gmail.com

Daytime telephone: 816-529-3579

Campaign website and/or social media page: None. Prefer people to contact directly.

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

The Public School System gives individuals an opportunity to develop academic and career skills needed to become the best version of themselves. This system can be a game changer in the life of any individual, especially young children. Public Schools create situations and scenarios that model training landscapes for our world. Here each person explores their passions, talents and abilities. This leads to obtaining both hard and soft skills necessary to become productive citizens resulting in strengthening communities throughout the world.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

My career includes a background in business which focused on software development. I observed that every business had to work together and support each other in order to survive. In the world of education and reviewing my years as a classroom teacher also allowed this observation to surface. The classroom models mini communities where building the spirit of ownership results in creating a definition of success that means everyone in the class can realize his/her best and highest potential. I constantly seek ways to create and strengthen this bridge. Policy has to focus on training individuals to embrace the idea.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

The Board creates policy for the District. The superintendent and his staff interpret and implement the district policy. Ensuring policy guidelines are followed equitably across the district.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

The most important and valuable resource are our teachers. Our ability to utilize new and innovative techniques, take advantage of the art facilities is still guided by the hand of a committed dedicated teacher. Currently districts nationwide are faced with the problem of locating teachers. School Districts across this nation need to develop a recruiting, reclaiming and retention strategy that will capture and inspire individuals to desire to be a part of education. As a school board member, I must model my enthusiasm for this profession and support teachers on a grass roots level.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

K4 opportunities early and often continues to be a concern in the field of education. Reduction of class size at this level is critically important. We must also work to create diversity of participation within the G+ curriculum. This results in our students possessing the necessary skills to meet the constantly changing environments.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

Currently, GCS do a great job of providing equitable opportunities for all students across the board. This is where we need help and support of parents and caregivers. Encouragement from the home, working closely with your young person and his/her instructor to identify those special skills and talents can be a game changer in the life of a child. This would cut through a lot of guess work and establish a starting point.

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

I believe the biggest challenge facing teachers today is paperwork and testing. Even with technology paperwork for teachers is like carrying an extra backpack on a hike. We must streamline the paperwork and testing requirements and allow teachers to practice their craft. (TEACH, CAPTURE & INSPIRE YOUNG MINDS).

The district should constantly communicate with teachers. (The Teacher Forum) great start.

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

The school district is aware of this potential problem. We have evaluated our reserve funds and trimmed our budget in anticipation of this problem. Every year we have to take into consideration that the per student base cost will not be awarded as promised. Our conservative budget reflects this information.

“Unfortunately, time would not permit me to take part in your request.”

Number of years you have lived in the district: 56

Education Background: Bachelors/Winthrop University, Masters of Education/Converse College, Masters of Educational Leadership and Administration/Furman University

Employment/occupation: Retired Educator, recently Teacher at Venice Facility for Youth

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Yes, they attended Blythe Elem., Hughes Middle, and oldest Southside High School and youngest Carolina High School 

Email address: mgoodwincalwiled25@gmail.com

Daytime telephone: 864-275-6511

Campaign website and/or social media page: N/A

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

I am a product of public schools and I presently serve to make sure that all students have equal access to all programs that are offered in this school district. I am in service to the staff, faculties, students and families of GCS in that we made a priority of Reduced class size and raising the salary of teachers to above the southeast average. I am a retired educator of 28 years from Greenville County. Communication to the community as to the performance of GCS is very important to let them know of the great GCS district, our pride and.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I am proud of the years that I gave to this school district as a Family Literacy Teacher, Parent Educator, Teacher and administrator. My work in the community is volunteering with the students of the afterschool program and donating financially to these afterschool program for supplies. I volunteer with the Carolina Celtics AAU basketball team with fundraisers and donate to them. I volunteer with the Vision 25 organization to make sure that our District 25 community is informed on the Resident Engagement, Public Safety, Economic Development and Affordable Housing in our area. This service has prepared me to know first.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

The board makes and revises policy that governs the school district of Greenville County. We receive reports from the Superintendent and his staff on important issues, concerns and data that we vote on approval or disapproval. We approve the budget and set the educational priorities. The superintendent hires all employees, enacts the rules of the policies and delegates the actual delivery of the policy. He is the only employee that the board has.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

The most important issue that we need to focus on is the safety and instructional delivery in these unconventional times. Education will never look the same as the past. We need to focus on the mental stability and safety of our faculties, staff, teachers and students. I would work on communication with administration, parents, students, facilities, and staff in what they see as the needs that are not being met.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

The greatest area I see is “Are the standards being met” while these students are e-learning or virtual and are the Special Needs students IEP’s being met. I would implore the administration to give us a report and tell us what is being done to address these concerns.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

The administration does a needs assessment of the school and addresses them. Also collect data and put into place best practices for those demographics of the school. Make sure that all schools receive their base student cost and for those vulnerable populations in all schools, make sure that the funding for them is distributed by the federal guidelines. 

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

Teachers biggest challenge is whether the environment they are going into is safe. Also a challenge is the e-learning and virtual learning change from in-person lesson planning and instructional delivery. There should be learning videos that take the teachers and staff through the delivery of above challenges step by step. Also there should always be a consistent response from the help line within 24 hours of the request. 

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

The capital improvements, not required buildings and programs should be delayed. Right now the school week is 4 days with the 5th day shut down to save money for the future because of the e-learning and virtual scheduling. Hiring needs to be frozen and positions not filled need to remain not filled.

Number of years you have lived in the district: 15

Education Background: BA in Elementary Edu. Minors in Spanish and Music and MA in Educational Leadership

Employment/occupation: Owner/Director of The Tutoring Center, Simpsonville

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Yes; Currently Blythe Academy (2) and Fisher MS (1)

Email address: thetutoringcentersimpsonville@gmail.com

Daytime telephone: (864) 906-5404

Campaign website and/or social media page: N/A

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

I am disturbed at the amount of politics that I see in current board members and within the schools. The board needs to be absolutely free from political bias. I am also very concerned that not all the best practices are being done within the district during this time.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I am a former teacher (fifteen years). I have taught primary grades, ESOL, upper elementary, and even middle school. My devotion to my family prompted me to leave the classroom and start my own business. This has given me more time with my family and allowed me to continue to help children in the community. Many of these students have fallen through the cracks and their parents lack options. I have heard their concerns and needs and offered help they needed.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

The Superintendent is put in place by the board. He/she is to perform the day to day tasks of running the school district (no small task). The board is to create a budget for the district, approve major decisions made by the Superintendent, and make sure that best practices are always in place for the district as a whole.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

The most important issue will be recovering from COVID. Students have suffered huge academic setbacks that will take years to overcome. There will need to be programs and staff in place to help students that have not been getting appropriate services during this time while dealing with a diminished budget.

I would have all students’ academic levels clearly presented to parents. No confusing Lexile scores or bell curves. They will easily be able to where there child is academically and how it compares to the current classroom curriculum being taught. The school and parents will need to create viable plans.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

Students continue to fall through the cracks. Parents reach out for help and at times are met with resistance because the child isn’t the squeaky wheel in the class. Many students are thrown into the RTI program which is limited in its ability to actually help struggling students. Parents need to have an avenue to advocate and request help beyond the teacher in the classroom.

I also feel that Greenville County needs to expand its special needs programs. There are many great programs for dyslexic children and autistic children that are only offered at expensive private institutions. A family's financial.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

I would first look at the children that are not successful because those are the children that are not getting what they need. I would look at the current programs and analyze why they are not working. I would take input in building a better support network for teachers, students, and parents. I would hope to build a better program that would enable students to make gains towards their goals. I would then expand out to our other students to make sure they have the best learning environments and curriculum.

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

Teachers are the carpenters that build the beautiful products. Parents and the district need to provide them the materials and training to do their work. Teachers need support from home. Parents are more involved in their children’s education than ever.  We need to keep that momentum going once children are back five days a week. It is hard to promise raises, technology, and improvements knowing that there is a potential huge shortfall in the budget. Some teachers are going to be lucky to not be excessed from the county. I would love to promise them all the best tools to. 

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

I would look at staff and if an early retirement push would be beneficial. I would cut technology programs as I feel that our students have had enough screen time and need actual teacher with paper and pencil time. I would like to encourage and help PTAs to raise money for their schools. This could be done in the school and out in the community. I would also utilize the money that has been saved by the shutdown at the end of last school year and the Friday shutdowns.

Number of years you have lived in the district: 5

Education Background: JL Mann graduate 1996. BA from College of Charleston 2000, Early Intervention Credential from USC School of Medicine, TECS 2003

Employment/occupation: Mother, previous small business owner

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Yes! We have four children. They have/are attending Blythe Elementary, Monarch Elementary, and Five Oaks Academy

Email address: Dulin4GCSBoard@gmail.com

Daytime telephone: 843-814-1181

Campaign website and/or social media page: www.facebook.com/SarahDulinGCSBoard

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

Public schools are the foundations of our communities. We cannot thrive without them! I’m disappointed by the lack of GCS parent involvement on the Board. I have FOUR young children, and will be heavily vested in our schools until my youngest graduates in 2036.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I started my career as a teacher, and then worked extensively with infants and young children with special needs and their families. I served on the Board of Anchors Away, a recreational program serving people with disabilities. I am a current level two volunteer with GCS.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

Ideally the Board takes the time to research best practices and establish policies based on priorities and needs for the District. The Board operates as a group. The Superintendent runs the day-to-day operations and implements the policies with the district administration and school staff. It seems this is not always what happens currently with the GC School Board. 

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

The School Board has created quite a divide among stakeholders in the District. Not only will the new Board have to “put out all the recent fires” created by Covid closures, but they will have to regain the trust of parents and teachers. Returning all students to school full-time, in-person classrooms that CHOOSE to attend will be a priority. Then, I’d like to focus on improved school choices for the youngest students, and discuss the potential for separating the district into smaller areas like so many other counties have done.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

I’d like to expand preschool options for K3 and K4 students so that anyone who wants to attend is able to. There is very clear data that states that a strong foundation in early education has lasting benefits and improved test scores and grades even through high school. If this would help students succeed as ALL the data says, then we’re doing them a disservice by not offering the option of K3 and K4 classrooms.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

School CHOICE is imperative. Families and students have got to be able to have the FREEDOM to CHOOSE the school that best fits their needs and interests. As the District is able, it will continue to build on the choices already offered. There are also initiatives in place at some schools to contribute to providing more equitable educational services and keeping students “On Track”. If the students benefit from these added supports, then more staff will need to be trained county-wide so that all students can utilize these interventions and reach their potential.

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

Teachers are asked to perform duties outside of their teaching responsibilities, and it takes away from their specialities as educators. I have reached out to all of the teachers in my District, and received hundreds of responses; Teachers want to be able to give input because they know first-hand what is working and what isn’t! They want to be valued and not taken for granted. They want promises kept, especially regarding raises.

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

One thing the District could do is not fail so miserably in their Return-to-School plan that thousands of students unenroll to join private schools or homeschool. Loss of revenue from those students alone could cost the District $15 million. Instead of insisting that classrooms are dangerous and closing them to 50-75% of students at a time, they could accept the CARES Act funds offered by the Governor (also $ millions) and could ensure that classrooms are the very safest and effective places for children to continue their education.

Number of years you have lived in the district: 15

Education Background: Bachelors in Natural Science with a focus in Math from Spelman College

Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology

Employment/occupation: College Admissions Coach/ Tutor

Do you have children? If so, what school(s) do/did they attend?: Yes, I have a son who is 21 years old and a daughter who is 18 years old. My son graduated from Mauldin High School in 2017 and my daughter graduated from Mauldin High School in 2019.

Email address: koriforschoolboard@gmail.com

Daytime telephone: 864-293-1540

Campaign website and/or social media page:
Website – https://kori4gcsboard.org/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KoriHillson4SchoolBoard
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kori4gcsboard/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Kori4GCSBoard

Why do you care about public schools and why are you willing to serve as a member of the school board?

Education is one of my family’s core values. It opens the doors for many opportunities and is the key to preparing students to improve their lives, reach their potential, and become productive contributors to society. Running for the School Board will enable me to contribute to providing the best quality education for students, and to serve the students, parents and all the hard-working professionals who dedicate themselves to our kids.

Describe your work and volunteer background and how it prepares you to be a member of the school board.

I have served in various roles on several PTA boards and on the Board of Directors at a Charter School, coached sports teams, and served in Girl Scout Troop Leadership. Volunteering in these roles has given me experience working with young people and developing relationships with their parents.  This work has helped me further understand the needs of parents and children. It has also given me connections with educators, students, and community leaders. Additionally, my work as a tutor, co-leader of my church’s food pantry, and as an Engineer has strengthened my skills in collaborative problem solving and analyzing data.

Define the difference between your responsibilities as a board member and the responsibilities of the Superintendent.

The board’s responsibilities include setting the vision and goals for the district, advocating on behalf of public education, and adopting and overseeing the annual budget. The board works together as one body. The Superintendent is the district’s CEO and is responsible for day to day operations of the school and for implementing the long-term vision of the school board. The board and Superintendent work collaboratively to ensure that the district goals are met.

What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the next four years and why? How would you work as a board member to address it?

The most important issue for the district to focus on is enhancing student achievement by focusing on recruitment, retention, and development of teachers. High teacher attrition rates are shown to negatively impact student achievement. As a board member I will collaborate with administrators, teachers, parents, and staff to assess how best to address this issue. In talking to different people in the community, I have concluded that one way the district can address this issue is to continue developing community partnerships with organizations like PEPGC, colleges and universities to encourage teachers to pursue education degrees and teach in South Carolina.

What is your greatest area of concern in terms of academic achievement in our schools. What would you do as a board member to address it?

The area of greatest concern to me regarding academic achievement in our schools is early childhood literacy.  I would like to see the percentage of students reading at grade level by the end of third grade increase each year.

How I would address this issue as a board member:

  • Advocate for proven reading programs that teach children to read beginning in K4/K5.
  • Reward innovative teachers with creative solutions regarding early childhood literacy programs.
  • Utilize reading specialists at each elementary school.
  • Collaborate with community leaders.
  • Benchmark against successful school districts and advocate for implementation of initiatives that we can replicate.

In a school district of 77,000 students, how should it go about ensuring equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students?

One way to ensure equitable and accessible learning opportunities for all students is to make sure that all schools are looked at equally by the board when providing opportunities for school choice programs that are available throughout the district. Another way is to look at the data that shows achievement gaps to see what needs there are at individual schools, and how to address the gaps most effectively and efficiently. Lastly, to make sure learning is accessible for all students, we must continue to work with community partners to provide Wi-Fi to students who do not have access.

What are the biggest challenges facing teachers today? What forms of support should the district provide for teachers facing these challenges?

The biggest challenges facing teachers today are related to Covid-19:

  • Balancing hybrid learning and family, especially those with school-age children.
  • Anxiety of spreading COVID 19.
  • Trying to plan lessons for both eLearning students and in-person students.
Suggested forms of support the district should provide:

  • Provide childcare with e-learning support for teacher's kids
  • Allow teacher's kids to attend school every day with their parents.
  • Balance the concerns of teachers and parents by ensuring that everyone feels safe.
  • Provide more support for lesson planning.
  • Providing robust mental health support and resources for teachers and staff in the district.

The school district could face major funding challenges in the next few years due to the pandemic. What approaches should the district take in addressing this issue?

The best way for the district to address major funding challenges in the next few years is to invite teachers, principals, parents, and members of the community into a conversation to come up with solutions for funding challenges. As a member of the board I would work collaboratively with the board to be resourceful with the budget and ensure that the majority of the budget is allocated to the classroom and the people who make the classroom instruction as effective as it can possibly be for our students.

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InformEdSC

InformEdsc.org – an easy-to-use tool to explore data and discover facts about K-12 public education in Greenville County and South Carolina brought to you by Public Education Partners.

  • Get both basic information and details about school districts, schools and demographic groups.
  • Eight topics are covered: funding, spending, teachers, students, testing, achievement, accountability and agencies.
  • In one place, public education information from multiple sources–state agencies, the federal government and our local school district. 

InformEdsc.org

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  • A more informed and engaged community.

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