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Early Voting Starts Today!

The Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute wants to recognize its members who are on the ballot for the upcoming election. Learn more about these CWLI members by clicking the buttons below. The candidates include:

Pam McNutt Fleenor for Chancery Court Judge
Ardena Garth for Public Defender
Patsy Hazlewood for State Representative for District 27
Christie Mahn Sell for General Sessions Court Judge Division 1
Lila Statom for General Sessions Court Judge Division 4
Gwen Tidwell for Criminal Court Clerk

Don’t forget, early voting starts today and continues through Saturday, August 2nd! Election Day is Thursday, August 7th.

Pam Fleenor2 Ardena Garth2

Patsy Hazlewood2 Christie Mahn Sell2

Lila Statom2 Gwen Tidwell2

Early Voting Starts Tomorrow!

Early voting starts tomorrow at one of four locations: Brainerd Recreational Center, Eastwood Church, Hamilton County Election Commission and Northgate Mall. Early voting is quick and easy. Plus, you get to avoid the lines on Election Day! Early voting continues through Saturday, August 2nd.

Results from School Board Candidate Survey

CWLI’s Women Impacting Policy Committee, School Board Liaison team, sent a brief survey to the 19 qualified candidates for the August School Board race. The purpose of this survey is to learn  from these candidates why they want to serve on the Hamilton County School Board, why the feel they are qualified to do so and what they plan to bring to the table as a School Board member. Below are the responses we received as of the deadline.

 

Responses from Larry Lewis:

  1. Why do you want to be on the school board?

I’ve learned that when faced with difficult issues you have three options. You can ignore it, criticize those who are trying to fix it, or jump in and help. I prefer to roll up my sleeves and give back to the community that has supported me.

  1. What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

My position as Applications Administrator at McKee Foods requires an analytical and detail oriented solution to problems, where it’s necessary to solicit input from a multitude of people and systems before I design and implement an economically feasible correction.

I’ve been trained in project management, and I have participated on several major implementation teams, including McKee’s Peer Review Implementation Team —  a hand selected group of McKee employees who created rules and policy governing the process by which an employee can request to have their termination reviewed by a board of their peers. I also currently sit on the Peer Review Team.

In a nutshell, I’m a highly trained computer geek who solves problems with logic, and I hope to inject some much needed logic into the decisions our school board makes, as well as the discourse they have with our county commission.

I’ve lived in this community for 52 of my 53 years, and my four daughters have all attended Hamilton County Schools. I’ve been exposed to many of the situations every parent has been through, and if elected I hope to bring my experience as a parent and grandparent, as well as my problem solving skills, to the Hamilton County School Board.

  1. If it was within your power to change only one thing in the school system what would it be?

I would create avenues to encourage more parental involvement in their child’s education. Studies have shown where the parents are involved students have better attendance, higher grades, better social skills, and are more likely to go on to higher-level programs. You can have new schools with the best teachers money can buy, but if the children aren’t encouraged and motivated to attend and do well our graduation rates will be dismal and our children’s futures questionable.

  1. What issues do you think the Superintendent should champion in his leadership role for Hamilton County Schools?

For decades Tennessee has been listed in the top ten of the FBI’s most violent states report, and a recent Wall Street Journal article listed Tennessee as the “most dangerous state in America”, where “high school and college graduation rates are lower than most of the country.” As a grandfather, father, and proud Tennessean I feel this is totally unacceptable! Children who do not receive a good education are much more likely to engage in criminal activities, and it is past time that we identify and address these issues.

  1. Would you support raising taxes in some way to support the schools if the funds were dedicated entirely to schools and to no other purpose?

For far too long, too many schools have gone without much needed maintenance. Hamilton County hasn’t been able to sustain the existing educational infrastructure, much less keep up with the rapidly expanding population growth in the eastern part of the county.

It’s time for our elected officials to re-prioritize the needs of our school system and be good stewards of the hard-earned tax dollars they are already receiving.

Responses from Jim Watson

  1. Why do you want to be on the school board?

I have been in the classroom for 40+ years and during that time have seen a deterioration of student achievement due to many factors. There a number of reasons for this decline, some of which the schools can make adjustments to improve the situation. I will use my classroom experience of teaching in a variety of environments to work with other talented professionals  to develop system wide programs to increase achievement at all levels.

  1. What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

I have been involved in just about every aspect of education in Hamilton County.  During my classroom tenure I have taught almost every science class and even created a few like Geology and Applied Science. I have coached soccer and wrestling, started a few teams in new schools, and even been involved in changes at the state level. I was a trustee on the sick leave bank for the first 20 years of its existence along with developing or assisting many professional development activities for teachers. Overall, I have worked with different levels of education to develop and promote programs from pre Kindergarden to college.

My financial experience includes planning, conducting and fundraising for the 60+ overnight field activities I have developed and, the management of the athletic teams. Next year I will be teaching Dual Enrollment Geology as a way to stay in touch with the learning environment while on the school board.

  1. If it was within your power to change only one thing in the school system what would it be?

I am going to work on implementing at least 1 stop gap in a child’s education. At the end of first grade, if a student, not under an IEP, is not reading on grade level that student will have a difficult time catching up.  An intensive reading program needs to be implemented to support the child’s achievement towards grade level. As a continued initiative further stop gaps in the upper grades and different disciplines would follow.

  1. What issues do you think the Superintendent should champion in his leadership role for Hamilton County Schools?

We have supportive programs for gifted, high achieving, and special needs students but very little support for the “average” student. We need levels of instruction that will challenge all students at their ability levels. An example would be three instructional levels for Chemistry to meet each student’s instructional need.

  1. Would you support raising taxes in some way to support the schools if the funds were dedicated entirely to schools and to no other purpose?

I would support a small tax increase only if the money went 100% to a very specific need. Examples would be the building of a new school, the renovation of an old school, labs and supplies for science classes, reading programs for early elementary, etc. I would not support any increase for administration of those programs. The entire tax increase would have to get directly and completely to the learning environment.

Responses from Oscar Brock

  1. Why do you want to be on the school board?

Education offers the one clear path out of poverty. For decades, the American education system offered that opportunity in an egalitarian manner, but that equality of opportunity is disappearing. There are excellent schools that are preparing students effectively to enter the workforce or pursue higher education, but there are many more schools that are failing to graduate qualified people.

We can talk about social justice. We can talk about the income gap. But the most damaging gap we’ve created is the opportunity gap. If a child is in the wrong school zone, she’ll have far less chance of lifelong success than a kid in a better zone. We have to give the opportunity for a high quality education to every child. It is our moral imperative.

Doyle McManus wrote the following column in the L.A. Times that defines the imperative far more eloquently than I can: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcmanus-column-opportunity-gap-20140518-column.html

  1. What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

I have a Bachelors Degree in Economics from Stanford University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Vanderbilt. I have a passion for lifelong learning, and a passion for this community.

In real estate development, our successes were grounded in collaborative, solutions-based strategic thinking. Time and again, local knowledge and deep community relationships gave us, and our clients, substantial competitive advantage. I would apply the same theories to my role on the school board.

I have served on a number of area Boards, and I’ve learned what it takes to be a responsible board member. I would ask of myself and fellow board members: What is our mission? Do we provide sufficient and proper financial oversight? Have we secured adequate resources? Do we have effective long-term and short-term planning? Are we communicating effectively and appropriately with the public? Is the Board environment conducive to success?

I currently serve as Chairman of the Board of the Chattanooga Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, secretary and treasurer of the Hand Foundation, a Tennessee-based philanthropic organization, and as an active member of the Chattanooga Rotary club. I am a member of the executive committee member of the Tennessee Republican Party and have previously served as the state party treasurer.

I have served as president of the Chattanooga Jaycees, which, at the time, was the second-largest Jaycee chapter in the nation. I served as a board member and treasurer of The Bethlehem Center, a community center in a disadvantaged neighborhood, and as a board member of the Mental Health Association, the Volunteer Behavioral Health Centers and the Mental Health Housing Corporation.

I am a past Senior Warden, vestry member and priest search committee member of the Church of the Good Shepherd. I was elected as a member of the Bishop and Council of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee.

  1. If it was within your power to change only one thing in the school system what would it be?

The single most important element of a student’s success is her family. We know that regardless of a family’s income or race, children with involved families have better attendance, behavior, grades, and graduation rates. Without exception, great schools have very high parental involvement. Failing and poor performing schools have insufficient family engagement. The topic is complex, and there aren’t clear answers. We do know that schools, in order to be successful, must create deeper levels of engagement.

If I could change any one thing about our schools, it would be to increase the level of parental participation.

  1. What issues do you think the Superintendent should champion in his leadership role for Hamilton County Schools?

Historically, we’ve not compensated teachers as the professionals that they are. Starting salaries are $36,000 per year, and the highest salary for a tenured teacher with a doctorate is $63,000. We have many excellent teachers, and we shouldn’t expect them to work for much less compensation than they would earn in the private sector or other areas of the public sector. They are highly educated, highly intelligent people, and we entrust them with instilling in our youth a love of learning. I think the superintendent (and the Board of Education) should champion better wages for our teachers.

  1. Would you support raising taxes in some way to support the schools if the funds were dedicated entirely to schools and to no other purpose?

Over the last 30 years, per pupil funding has increased 300% (in real, inflation adjusted dollars) with only a marginal increase in test scores. Much of those additional funds, of course, have gone to health care costs, and some has been spent in programs mandated by Washington D.C. and Nashville. I would support raising taxes for education once two objectives had been achieved: 1. A rigorous external audit of school system identifying opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies, and 2. A clear determination where the new dollars will be allocated with a corresponding cost/benefit analysis so that we can make an informed, concise case to the taxpayers.

Responses from Samevelyn Rock

  1. I want to be on the school board because I am a true advocate of public schools; I also want to stop the derailing of public schools. I am always emphasizing the role of the schools on the future of our nations. I want to encourage parent involvement with emphasis on a partnership between the parent and the teacher. I want all components of our community to be held accountable for the education of our children.   I want to bring back some the old school techniques to support the students and not let standardized testing continue to drive education policy. Students are more than a test.
  1. I am qualified to serve on the school board because I am a 4th generation educator with 40 years of experience from Pre-K to College, serving in rural suburban and urban school settings. I have been elected the first Black President of the Hamilton County Education Association (2003-2005) Vice President of HCEA (2001-2003). I also served as Vice President with NAACP Chattanooga Branch (2005-2007) and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. I was inducted into WHO’s WHO in American Education (2004); also designated as Educator of the year (2009) by WHO’s WHO in American Education. Inducted into Alpha Xi Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma National Education Sorority and just this year I was awarded the Lifetime Service and Dedication award.

Experience:

  • Masters of Education from Trevecca Nazarene College
  • BS from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Extensive course work at Vanderbilt University, John Hopkins University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville

I have held the following positions in the public schools: Kindergarten teacher and grade level Chairman; Title I Reading Teacher; Title I Lead Teacher; Title I Parent Coordinator for the City School System in Chattanooga; PTA and PTO Liaison; Lead Math and Science Teacher; Designated Principal and a Coach

  1. If there was one thing in the school system I could change it would be the emphasizes on testing. There is too much testing and not enough teaching. Standardized testing must not continue to drive education policy. Teachers need professional autonomy to tailor developmentally appropriate curriculum to students, not to the test.
  1. The superintendent should be a true advocate of public schools. He should help to increase salaries, protect salaries and benefits for all Hamilton county employees. He should be a good problem solver, a good leader, and he should work to protect a good contract for his employers.
  1. I will not support raising taxes in the name of education because in my 40 years I have never seen it done. Many times promises have been made to the community that the taxes were being raised for education and to this date there has always been a loop hole.

Responses from Yashika Ward

  1. Why do you want to be on the school board?   It’s time for a change. I used to “talk about it”, Now it’s time for me “To be about it” I have a personal interest in improving the quality of the school system, and I believe in public education.  I am a proud product of it.
  2. What makes you qualified to serve on the school board? I have worked in the social services and non- profit  sector of many years.  I have the ability to work well with a diverse group of people and  I have the ablitilty to work well with a team and support group decisions. I know how to manage a budget.  Since working in the social service sector I know how to advocate for those that I serve.  I  have a keen eye toward serving the needs of others.
  3. If it was within your power to change only one thing in the school system what would it be? I would want the school system to re-engineer the operations to keep our standards high and to truly invest in our children.  We need to form ongoing partnerships with our communities and be more proactive when it comes to preventative maintenance with our schools. Example, Developing a 3-5 year plan on building new schools over time. We need to develop a plan of action to address this ASAP. A needs assessment of all of our schools would be great. We  need to publish it and put it out for public comment.
  4. What issues do you think the Superintendent should champion in his leadership role for Hamilton County Schools? Forming a team.  He needs to let everyone know that we are a team when it comes to educating our children.   They we all should have the same goals……. Educating our children by any means necessary.
  5. Would you support raising taxes in some way to support the schools if the funds were dedicated entirely to schools and to no other purpose? No.  We must learn to use resources more wisely and learn to manage what we have. We need to know how much it cost to run each school, budget more realistic and plan for the unexpected.  We need to be pro-active at all times not re-active.

Responses from Karitsa Mosley

  1. Why do you want to be on the school board?

My Campaign Platform is: Accountability, Advocacy, and Accessibility. I believe the most important change we can make as a community is to improve educational opportunities for our children, through better support for families and schools. It is this core belief that has driven me to step forward and commit to making a difference. I am running for the office of School Board Member because I want to be an advocate for our children’s future. I want to be accessible to the students, parents, school staff /administration and community in which I will serve to make ensure that their needs are addressed. Lastly, I want to be held accountable and to hold others accountable for our students’ academic failure and success. I will bring fresh eyes, new energy and innovative ideas, along with committed proven leadership to the Hamilton County School Board. I possess an ability to be a leader and a team player in efforts to achieve the necessary outcome for goals set before us as community leaders in ensuring that our children receive a quality education.

  1. What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

As a licensed master social worker by profession, I have advocated on a daily basis for the past nine years for children, adults and their families in an array of work environments. Be it the role of Community Liaison, Therapist, Case Manager or Social Worker, I answer the call to advocacy and I do not take that responsibility lightly. I am always willing to be a voice for others. I possess a spirit of hard work, dedication and compassion to help others in even the toughest of situations. I am able to make critical assessments and decisions daily that affect lives both holistically and individually. I make these decisions with the most genuine, concrete and sound decision making skills that I can exhibit. I believe that these are skills needed to be an effective school board member. It is my belief that with a safe environment, adequate teachers, available resources, along with community support and parent engagement that we can elevate achievement levels and close achievement gaps in our system so that our children can succeed.

I also possess skills and experience that a school board member should have that will make for effective outcome. Some of these skills include: budgeting, long term strategy and decision making with others. As a Social worker, I am charged with the duty of helping people in need and addressing their presenting problems. Throughout my career, I have developed and mastered many skills to provide effective and adequate outcomes. These key skills include but are not limited to: Case Management, Resource Management, Conflict Resolution, Crisis Intervention, Therapeutic Intervention, Patient/Family Education, Employee Development & Engagement, Team/Moral Building, SWOT analysis, and budgeting. My skills, knowledge and expertise in budgeting, long term strategy and decision making include both personal and professional experience. At my last employer, I sat on an employee leadership board as a Service Excellence Action Leader. This afforded me the opportunity to work with my colleagues to assess and review cost effectiveness, throughput, benefits compensation, in sourcing and outsourcing needs that best fit the organization. We also shared best practices with our departments and peers. A key skill that I found successful on our team was to conduct unit SWOT analysis to decide if an objective is obtainable and therefore enables the organization to set achievable goals, objectives, and steps to further the organization’s development effort. Currently, I am employed as a Social Services Director for a 108 bed skilled nursing facility in which I serve as head of the social services department and as member of the administrative interdisciplinary care team. As a small business owner, my business partner and I create strategic business plan updates with short and long term strategies for business growth. We also work together to adopt budget proposals and final budgets to accommodate the event need based on projected needs and service costs. And finally, as past co chair of my public service organization’s girls mentor program; my co chair and I created program framework and implemented program curriculum to enrich and enhance the education of young ladies ages 11-18. I also created yearly calendars and budgets to effectively run the program during my five year tenure as Co Chair.

  1. If it was within your power to change only one thing in the school system what would it be?

Work towards the implementation of the Best practices model “high poverty, high performing schools” in low performing school communities to aid in increased academic achievement levels; as well as to enhance students access to innovative models of learning that include increased exposure to technology in the learning environments. This will help to ensure that students are graduating prepared for real world experiences (post secondary education, vocational trades, military and employment opportunities).

  1. What issues do you think the Superintendent should champion in his leadership role for Hamilton County Schools?

Adequate and Equal Funding – Past Budgets show that the funding has not been equal across the districts in the Hamilton County School System.

School and Classroom Safety – If students are in a safe environment then students are able to learn and teachers are able to teach without distraction.

Student Preparedness/ Pathways Programs – All students are not college material, but this doesn’t mean that they cannot be equipped with the necessary skills needed to be productive members of society.

  1. Would you support raising taxes in some way to support the schools if the funds were dedicated entirely to schools and to no other purpose?

Yes, I would support raising taxes in some way to support the schools if the funds were dedicated entirely to schools and to no other purpose. I would support this tax increase so that all students system wide would then be able to have access to more resources across the board in the classroom, increased teacher support and retention, technological innovations, extracurricular educational activities (ROTC, Athletics, Fine Arts, and Band), pathways programs, literacy programs, building improvements and renovations.

 

 

Women on the Ballot

In an effort to promote women’s participation in our local political arena, the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute wants to recognize its members who are on the ballot for Hamilton County’s upcoming election. Learn more about these CWLI members by clicking the buttons below. The candidates include:

  • Lisa Zarzour Bowman for Circuit Court Clerk
  • Pam McNutt Fleenor for Chancery Court Judge
  • Ardena Garth for Public Defender
  • Patsy Hazlewood for State Representative for District 27
  • Pam Ladd for County Commission
  • Christie Mahn Sell  for General Sessions Court Judge Division 1
  • Lila Statom for General Sessions Court Judge Division 4

Don’t forget, the Primary Election is on Tuesday, May 6th. Early voting concludes this Thursday, May 1st.

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School Board Technology Committee Meeting

The Hamilton County Board of Education Technology Committee meeting previously scheduled for this Friday, March 28 has been rescheduled. The meeting will be held on Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. in the Superintendent’s Conference Room, 3074 Hickory Valley Road, Chattanooga, TN.

Contact Person:

Ann Bates

Executive Assistant to the Board

423-209-8600

School Board Technology Committee Meeting

The Hamilton County Board of Education Technology Committee will meet on Friday, March 28, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. in the Superintendent’s Conference Room at 3074 Hickory Valley Road.

Contact Person:

Ann Bates

Executive Assistant to the Board

423-209-8600

Update on School Board Working Sessions

The Hamilton County Board of Education budget work session was previously scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 20. The meeting will begin at 4:00 p.m.

The HCBE Technology Committee will also meet on Thursday, March 20 in the Superintendent’s Conference Room at 3:00 p.m.

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