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Early Voting Continues Through Thursday, October 30th!

Early Voting has begun and will continue through Thursday, October 30th.  Election Day is November 4th.  Please vote!!

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:

Mary Headrick for Congressional District 3

Patsy Hazlewood for State Representative for District 27

Pat Fountain for Collegedale City Council

CWLI Patricia Fountain Bio CWLI Candidate Flyer Headrick CWLI Patsy Hazlewood Bio3

Know Before You GO! Latest Results from School Board Candidate Survey

CWLI’s Women Impacting Policy Committee School Board Liaison team sent, for a second time, a brief electronic survey to the 19 qualified candidates for the August School Board race. Below indicates each candidate’s response. Unfortunately, we were simply unable to send the email survey to Tim White, and we regret that he did not have an opportunity to respond. In addition, one candidate responded as “Anonymous,” and we have no way of knowing to whom to attribute the response. We are pleased to report that 76% of the school board candidates who received the survey did provide responses for your review. Please vote! Your voice matters!

 

 

Responses from Greg Martin, District 3

Why do you want to be on the school board?

I am Greg Martin running for District Three. I am a fifth generation resident of Hamilton County. My four children and I attended 5 of the 8 public schools in District Three. I graduated from Hixson High and hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Bryan College. Because Hixson is my home, I have a vested interest in what the community looks like and what it will become for future generations. 

I believe a prosperous community is impossible without a good public education system.  I want to ensure that every citizen has an equal opportunity for a future that is free, prosperous, and contributes to the good of society.

All opportunities for this type of success flow from a strong education system.  We can talk about income, equality, fairness, jobs and housing, but nothing gives young people a path to success in these areas without a conversation about education.  At the end of the day, I want to provide our future generations an equal opportunity to experience their personal prosperity.”

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

I have served on the Hamilton County Board of Education since March of 2012.  Also, I served on the Long Beach, Mississippi School Board from 1993 to 1996 when I lived in that community.  In 1988, I was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  I was elevated by my peers to serve as Chairman of that Board in 1995-1996.  The Home Mission Board is a benevolent organization and had a budget of over $80 million with 5,000 employees at that time.  Currently, I serve on the Board of Directors of the Hixson Council of the Chamber of Commerce and for the Friends of Hixson.  I am an active member of the Hixson Kiwanis Club and my church, Calvary Chapel Chattanooga.

My wife taught in the Hamilton County Schools for 10 years.  I am keenly aware of the labor by our professional employees.

My background is in business.  I am the manager of Lakewood Memory Gardens South and Hamilton County Memorial Park.

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

Parental involvement is huge when it comes to the outcomes of young people.  We need to have policies and administrators that encourage parental participation in our public education system.  In District Three, there are two schools that have been recognized as being in the top 5% in the state of Tennessee in improvement and academic gains.  Ganns Middle Valley was recognized last year for progress in the state.  It has one of the most active PTAs in all of Hamilton County.  For the past two years, Big Ridge Elementary has been rated in the top 5% of schools in Tennessee for academics.  It regularly has over 10,000 volunteer hours documented every year.

I want to advocate for more community involvement in all of our schools.  I believe that this will send the right message to our young people about how important their education is to their future.

 

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

The Superintendent has done a good job since taking office in 2011.  I think he should continue to advocate for partnerships between business, government, and education. It would ensure that our young people have all the resources necessary and provide a variety of avenues for students to have success in the classroom and beyond.

From an internal perspective, I think the Superintendent should look for ways to reduce administrative expenses and reallocate those resources for the classroom.  It is the nature of organizations as large as the Hamilton County Department of Education to add layers of management. The Superintendent should constantly work to move our resources toward teachers.  I was proud this past year to vote for the Superintendent’s recommendation to give a 3% raise to teachers and a 1% bonus without having to ask county government for a tax increase.

 

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?

When I served on the Long Beach School Board, we had the authority to raise taxes for public education.  I never voted for such a tax increase.

Our system in Hamilton County puts the responsibility of collecting revenue for public education in the hands of the state legislature and the county commission.  I would support the effort to increase the tax base if the citizens demanded it.  Currently, the state of Tennessee’s resources for public education are lacking when you look at surrounding states.  As a private citizen, I would gladly pay more taxes for public education.

For more information about my campaign please visit my website at www.electgregmartin.com

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Responses from Jim Watson, District 3

Why do you want to be on the school board?

With 42 years of classroom experience, I have developed an understanding of the needs for effective education for all students. Those needs are the following:

  1. Support: Each community has its specific needs met to provide a quality and comprehensive education for all students.
  2. Adequate materials and supplies: As a science teacher, I know the importance of the lab, field, or project experience in a quality science education. Without funding for materials, teachers have to improvise and lose student interest.
  3. Effective professional development: Teachers need frequent PD to keep their skills sharp. Most PD in schools today is “”sit and listen”” which is the least effective learning method. When teachers teach to other teachers everyone benefits.
  4. Reduction of class disruptions: Every disruption reduces instruction time. Maintaining smaller classes increases effective instruction time and reduces disruptions.”

 

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

I’ve taught the sciences for 42 years at 6 different high schools to a wide variety of student abilities. I’ve created and implemented 60+ overnight and 200+ day field activities along with fund raising. I’ve taken an active role in curriculum design, teacher certification, professional development, mentoring new teachers, coaching soccer and wrestling, and leadership in our profession. I was twice voted Outstanding Earth Science Teacher for Tennessee and was the first president of the Tennessee Earth Science Teachers. I’ve made many presentations at state and national conventions and received numerous grants with the most recent being the past four years from Volkswagen for Environmental Education. I have also been on the boards of the Nature Center and NCCC for 8 years. I will continue to teach next year at Ivy Academy in dual enrollment Geology. I will be the school board’s direct link to the ever changing classroom as well as conducting professional development for all teachers.

 

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

There are a number of needs that I would like to see addressed from more effective professional development to more money going to the classroom for materials. However, the biggest need that can be fixed very quickly is the curriculum in the high schools. Presently, the high school curriculum is just college prep. There needs to be more choices for the high school student.

  1. College Prep: A course of study that includes 4 years of higher math, advanced science, and language, 2 years of foreign language, and a research project that follows district guidelines.
  2. Business: A course of study that includes 4 years of business related math, 3 years of science, 4 years of language, public speaking, 3 years of business courses, and 2 years business mentorship.
  3. Vocational: A course of study that includes 4 years of vocational related math, 3 years of science, 4 years of language, 2 years of shop, and 2 years of vocational mentorship.

 

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

A good superintendent will have the following qualities, characteristics, and values.

  1. Fair: Everyone is different and a superintendent has to treat and evaluate each person on their merits and accomplishments. When favorites are picked then moral is lowered and students lose.
  2. Trustworthy: Everyone in education has to be trustworthy since we have impressionable children in our classes. When a superintendent is trustworthy by backing up words with actions, teachers will follow suit.
  3. Communication: A good superintendent will not only give clear direction to the school district but also listen to school personnel. They also need to respond to parent and community needs for each specific school.
  4. Supportive: The most important quality of the superintendent is “do they support their teachers”. That comes in the form of adequate pay, materials for the classroom, fair evaluations, respect, and quick actions to address needs of the classroom.

 

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 tax increase for only two reasons. First, if there was a natural or man-made disaster and measures were needed to continue the educational process. Secondly, if the money went directly to the instructional environment and three conditions were met.

  1. Collaboration: At least one teacher and one community representative from each school will illustrate the need and develop the program. Examples would be a remedial reading program or an outward bound program to promote positive attitudes.
  2. School board budget: All expenditures will be clearly put forth into the budget in laymen’s terms and communicated to the community.
  3. Professional development: Teachers were provided effective PD where more collaboration was implemented at the local school by the teacher representative who developed the program.

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Responses from Patrick D. Hampton, District 5

Why do you want to be on the school board?

I’m Patrick D. Hampton candidate for District 5 school board. For the last decade, I have spent countless hours training and mentoring students in District 5 schools. I’ve witnessed students with great potential and great parent involvement enroll in college or the military and become successful and productive citizens. I’ve also witnessed students with great potential but very little parental and community support, slip through the cracks of our educational system and yield to a life of crime and violence. I believe our public education system is failing some of our students and I want make sure every student in our district has a quality education and the tools to build their dreams.

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

My wife and I have been taxpaying citizens of District 5 since we started working as teenagers. We both attended and graduated from District 5 elementary, middle and high schools. Now, we have four children that we are raising in District 5. Today, she works as Dental Hygienist for the Veterans Administration and I work as Director of Goodwill Youth Mentoring Program. We understand that the foundation of our success was our District 5 education.  My passion for the district, years of dedicated service and experience in impacting at risk students is what qualifies me to serve on the school board.

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

If it were in my power to change one thing, it would be how we educate our children from the ages of 0-3. All of the data shows that children living in poverty fall behind socially and educationally during these critical years. This is where our educational system can have the most impact on student achievement. I believe we can restructure our current Pre-K programs to impact our literacy rates.

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

A superintendent must have vision, competence and a team to carry out that vision. He/She must be able to lay out a comprehensive plan for all the districts. He/She must understand the art of education and the different socio-economic factors that impact the learning environments of students. This enables him/her to make the necessary leadership changes that will have the most impact on students. Most of all he/she must be a man/woman of logic and conviction.  These are the qualities I believe a superintendent must possess.

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 do not support raising taxes unless the people of Hamilton vote to raise taxes. I still believe government is still for the people and by the people. The citizens of Hamilton County should make the decision on raising taxes for educational purposes not politicians.  Our school system has a 400 million dollar annual budget. I believe that’s more than enough to educate the children in Hamilton County if the funding of our schools are distributed in an equitable manner. To be effective and good stewards of tax dollars we must assess and fund the needs in the classrooms and work our way back to central office.

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Responses from Karitsa Mosley, District 5

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.

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.

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).

 

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

 

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.

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.

 

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Responses from Jackie Thomas, District 5

Why do you want to be on the school board?

I am seeking the District 5 School Board vacancy in order to put my knowledge, skills and ability to work for the community. I currently have a Bachelors and Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Social Work.   Having many educational experiences allows me to understand the holistic approach that is needed with new policy development and implementation of the TN Common Core.   I know and understand the importance of being able to choose an educational path of college or vocational trade.   My ability to take advantage of vocational training in high school allowed me to become a licensed Cosmetologist. My education also affords me the ability to understand the importance of utilizing research and evidence based programs to help bridge the gap of academic achievement”

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

My education, community service experience / involvement and effective teaming are three important skills that I believe make me qualified to serve on the school board. 

My life’s work has been working within my community advocating, engaging others and locating needed resources for families. My social work background has given me the experience of teaming with families and others to achieve long & short term goals.

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

The one thing I would change if given the power would be to close the academic achievement gap within all of the schools, especially in the District 5.

 

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

I believe a school superintendent should have great integrity, compassion, moral values and strength that will give him/her the ability to effective communication with everyone.

 

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?

At this time I would say no, as a new board member I would first become familiar with all current funding, where it is going and if it is being utilized in the best way.  No one likes new taxes and often times new taxes fall on homeowners.   The school system needs to be adequately funded and the challenge will be where the funds will come from.  Community partnership which encourages active participation from parents, youth, teachers, business, churches and others is one way to begin the dialogue of how we can help solve some of the funding issues ourselves.  Once we have completed our needs assessment we as a unified team can present our remaining needs to those legislatures who determine/approve funding needs.

 

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Responses from Yashika Ward, District 5

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.

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 ability 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.

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.

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

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.

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.

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Responses from Oscar Brock, District 6

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

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

I have a Bachelor’s 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.

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.

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

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.

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.

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Responses from Joe Galloway, District 6

Why do you want to be on the school board?

I understand the importance of education being such a life changing factor in society, and being on the school board gives me an opportunity to make decisions that directly effect the direction of our children.”

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

Every successful organization begins with effective, unified leadership.  Having worked for 39 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator; and having served the last 4 years on the school board, I believe that I have displayed the attitude and skills necessary to provide such leadership.

 

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

Funding to allow us keep up with the maintenance of all of the many buildings that we are responsible for in Hamilton County.

 

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

Leadership and a recognition of people who care about other people. Any successful school superintendent needs to make tough decisions and then take responsibility for those decisions, but must also be able to recognize quality leaders to be principals that can exhibit those same skills while treating people fairly and with compassion.

 

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?

  1. Because education is such a key to success, I would gladly pay more to see higher funding for public education.

 

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Responses from Samevelyn Rock, District 6

Why do you want to be on the school board?

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.

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

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

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

If there was one thing in the school system I could change it would be the emphasis 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.

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

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.

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 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.

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Responses from Ballard Scearce, District 6

Why do you want to be on the school board?

I currently have two children in the public school system, with a third that will begin this fall.  I feel it is my responsibility as a parent and our responsibility as a community to give our children the best possible chance to succeed in life and a large part of that is the education system that we provide for them.  

I have been involved with the HCDE with respect to several issues over the past several years and I have been less than impressed with our representation in District 6 and believe that we deserve better.

For these reason I have decided to run for this position.

 

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

I am an active member of several local community and non-profit boards and I understand what a board’s job is with respect to an organization.

I am a parent of three children in the public school system which gives me a unique perspective.  I talk daily with principals, administrators, teachers and other parents and that sets me apart.

I have a deep understanding of the economics surrounding a $400,000,000 budget as I have been involved in multi-billion dollar transactions throughout my legal career and having that understanding I believe to be very important.

I am an attorney which has taught me to carefully identify and analyze issues which is important to any board. I am always careful to listen to differing views and make decisions based upon a full body of evidence rather than emotion which is an important trait to possess.

Having received the endorsement of both sides of the Chatt. Free Press I am not alone in my belief that I am qualified to serve.

 

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

I would change our stagnant way of educating our children and implement a system that does a better job of training our children for today’s workplace.  We are seeing jobs that employers are unable to fill due to our children not having the proper skills.  While I believe that we still have to teach our children the “3 Rs,” we have to do a better job of giving our children the skills that current employers are seeking.  This is accomplished through an expanded vocational education program and partnering with various companies in our community.  We are in the middle of technological renaissance and we have to take advantage of that from an educational perspective.

We have to cut the chains off of our teachers’ hands and simply let them teach.  While I understand the need for administrative oversight, we have to cut down on the restrictions on our teachers as they are the ones that are with our children day in and day out and have the best perspective of how best a child can learn.

 

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

A superintendent has to be a person with strong leadership characteristics while at the same time being willing to listen to the ideas of his/her support staff and board. 

A superintendent is not unlike a CEO, as the HCDE is nothing more than a $400,000,000 company that needs to be run as such and the qualities that I would look for are not dissimilar than those that you look for in a CEO.  They should have a very deep knowledge of the educational industry and a deep understanding of the financial aspects of the HCDE.

 

A superintendent should also have a loyal and committed following within the community and a history of working for the betterment of the educational system.  Without the trust and commitment of the community, a superintendent will not be able to lead effectively.

 

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, I am generally not in favor of raising taxes even if you could effectively earmark those funds, which I do not think you could do. 

However, I am in favor of taking a hard long look at the budget and from a fiscally conservative perspective making some cuts and reallocations as may be appropriate. 

An effective board is always looking at their budgets for improvements and changes that are necessary.

 

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Responses from Dean Moorhouse, District 9

Why do you want to be on the school board?

 

I have actively served the community, parents and kids in District 9 in various roles for the past 12 years. I served as Vice-President and Board of Directors for Ooltewah Youth Association from 2003-2012, Ooltewah High School Touchdown Club President 2010-2012 and still on advisory board, Hunter Middle Booster Club President 2006-2008, Snow Hill PTA President 2003-2004. I have a proven record of leadership, commitment and results by helping raise over 1 million dollars for the kids in District 9. I am presently serving on the D-9 Education Fund board, and Hamilton County Beer Board in an effort to prevent underage sale of alcohol to minors. I am retired and have time to serve the parents and children in District 9 to the best of my ability. With 60% of Hamilton County’s tax dollars devoted to education, I want to make sure the citizens tax dollars are flowing to the classroom.

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

 

I have an A.S. Degree in Respiratory Therapy from CSCC, a B.S. Degree in Management from UTC, and 20+ hours towards my M.B.A from UTC. I have 20 years’ experience in Health Care Management and Administration while being employed by for-profit health care companies. I have managed multi-million dollar budgets and can bring to the local government many tools used by the well managed for-profit companies to maximize efficiency, focus on quality and make sure that the tax dollars flow to the classroom. I have started, from the ground up, two successful companies, one in health care the other in real estate development so I understand the need to operate on a budget while concurrently providing quality services. Having taught 11 years as an Affiliate Clinical Instructor at Chattanooga State, I understand the challenges of both educators and the educational system. A vote for me is a vote for quality, efficiency and fiscal accountability.

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

 

With 60% of Hamilton County’s total budget or $400,000,000 devoted to education the biggest challenge is making sure the tax-payer’s money makes it to the classroom. Given high maintenance costs on older and run down facilities combined with overcrowding in some schools, we must make some difficult decisions. We must take a hard look at all schools, especially the older facilities, those operating below break-even point, and those suburban facilities that are dangerously overcrowded. Newer but fewer facilities would lower maintenance and fixed costs, achieve savings on utilities, and provide an atmosphere more conducive to learning.  Recent studies show that proficiency scores on larger schools tend to be better than their smaller counterparts. Adding High School Vocational programs and partnering with State institutions to keep the “Tennessee Promise” dollars in Hamilton County would provide greater opportunities for some of our youth while keeping Tennessee Promise dollars local.

 

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

 

An ideal school superintendent should have administrative, business and an educational background. Good personal skills, being a positive role model and good business manager are a must. Experience and understanding of State BEP funding, Federal funding and various title programs is essential. The ability to work with local elected officials to garner community support is also essential. I believe Rick Smith has all these qualities and more. I feel the community is fortunate to have a local and capable member who is familiar with both the needs of the community and its direction of growth.

 

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?

 

With Hamilton County receiving the second lowest funding in the State of Tennessee because of the state BEP formula, it is a burden on our local tax payers who are forced to make up what the state does not fund. However, I feel our schools are presently adequately funded. In 2012 the average per pupil expenditure (PPE) was $9,123 in the State of Tennessee. More recent data is not available on the Department of Education’s website. Comparatively, in 2013-2014 Knox County spent $7,054 (PPE), Shelby County $7,800 (PPE), Davidson County $8,993 (PPE) with Hamilton County 2014-2015 budget of $9,500 (PPE). As you can see, our present level of funding should be sufficient. Besides, a tax increase is the responsibility of the County Commission not the Board of Education. If it was BOE responsibility I would not support a property tax increase. However, it should be noted that 62% of the counties in Tennessee have a wheel tax ear- marked for education.

 

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Responses from Larry Lewis, District 9

 

Why do you want to be on the school board?

My wife and I have always taken an interest in our children’s education. We help with their homework, participate in field trips and class activities, and speak with the teachers when we have concerns …but, as most parents, we’d never had reason to be involved in the administration of the school, or county wide board of education.

Things like policy, rules, funding, were nothing more than the subject of complaints between other parents and ourselves. Until a significant issue arose that we felt compelled to address. We made phone calls, sent emails to the members of the school board, and eventually even had face-to-face conversations. Unfortunately, our attempts were met, for the most part, with indifference.

I’m a 54 year old computer geek. When I can’t get information from a system, I fix it. If I can’t fix it, I replace it. The school board has stopped listening to us. The system isn’t working, and I’d like a chance to help fix it.”

 

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

 

I’m a life-long resident of Hamilton County. I have been married to my wife Christy for 16 years.

I’ve been employed by McKee Foods for 36 years. I have received training in conflict mitigation and project management, and have been a member of implementation teams on several multi-million dollar projects. I’ve developed curriculum and taught employees and members of management in a formal classroom environment.

I have 4 children who have attended Hamilton County Schools, and four grandchildren.

I’m the only District 9 candidate who currently has children in school, and my youngest two daughters are preparing to enter the fourth and seventh grades in the fall, so I have a vested interest in the quality and direction of our local schools.

 

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

 

Lack of representation motivated me to run for a seat on the school board. You can’t represent the needs of your district if you don’t talk to the people and groups in it.

I want you to feel comfortable talking to me about issues, to tell me what’s going on in our district and in the schools. I want to have two-way communication with the people in district 9, and in return I’ll make sure your voice is heard by the rest of the board. I want to establish direct lines of communication between students, parents, educators, and myself. I promise to be your voice on the school board.

Another aspect of communication is parental involvement. Studies have shown where parents are involved in their child’s education, students have better attendance, higher grades, better social skills, and are more likely to go on to higher-level education. I intend to hold district meetings, mini-meetings, and use surveys. I want to have an on-line presence where both suggestions and criticism can be posted.

 

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

 

Professionalism: Our Superintendent’s actions should always be above reproach as his/her actions reflect on the students, teachers, and school board of Hamilton County.

Compassion: On occasion our Superintendent has to mete out discipline. This should be handled with compassion and fairness after collecting all pertinent information.

Knowledgeable: Our superintendent should be knowledgeable about current educational trends and funding opportunities.

Open Communication: The superintendent should support an environment that allows open communication, and should foster partnerships with our community, foundations, and government.

 

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 believe in fiscal conservatism. It is imperative our elected officials re-prioritize the needs of our school system and be good stewards of the hard-earned tax dollars they are receiving.

 

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Responses from Anonymous

Why do you want to be on the school board?

What makes you qualified to serve on the school board?

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

What qualities/characteristics/values do you believe a school superintendent must possess?

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 push for the state to give Hamilton County its fair share of state education money as ruled by BEP/2.0.  Now approximately only 56 per cent of our funding is from the state.  If that inequity is rectified, no local tax raise will be needed.

 

Video of 3rd Congressional District Candidate Forum

CWLI, along with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, hosted a Candidate Reception and Forum on July 21st. During the reception, State Primary and Hamilton County General Election candidates were given the opportunity to mingle and speak one-on-one with attendees. The reception was followed by a forum featuring 3rd Congressional Candidates Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, Dr. Mary Headrick and Weston Wamp. To view the forum in its entirety, please click the link below.

Video of 3rd Congressional District Candidate Forum

With over 30 candidates and 200+ guests in attendance, CWLI and UTC greatly appreciate the community’s support of this event. Remember, early voting continues through August 2nd. Election Day is August 7th. Go vote!

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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