In the front-page article in our Oct. 6 issue, wherein local candidates gave their answers to our questions, we reported – incorrectly – that the candidate for District 9 of the Beaufort County School Board race was running unopposed.
We have since asked the two candidates for that office to answer each of those same three questions in 100 words or less:
1. Why have you chosen to run?
2. What is unique in your background experience or education that would persuade voters to choose you?
3. What is the single most important issue that should be dealt with by the office for which you are running?
Answers are presented in alphabetical order. District 9 of the school board includes the southern-most area of Greater Bluffton, as well as Daufuskie Island.
1. I want to continue to improve public education (student achievement) in our community. Under my leadership as the current chair, the school board has hired our superintendent, Dr. Frank Rodriguez, had the first successful school bond referendum in 11 years pass with 70% voter support, and we were the only school board of the 80-plus in the state to propose legislation for the 2020-21 session. We support legislation to raise S.C. teacher salaries to the national average, to eliminate the salary cap for hiring retirees and to expand access to broadband statewide for remote learning.
2. As a resident of Beaufort County since 1989, a parent of three children who were educated in the Bluffton public schools K-12, and a physician and business owner, I have the experience, qualifications and accomplishments to continue to serve as the District 9 member on the board. I have a proven track record of knowing the issues well and getting things done. See answer 1 above.
3. The key challenge always facing the school board is to improve public education (student achievement) by fulfilling our fiduciary duty to steer the school district towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical and legal governance and financial management policies, while ensuring adequate resources are available to advance the district’s mission. This is especially difficult with the pandemic, as two learning environments are needed (virtual and face-to-face) and a temporary budget is in place. Less revenue is anticipated. I will continue to represent all stakeholders in District 9 and be fiscally responsible while making student achievement the priority.
1. I decided to run because I want to improve education for every student in our public schools. Academic excellence, employee recruitment/retention, and listening to input from every stakeholder in the community are at the forefront of why I chose to run.
2. My 19-plus years of federal service with the military afforded me opportunities to work with a diverse population of people and across various professions related to the field of education. I will work to improve communication with constituents through visibility as a school board member in our schools and the community and provide improved accessibility as an elected official. Your vote can help create a school board reflective of our community and the education issues that you want addressed.
3. The school board must do its due diligence in providing operations transparency to the community. The board can provide this transparency by approving annual budgets in line with needs of the school district and reviewing, implementing and amending policy as needed. The board should welcome and receive input from every stakeholder (students, parents, staff and community members) to create a solid foundation that will encourage community members to become invested in the overall academic success of every student. Strengthening parent/guardian relationships with the school district to improve trust is also imperative.