On February 23rd, I will be filing to run for a seat on the Henderson County School Board. The first thing you need to know about me is that I am the most qualified candidate. As a National Board-Certified teacher since 1990, a college counselor, a business owner, and a concerned parent, I will be bringing a lifetime of educational experience to the board.
Henderson County’s high school graduation rate is 93% – but there is an important disconnect that nobody is talking about. Only 28% of our students go on to college and emerge with a degree, while 72% of our students either don’t go or never finish college. That directly translates to a lower standard of living, since college graduates earn twice as much in salary than high school graduates do. We have to change that. We have to give our young men and women every possible advantage when it comes to preparing them for a life in which they will be prosperous and successful.
We need to make sure that our schools have enough guidance counselors to guide them through the process of preparing for and applying to colleges. We need to help them make good, solid, informed decisions about career paths. Not everyone is aiming for college, but the more vocational and academic doors that students have open to them, the better off they’ll be.
Most importantly, our School Board in Henderson County needs to be engaged with our community, and to represent fresh ideas, from people who have educational experience. As a National Board-certified teacher, as a parent, and as a college counselor, I know the curriculum and I know how to provide the tools that teachers need to do their jobs. I know the goals that students need to reach, and how to encourage them to get there. I know what is necessary in the classroom and what is unnecessary, and I know what works and what represents a waste of tax dollars.
Think about this. The relationships that form between teachers and students are important, energizing bonds that can last a lifetime. Ask any successful person and they will inevitably point you towards that one teacher who was most instrumental, most encouraging, and most responsible for their success. The relationship between teachers and parents cement that bond when there is mutual respect and understanding.
A smoothly functioning school system is not one where school officials are patting themselves on the back for a high graduation rate and issuing awards that don’t mean anything. It’s not a system where school board officials are surprised when a factory goes in across the street from an elementary school. Instead, it’s one where there is a pyramid of support, with a huge base of happy students; hard-working and well-respected teachers; and a proactive, fiscally responsible county School Board that values the contributions of all involved from the bottom of the pyramid all the way up to the top.
This is not a dream. We can make this happen, but we need new leadership to facilitate this change.