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Why am I seeking the office of SR School Board member for District 2?

   First let me express my sincere appreciation to Mr. Hugh Winkles who has faithfully served the citizens of Santa Rosa School District for more than twenty four years. His valued leadership has been instrumental in making Santa Rosa School District one of the best school districts in our state.

   I am seeking this office for one reason, to give back to a school district that I dearly love. It has been an honor to have served in one of the best school districts in our state. I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish in our district through the efforts of many. My mantra has always been about “Servant Leadership”. I want to serve the students, teachers and parents of the Santa Rosa School District.

   I am a fiscal conservative and feel this philosophy is essential in appropriately utilizing the revenue streams/budgeted funds in a fashion that provides security for the district and best meets the needs of our teachers and students. I believe I would be a good steward of those funds of which I am responsible.

   I am passionate concerning all students performing to the best of their ability. We should be facilitating their performance by affording them every opportunity to excel. I believe we can best provide these opportunities in the following ways:

1. Changing the high school and middle school schedules back to a seven period day should be a top priority. It is my understanding making this change would be an expense (approximately 3.5 million) to the district. I’m of the opinion this would be a justifiable expense and one through which many could benefit. This change would provide many additional opportunities for middle and high school students to accelerate their coursework while in school. Participation in additional Honors, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and Industry Certification coursework by high school students would be greatly enhanced. Middle school students could benefit by increased acceleration opportunities (Algebra 2, Geometry, Biology), and those students in need of remediation would no longer be removed from their regular academic classes in order to participate in their needed remediation. Also, and most importantly, we could lessen the burden on our teachers by providing planning periods throughout the day, with no teacher having to teach six consecutive classes.

2. We need to add back the thirty minutes that has been removed from an elementary student’s day. On our current schedule an elementary student’s school day consists almost entirely of core academics. The recess period has become somewhat extinct. I believe recess provides the social interactions that are essential to the proper growth and development of an elementary student. It is my understanding that adding back the 30 minutes would allow elementary teachers to devote additional time to important subject areas such as Social Studies and History. We all understand the importance of having a well-rounded student who is prepared to move to the next level and meet the challenges that middle school presents.

3. The time has come for us to, again, consider the feasibility of initiating an International Baccalaureate in our District. The location/placement of this valuable program should no longer serve as a deterring factor in the initiation of this program. We are losing many of our top performing students to the IB program in Escambia county. (Pensacola High) This should not be occurring.

 4. Increased consideration should be given to a sports program at our middle schools. Experience has taught me that we are losing many of our middle schoolers to inappropriate activities because of a lack of involvement and participation in activities such as school sports. I believe a sports program (limited initially) would provide these students an outlet for their frustrations and allow them to have an increased pride in their school. An engaged student is more likely to perform well in all aspects of school life.

5. We need to make a continued commitment to expand the digital environment for the students of our district. Every student should have their own device and be trained to use them to their fullest potential. Our teachers should be exposed to the highest level of technology training/professional development in order for this technology to be properly infused into every aspect of the classroom environment. It is imperative that we continue to strive for the standard of academic excellence that we have experienced in Santa Rosa county. Therefore, it is essential that we are addressing the tremendous growth in our student population occurring over the next few years. Many of our schools are at capacity and there is simply no additional space for students. Several schools will need to be constructed in the near future and it is of utmost importance that we consider every avenue available to provide space and the necessary funding to meet this need.

    I am excited to have the potential opportunity to provide the important leadership needed to meet the various challenges we will face as a District. We certainly want to celebrate the past successes we have enjoyed, but be firm in the understanding that continued success requires continued efforts on the part of all stakeholders in the Santa Rosa School District. Thanks for taking the time to understand my position on the issues at hand.

What is my position on Common Core?

  I fully support the use of standards to guide our curriculum.  Why?  Because they provide each stakeholder (parents, students, teachers) information as to what a student is expected to know at each level.  However, I’m not a Common Core (Florida) Standards supporter.  First, I do not agree with the NEA (Washington)  determining what we teach our children.  I believe the Constitution gives the responsibility of education to the individual states.  I’m for local control of our educational system because we know best how to educate our children.  I will work with our legislative delegation to see if we can repeal the laws dealing with our use of Florida standards.  However, a school board member takes an oath to follow/support the constitution and laws of the state of Florida,  Until these laws are changed (hopefully will occur), I will be n compliance with those laws.  Remember, a school board member represents the desires of the people to the governor and our legislators.  Change has to begin on that level!  I’m not shifting the responsibility, but simply stating a fact.

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