1. What uniquely qualifies you to serve as a member of the Board of Education?
My qualifications for school board are fourfold: Previous board experience (2002-14); a financial background (12 years of banking experience).; teaching experience (17 years in adult high school and GED program); and people skills (all of my career jobs have been service dealing directly with people).
2. As a challenger, what do you see as the No. 1 failing of the current school board in general? What would you do to try and correct that failing?
There needs to be more respect among board members. Whether we agree or disagree, everyone’s position should be valued. I would treat all fellow board members with professionalism.
3. Safety is always a concern for our schools, but more so after the killing of 17 people at a Florida school in February. What would you recommend to make our schools more safe?
There should be one resource officer per 1,000 students with each school having at least one officer. Metal detectors should be utilized and a strict sign-on procedure should be fully implemented.
4. Our local school system is one of two in North Carolina that allows the use of corporal punishment, resulting in an embarrassing statistic, that most children who are paddled in North Carolina are minority and from Robeson County. Do you favor its use? Why or why not?
I believe in parental choice. Therefore I feel that corporal punishment should continue with the option. Just having this option is a deterrent in checking bad behavior. Minority students tend to have a higher rate of implementation due to fact that their parents use this method of discipline frequently. Remember that written permission is required.
5. Our schools have been in short supply of textbooks in recent years, with some arguing that more books need to be purchased, and some saying that books become dated quickly, and arguing instead for greater use of E-books that stay current. What do you favor?
E-books and textbooks should be provided for each student. Textbooks would benefit the student as well as the parent. Having a hands-on resource would give a better understanding to both student and parent of covered material.
6. Our school system ranks next to last in the state for local funding by the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, about $1,000 short of the state average. How would you work to overcome that?
The quickest way for more funding would be to float a bond. Also the available funds must be spent in a wise and efficient manner. The county further must be persistently petitioned for more funding.
7. Our school board has a reputation for micromanagement, and not staying within its jurisdiction of being a policy maker and allowing administrators to implement that policy. Do you agree with that assessment? What would you see as your role as a board member?
There is too much micromanaging at times. My role is fourfold: Adopt policies that give the school system the direction to set priorities achieve goals; set the vision for the system; hire/evaluate the superintendent; and adopt and oversee the the annual budget.
8. The school system is currently without a central office. There has been much conversation about the new one, where it might be located, and should an existing building be used or one built from the ground up. What are your thoughts?
I think that an existing building should be used. There are several buildings available in the county.
9. Our school system lags far behind those across the state in every education metric except the graduation rate. Do you think this is something that can be significantly improved, and if so, how would you work to achieve that?
Improvements can be made in a slow process. There has to more accountability from all stakeholders: teachers, students, parents, and the community as a whole. I further think that more emphasis should be put on reading and comprehension.
Ask yourself a question and answer it.
Kerns did not do so.