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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you on the school board?

I am proud to represent District One on the School Board because our children need the best educational opportunities possible. Presently we have a very stable Board and superintendent team, unusual nationwide, and we are poised to create an environment for greater student success. Gwinnett County Public Schools has never been larger or more diverse with continued academic success. However, many challenges exist. I want to ensure our students have the best chance for high achievement by seeing that all resources are used effectively.

What are the major issues as you see them?

I pledge to ensure that students are challenged to reach their maximum potential. As a society, our children must reach high academic levels particularly in math, science, and technology.  Students of today compete in a global setting where the skills sets needed are changing. To provide any less to our students is unfair.  

Budgetary issues continue to be a major challenge. Fewer resources are available; the local tax digest is declining; the state funding is decreasing; yet schools  are expected to do more with less. Creative ways to maximize resources must be found.  Teachers, the very key to the success of Gwinnett County Public Schools, are asked to improve student achievement while facing furlough days, expanded class sizes, and no salary step increases.  

 How is learning different in the 21st century?

Students of today, unlike their parents and grandparents, are skilled at technology and seek information in a digital format.  While preparing for jobs not yet in existence, students  need to adapt by being experienced problem solvers.

How is the school system meeting this need?

With the adoption of eCLASS,  curriculum and instruction will be delivered differently with the pilot program next fall.  Instructional resources, assessments, and  extensions will expand the content outside the classroom bringing a relevance to students.  Teachers can streamline and customize  instruction for specific student needs using data.

What other changes are in place for the learner of today?

Technology is a crucial tool for all students.  Presently the curriculum is enhanced with opportunities for competition, dual enrollments, industry certifications, internships. Specific programs are available within the system, but additional technical opportunities exist at  the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology; Grayson High School; and Maxwell High School of Technology.  Jobs of today require much more technical knowledge at all levels and unskilled job opportunities are limited.

How can community members become involved?

My first suggestion would be to visit a local school to see a very different learning environment. Schools of today are vibrant communities with a focus on engaged learning by the students.  Teachers are facilitators who guide students through the process of learning.  We hear of the "good old days" but I challenge everyone to see for themselves the depth of knowledge existing in Gwinnett  classrooms. The curriculum is rich; assessment is varied; and extension is plentiful.  Just contact the local principal for a tour.  I will be happy to assist you in setting up a visit.

Another way to become involved is to become a business partner, mentor, or volunteer. Perhaps your business would like to help provide a shadowing or intern experience for a student.  Mentoring is another wonderful way to help a specific student.  Also there are always ways to give your time to  help in  a class, in the media center, or for a certain event.  Everyone wins when community members are active in the education process.

What do you see as the primary role of the Board of Education?

Seeing future needs and taking steps to meet these needs  before others may be fully aware of the issues is a key role for the Board of Education. Often groundwork needs to be laid before change can occur when the timing is right.  Having the vision to assess student needs for years to come enables Board members to make decisions that impact student achievement in the long term not just for today. Planning for future needs requires actions based on beliefs, commitments, and visions.  Our present Board has worked hard to implement into policy a theory of action where schools are given more flexibility based on accountability to enhance student achievement. 

How should the Board of Education prove itself fiscally responsible?

Gwinnett County Public Schools recently received double AAA bond ratings from both Moody’s and Standard and Poors.  With over 14,000 school districts in the nation, only five districts earned both ratings. Ours is the only large system to receive this distinction.  Audits from multiple sources show complete compliance and excellent financial accountibility. Our present Board is quite proud of this fact and that Gwinnett citizens voted to renew eSPLOST signifying their confidence in the fiscal responsibility of our Board.

What do you see as the role of the state government in Georgia?

The role of the State government toward education should be to provide the full QBE funding to local school systems.  Decisions on how to allot the money should be up to local districts not mandated for specific purposes by legislators who are not as close to the needs.

What do you think is the single most important issue facing Georgia at the state level?

Our most pressing issue is an erosion of support for public education.  As an institution, public education is the greatest unifying entity providing equal opportunities for all students. All elements of society and the economy are affected if students do not gain the best possible education to become active productive citizens. 

What evidence do you see of the erosion of support?

 Several decsions made by the legislature indicate that much attention has been focused on too few students not the 92% of Georgia children enrolled in public schools. For example,  the constitutional amendment for a charter school commission would create a parallel entity to the locally elected Boards of Education and would duplicate services unnecessarily. Additional legislation providing for vouchers and supplemental scholarships to private schools deplete public school funds from QBE which has not been fully funded for years.