What are your priorities for the district in the coming year? Why and how did you select these issues?
My priorities for the first of my four and possibly eight years on the Duval County Board representing District One’s stakeholders are basically two: Firstly I’ll conduct a pre-service “Satisfaction Survey” with a short “Needs Assessment” questionnaire to determine areas of Success, and those of Community Concern. With that data in hand, I’ll strive to build strong working relationships with the Teachers, Support Staff, and Administrators to support continuation and even expansion of effective programs and procedures, and, conversely, to cooperate in the remediation of unresolved problems. Why these two? Because I base my actions upon the time-honored principle of Truthfulness, that Honesty IS THE BEST Policy. And I’ll enter into this position of Public Trust TransPARENTly, fully cognizant of the danger of “upsetting the Apple Cart,” and/or trying to “fix something that’s Not Broken.”
School board members are elected to represent not only the interests of the schools located in their district, but also the school system as a whole. In the past, this has at times led to conflict among board members. What is your philosophy on this issue? What would you do to keep cohesiveness and communication among school board members?
My “philosophy” on the issue of maintaining cohesiveness & communication with fellow Board members is best expressed by two broad Principles: 1. the “Golden Rule,” to “Do Unto Others as I would have Them Do Unto Me,” and 2. Honesty is THE Best Policy.”
What would you do to improve communication and strengthen your relationships between the schools, parents and community members, especially when a new program or policy is introduced?
“Improving Communication and Strengthening Relationships” requires Trust. Therefore, I’ll model my behavior on the Pledge uttered by our last “moral President” Jimmy Carter: “I Will Not Lie to You.”
In addition to voting for school board members, members of our community will also vote on a half-penny sales tax referendum to fund an extensive capital facilities plan in November. Do you support the referendum and capital plan, and how do you plan to engage with it as a school board candidate and member?
Especially now during this unprecedented Covid-19 “pandemic” with its myriad uncertainties, I’m undecided about the “half-penny sales tax referendum.”
Over the last few years, the Legislature has had a big impact on local public education. What are your top issues at the state level, and how would you work with legislators in Tallahassee to represent the needs of our students?
My “top issues with Legislators in Tallahassee” would first include establishing good rapport and professional relationships with our local and regional Representatives and Senators here in Jax & North Florida. I’ll soon thereafter look into the State-level status of the “Full Service School” Concept in relation to the chronic and as yet unsolved societal problems which are best viewed as opportunities.
Duval County, like districts across the country, has a teacher recruitment and retention problem. How do you think our district can address this shortage?
Regarding “Teacher Recruitment and Retention,” literally for decades I’ve heard the word “shortage” used while at the same time Teacher Recruitment Fairs are full to overflowing with job seekers. I think School Districts’ Human Resources & Personnel Departments’ primary Task is to efficiently administer our Educational Systems’ “Sorting & Selecting” function so as to “Grow and Develop” a broad appreciation for our comparative Abundance, an “Attitude of Gratitude” versus Anxiety about material Scarcity. I’ll work closely with our HR Department and the Duval Teachers’ Union to Reduce Employee Stress “across the board.”
As Duval County has made great progress in education, there are still students who are falling behind. How would you keep a focus on addressing inequities in student performance and supporting schools in low-income neighborhoods?
I will join with like-minded colleagues in promoting the Practices listed in the best-selling book #TheOneMinuteManager, especially for School Administrators, and Support Staff Managers and Personnel. Clear Goals/Expectations and Positive Reinforcements, “catching them being Good,” is the best method to address and remedy the chronic inequities which are the cause of much of the “Achievement Gap” indicated by “High Stakes Testing” measures of student performance. Incentivizing Improvement is Operant Conditioning is THE way to increase the percentage of students who succeed.