My Philosophy on Education
I believe in a quality education for every child. Quality means several things:
Instruction - Fulton County must attract and retain high quality teachers and administrators. We must ensure that teachers receive professional development and support in classroom management, discipline, instruction technique and technology. We should also remain competitive in salaries and benefits.
Curriculum - Our curriculum must meet today's student needs. As the State's largest (if not the nation's largest) charter district, our school system offers more choice and options for student learning. This choice supports Fulton County's Continuous Achievement model so every child advances at his/her own pace. Our District Strategic Plan emphasizes personalized learning so every child experiences both support and success.
Facility Development - Thanks to taxpayer support of four Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax initiatives, Fulton County's innovative Capital Program campaign has kept pace with our facility needs so our children and staff benefit from safe, wholesome learning environments.
Administration - Given our reputation for quality, Fulton County Schools attracts top administrators who support our charter system and its School Governance Councils structure. These councils work with the each principal to determine local needs. Fulton County School System is rapidly becoming a leading district nationally in education reform thanks to the system's Vision and Strategic Plan.
Financial Stability - Fulton County Schools implemented a modified zero-based budget format that focuses individual departments on effective, wise resource deployment so we remain good stewards of taxpayer funds. Our continuous review processes ensure effective in-house operations (transportation, maintenance, food service, accounting, warehousing). Our enrollment projection process helps us plan for growth. Even in difficult economic times, we remained fiscally conservative, avoiding teacher furloughs and salary cuts – even allowing a salary increase for the first time in four years. These steps help us keep our quality instructors and personnel.
Local School Control - In a school system as large and diverse as Fulton County, local school control is paramount. As a charter district, Fulton County Schools empowers local School Governance Council/Principal teams to concentrate on what works in their communities.
Quality schools support quality neighborhoods and communities. We must all work together to retain our high quality of life. The public school system's job is to educate every child who walks through its doors. Education involves collaboration and cooperation among home, school, and community. Fulton County Schools must effectively engage the public as we devise new, innovative solutions in educating our children, because roughly 90% of American students attend public school, yet 75% of the general public have NO direct connection with their local public school!
Successful schools require community and business support. We cannot run from problems but must confront challenges directly. Criticism must be accompanied by solutions. This why I have worked tirelessly as your school board representative for the past 14 years and for even longer as a volunteer and engaged parent in our system. Serving you on the school board is my passion.
Communication and knowledge - are key elements for successful education. The role of staff, administration, and community is to educate and interact with School Board members so they make wise policy, budget and governance decisions. A Board member must balance individual concerns and issues with a global perspective on the entire county's needs. It requires collaboration among the School Board, staff and our communities to assure that Fulton County Schools' motto, "Where students come first," is indeed a reality.
My three children were educated within the Fulton County School System, so I have a vested interest in our system's success. I pledge to continue to work to support the children, families, and school communities of Fulton County.
Relationship-building - is one of my strengths. I regularly visit each District 7 school as well as others to maintain close working relationships with administrators and parent leaders. I encourage dialogue and communication with these groups. Teachers, assistants, custodians, office staff, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers regularly share wonderful ideas that improve our school system, so I gladly listen to staff and community input. I have developed relationships with our local and national legislators to inform them not only of concerns, but policy suggestions on how educational challenges can be met. By working with the Georgia School Boards Association, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, the Georgia Music Educators Association, and other state and national organizations, I retain both the local and global perspective on trends needed to keep Fulton County Schools at the forefront of quality education.
I have several goals which I have been working on during my service on the Board:
I have visited each of the schools in District 7 and believe it is important to maintain a close working relationship with the school principals, PTA leaders, and Local School Advisory Committees. I encourage dialogue and communication with each of these groups. I also believe that teachers, assistants, custodians, office staff, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers have wonderful ideas to share with Board members to help improve our school system, and I am always willing to listen to suggestions from staff members and community members.
I believe that the Governor's office and the State Board of Eduction are starting to address some of the bigger issues of education in this State, but I also have concerns about how some of its requirements will affect Fulton County Schools. During eachlegislative session, it has become increasingly important to educate and lobby our legislators about Fulton County Schools' concerns. I have developed relationships with our legislators to make sure they are aware, not only of our concerns, but of suggestions on how these challenges can be faced. From my service on the Georgia School Boards Association, I have been able to see how the needs of Fulton County Schools align and compare with the needs of other school systems across this state.