A transcript of the Board of Education candidates at the Sept. 8 NAACP/Progressive Club forum, held at Epiphany Lutheran Church. The moderator was former Georgia Perimeter College President Jaquelyn Belcher.
I'm running for board of education. I have been happily married to Betty McBrayer and we have both been life-long educators and just recently retired so my golf game has improved. Betty and I both celebrated 40th anniversary and we are very happy. Someone asked me what our recipe to success of our marriage was and I thought about that and I said well probably a sense of humor. We both have pretty good sense of humor. An example of that was our 36th wedding anniversary being the smart husband that I am I got a nice arrangement of flowers beautiful card and she read it and it said thank you for 34 wonderful years. And she looked at it and said you fool we’ve been married for 36 years and I said only 34 were wonderful despite those words we’re still married. And probably the most productive thing we’ve done was have three wonderful children that are products of the Rockdale school system. We’re thankful of the Rockdale school system for the education that they provided to our kids so they could be successful in their careers.
I’ve taught 39 and a half years. Twenty-two of those years have been in Rockdale County school system. I have been social studies teacher, I’ve been a coach and I’ve been an Athletic Director. I’ve loved every second I’ve been here. Its been a great opportunity for me.
The upcoming election in Nov. should not be about rights it should not be rights it should not be whether you’re a democrat or republican, it should be about electing best person possible the reason that I think I’ll be a good candidate is I can give a different perspective to board of education with my experience in education. I will be an advocate for the teachers. I will try to protect the fine arts programs and the athletic programs without sacrificing academics during budget cuts. I will be a full time member on the board of education many of the members of the board of education have to balance their time between full time jobs and their board of education duties. I’m retired folks I’m going to give 100 percent of my time to the board. And also I’m committing to the county so please, please think of me when you’re voting. If you want to find out more about Jim McBrayer ask Lee Stroud ask people that I taught with, ask the thousands of people that I’ve taught. Thank you very much.
I’m Theresa Schroeder-Langley and I’m an attorney. Why am I running for the school board. First of all I’m a parent. I’ve got four investments in the school system. There’s a great education system here in Rockdale. I already sit on the superintendent advisory board. I’m already a mentor in all the high schools I’ll be kicking off in September. I’m committed to the community. I’m very much involved, I’ve done the P.T.O.
Where do I see I can make a difference? Encourage parent involvement. It’s hard for parents these days our kids are learning differently its new with all the technology. We need parent education actually how can I help with home work if i don’t know how to do the math. We’re helping to do some of the parental education some of the forums. But if I don’t have the resources to help my children at home then aim just as lost as they are. I can’t put that burden on the teachers they already have enough. The kids have a long day i understand that I have a long day. We’re taking away the fun we’re teaching to the tests. What happened to the individualities? I have four kids and I can tell you all four are different learners, so every day s a challenge. My kids have gone to private school and I can tell you the public school is fantastic because there all in that know doing very well but I’m in the school all the time I know their teachers. I need to get parents engaged by doing programs that will get them involved. That’s what I want to do that’s why I’m involved. Again I thank you. Theresa Schroeder-Langley.
Good evening. I’m asking for your vote, my name is Jimmy Norfleet I’m running for Rockdale County School Board post 1 at large. I have been a citizen here in Rockdale County since 2000 my family wife of 16 years I have two children. I’m originally from Northberry Connecticut where I was seventh child of Baptist minister and traditional mother after graduating high school I joined the army. My first duties were as an avionics technician, and my first enlistment was 87 airborne paratroopers. Talking about standards they are above beyond. However I enjoyed it. I spent 7 years in the Army and received plenty of training and leadership and technology skills from military as well as civilian. I’ve led from individuals to hundreds of personnel and I’ve been responsible for millions of dollars of equipment as well as the lives of each and every soldier and civilians.
I have been living here in Rockdale since 2004. Started a business my goal is to always help business run more effectively and efficiently with new technology. One of the things I see most important that we need to look at in our students education is we’re no long just a Rockdale County family we’re no long a Georgia family not even Nationwide it comes to solid education, we need to think global. We are in global economy. We are in global society we have to make sure we prepare children for solid education will continue and reflect quality of life in this global society. Thank you and I ask for each and every one of you to vote for Jimmy Norfleet.
Hello my name is Darrell Stephens and I’m running for school board Post 1. I heard some of the candidates say that there’s not a lot of money thrown at education. I’m still in education; I’m currently a principal in Newton County school system. I just lost 20 days off my salary so I haven’t seen that money being thrown just yet. If you look at funding for students you’ll notice it has been underfunded since its inception. Excellence for educating that has disappeared. I know the story about money being thrown at education. As a principal in public school this is how that money works that’s thrown at education. School starts in the fall I get my new money in March of the next year got until April 21 to spend 150 000 i have to spend in one month. 150 000. I have to spend in one month and if I don’t spend it in one month i have to give it back. I need my money in august I don’t need my money next year. I need my money in August. I have kids coming to my school that are hugnry i cant spend that money on breakfast this is what i have to spend the money on but this is what i need it on.
This is why I’m running. Rockdale schools are excellent today. What will Rockdale schools look like ten years from now? Ten years from now our kids will still be in school in Rockdale. So the decision I make about Rockdale school are personal because not only does it affect your child it effects my child. So I’m assuring you the decisions I make will be the best for our schools.
Laptops, computer boards in the rooms and small classes, that’s not the key to success in public schools. Good teachers, high parent involvement equals student success. You can Google it the facts are there. I thank you and I look for your vote Nov. 2.
Moderator; With huge amounts of budget going to education what will you do to stop taking from education to give to another aspect?
As I said earlier I need my money to hire excellent teachers. That’s the number one key to a school’s success. I don’t care what kind of child you have. Single parent with five kids. Part of single parent with five kids don’t think for one minute those folks who have
We do that’s why you see their pants all the way down to hear we’ve parent that are 24 their child is 13 what type of good parent you going to get out of that not saying all of them but the ones I deal with every day. We got those kind of parents. That say Dr. Stephens I don’t know what to do, he told me he wasn’t coming back? I need my money to continue to create types of program to get those children involved, Career academy is an excellent idea that our current school board has implemented in all our schools because there are kids that aren’t going to college. The system is set up for every child to go to college.
Sowe need something else; secretary, nurses those are excellent careers. I will use the money to help those kinds of programs to make sure it was going to help those kids that just don’t want to go to school any more.
:As a technology consultant. I’ve gone into many businesses and I’ve looked at the processes they use and how they use the tools they have. Technology is not just computers electronic gadgets sometimes it’s just a process of doing something different.
One of the things that I think when working with, like our finance department, is making sure I’m looking at each and every line item as your representative. It is my responsibility to make sure we are getting our dollars worth and every single cent that is coming in that we are using it appropriately and effectively and we are using it as a betterment of our children’s education. It helps them not only to be just the best they can be but to reach even beyond that. We have volunteer programs we have an enourmaous wealth of intellectual capital a lot of retired person volunteering those are some of the things to leverage our resources.
As I’ve gone to some of the work sessions board of education our graduation rate is going up. But my goal is to make sure we use funds we have to help them and synergize and make sure we have 100 percent graduation rate for entire student body.
I already sit on superintendent advisory board so I have seen our budget I don’t think there are funds that reb ing wasted perhaps the allocation. Where I think there are things that can benefit our education there is some things that we can do facility wise reduce and save money on our facilities as well as recycle and things like that that would help funds some of the things that we’re doing. I also think with the free and reduced lunch I think that needs to be looked over. Obviously with this economy its’ tough it’s tough on everyone. We’re trying to squeeze a penny from a penny. But I think there is some abuse of the system. There is some things I think we can look at that we might e be able to get additional funding from that can help fund some of the programs that we’re trying to do. I think we can create things that we can create additional funding within the system.
First of all individually I don’t think I can do anything about being safeguard for waste. Collectively with the other board members we can make decisions. Dr. Sam King is a pretty smart dude. He surrounded himself with good people. Rich Audrey Garret Brudnage, Lee Davis. These people are really doing their job making sure we don’t waste. I feel real good with where we are I don’t think we’re wasting money but I promise you we have people around to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Moderator: Would you be supporting of legislation to make Georgia or our county an English language only place like Alabama, where they have 29 percent who speak other than English?
No I don’t support that. Education is what I do regardless of what happens on Nov. 2, 20 years from now I‘ll still be in education. This is what I do. I love working with children. As any educator will tell you, you don’t know what child you touched in the past is going to be working in that nursing home when you get older. Lord says you love all the children they come in all sizes shapes and colors. So I don’t support it. In terms of the lunch thing and it being abused, look at your Rockdale paper and the number of foreclosures. My school went from 30 percent free and reduced to 80 percent free and reduced. Look at the paper or look at the number of garage sales we have. It’s for real.
As I stated earlier we’re in a global economy we’re in a global society. Of course whatever the legislation the bottom line is it’s important that we teach our children to understand the culture the language the idiosyncrasies form one place to another. And if we take any little bit of that way as they we’re going forward be it here in Rockdale count our abroad I don’t support that. The bottom line is to educate means to educate and you are lonely limited by your imagination. The more you can dream the more you can reach the more you will go beyond your possibilities.
That’s a tough one. I’m all for diversity. I’ve got a kid of just about every shade. I’m all for diversity and worldwide acknowledgement of all shape every kind of color. English as a Second Language is a necessity in our school system with the fact that Rockdale is changing. English as a Second Language does eat up a great big portion of our budget because we have teachers and resources that are necessary to teach these children we need to teach these kids. Obviously to function in society and get an education is every child’s right. It’s an issue for me if a child takes English as a second language as a kindergartener and then he is still taking it all the way up until he’s in high school. So I definitely think we need to look at that. But no I’m not for it. I support diversity and everyone’s individuality and uniqueness and I think that’s the benefit of sending our kids to public school is they interact with with everyone of different culture. That’s what I’m for.
Jim McBrayer: As we know the board of education sets policy that wouldn’t be an issue we really wouldn’t be dealing with locally but on the second hand that’s an issue we all deal with as individual citizens. As an individual citizen, no I would not support a law of that nature at all. As Darrel said earlier I’m an educator and I ‘m here to educate everybody I’m trying to get them to a better place and no I would not support that.
As a current board member I served through 12 years of experience on the board. I’m familiar with the school’s strategic plan, board policy and funded forms of public education. I’m dedicated to this community and I am still passionate of educating our children that originally brought me to the school board. I am excited about the future of red. In Rockdale County despite the e co challenges we face I will continue to work hard for the needs of our children’s future whether they choose to go work to go to college or enter the military. The school system has made great strides since I’ve been on the board.
As a board member I think it’s important the state chooses the Georgia school board association the reason this is important is because it requires us to think strategically and to allow everything we do with the school systems strategic plan. We have prioritized board goals and have a systematic approach to evaluate what we do as board members. As a member of the finance committee I have assisted with difficult decisions throughout my tenure and have experienced a decrease in state funding each year. Reduced local revenue with more recent economic decline has also required us to be creative and prudent to maintain a debt free school system.
As a board member I am extremely proud of our efforts to create addition learning opportunities for all students through enrichment programs, open campus and credit recovery labs in every high school. Our most recent graduation rate of 83 percent the highest ever in era of accountability and dropout rate of 2.6 reflect that these programs are working and students are benefiting from them.
I want to continue on the board of education and still passionate about public education. I am concerned federal and state governments not providing the necessary funding to keep public education moving forward and giving our children what they need to excel in a global society. I am Katrina Young Rockdale County Board of Education Post 2.