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Published Media Questions & Answers 

VOTE411/ League of Women 4.14.22

Voters Position/Philosophy statement

PB: I have seen first-hand that the school board leadership we have now is failing. They are dysfunctional and divisive. I have witnessed what happens when children are not put first, when an agenda is more important. We need fresh leadership. With my experience and wisdom, I am that leader. I have the sensitivity to manage conflict. We need to stop the negative in our children’s classrooms, rebuild the curriculum, eradicating the hateful ideologies, and stop the sexualization and the grooming of the kids. Our schools should be a safe place to learn, to grow, to laugh, to be excellent, and a place to provide students the building blocks they need for the rest of their lives. Parents and teachers have no voice. I will be their voice.

Current Occupation

PB: Writer/storyteller, founder, owner & publisher Wrightsville Beach Magazine

I have a long-term reputation in New Hanover County as an advocate for children. In 2006, following training and fingerprinting I was sworn in by the 5th District Court in NHC as a child advocate, as a Guardian ad Litem. The court determined that I was an excellent choice to stand up for the rights of children, to shepherd them through troubling times. This initiated my journey of serving children, the unsheltered, the poor – all those without a voice. Over the last 17 years, I have seen first-hand how I was able to impact children’s lives. I have also been a small business owner for more than 20 years in New Hanover County. I bring my real word leadership, wisdom and experience to the Board of Education.

What do you think is the most important responsibility of a school board member?

PB: The school board has five jobs, each of them important: hire and fire the superintendent; to set the curriculum and the vision for the future; to set policies for teachers, students and administration; to manage the budget and maintain the infrastructure. This is all to facilitate the all-important academic success of our students. School board members should listen to, respect, and uphold the rights of students, parents, and teachers.

What should your school district do to better prepare students as citizens?

PB: The school district should provide students with the building blocks they need for the rest of their lives. Our schools should be safe places for education; reading, writing and math, plus excellence, not indoctrination. Reading and math proficiency must rise, and the dropout rate shrink. The school district must put children first, not political agendas or ideologies.

How would you assess teacher satisfaction in the county and how would you promote professional development?

PB:: According to the Jan. 18, 2022 School Climate Survey Results, and what I am hearing from teachers and aides I speak with, the morale is horrible. Teachers are overworked, they spend too much time doing reporting, are not respected, valued or heard. There is real retribution when they do speak up. They are walking away at an alarming rate. The teacher's aides and other non-certified workers are not paid a living wage or valued. They are quitting at an alarming rate. The culture of the schools must change to one of respect, honor and value. Give teachers a voice. There must be focus on feedback, what the needs are. Have realistic expectations. Set specific, student- oriented goals. Publicly praise teachers and aides. Give them time to breathe. Encourage collaboration. Offer professional development within the school, but also encourage teachers to seek out opportunities outside the school.

Pre-Kindergarten is: [Importance Scale]

PB:: Very Important

Please explain your choice.

PB: Education is the foundation for the future for any child. Bringing children into the classroom and starting them on their journey of learning and growing early is vital. Pre-K is where students make significant gains in language, literacy and math skills, general knowledge and behavior. Pre-K teaches children to be motivated learners, to associate learning with fun. They learn how to make friends, listen, exhibit control of self, to be responsible, and build foundations for the future. They develop motor skills, hand/eye coordination. Statistics show that with a strong foundation in Pre-K academic and general life skills, children show improved academic readiness, have better social skills, have lower incarceration rates and earning levels are higher.

What are the issues in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers?

PB: According to the Jan. 18, 2022 School Climate Survey Results, and what I am hearing from teachers and aides I speak with, the morale is horrible. Teachers are overworked, they spend too much time doing reporting, are not respected, valued or heard. There is real retribution when they do speak up. Even though now the highest paid teachers in the state, they are walking away at an alarming rate. The teacher's aides and other non-certified workers are not paid a living wage or valued. They too are quitting at an alarming rate. The culture of the schools must change to one of respect, honor and value.

INTEGRITY