Candidate Name: Donna Vann
District: Cumberland County Board of Education
Why do you feel like you are qualified to run for the Board of Education?
Each candidate has experienced education as a learner and all are members of the Cumberland County community, yet that is where our similarities end. Knowing that our personal experiences are what has shaped how we view and value education, I feel the depth of my educational understanding from 31 years as an educator is what makes me the most qualified to run for the Board of Education. My experiences as a student, parent, teacher and administrator in the Cumberland County School System, as well as, a small business owner in the community, set me apart. I have the knowledge and familiarity of all facets of the educational community to be able to represent and meet the needs of every stake holder.
How do you envision Cumberland County Schools in 10 years?
Part of the mission of Cumberland County Schools is to provide an environment in which every student develops the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in a diverse and global society. The fact that technology is changing our world, especially our classrooms and teaching our children, in 10 years I envision Cumberland County Schools having a mission of empowering every student to be successful in an increasingly digital and interconnected world where teachers and students learn, connect, collaborate and share globally through video conferencing, such as hangouts, skype and facetime. I foresee teachers individualizing instruction with the use of technology and real-time data; tablets and laptops taking the place of paper/pencil tasks; and students progressing vertically through school at their own pace, as opposed to moving as part of a group from grade to grade.
What is the number one challenge facing the Cumberland County School System?
I believe the number one challenge facing the Cumberland County School System is the effect of reductions to education spending in North Carolina over the last few years. I believe this is the biggest challenge because it creates a snowball effect, impacting every aspect of education and hindering the mission of CCS – to provide a safe and caring learning environment in which every student develops the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a productive life, to be successful in a diverse and global society, and to empower students to become lifelong learners. These funding cuts have led to fewer teacher assistants in the classrooms, larger class sizes and less per pupil expenditures, among other things. This translates into low morale and greater stress among teachers, who are responsible for providing quality instruction.
How do you propose to fix the challenge?
In reality, there is not a “fix” that a local Board of Education can do about budget cuts from the state. What I envision in meeting these challenges as a member of this board is to have fresh eyes to look at ways that allocated money can be redistributed to have the greatest impact on instruction in the schools. My knowledge and expertise in educating children at the school level will empower the BOE to facilitate budget and finance decisions that will ensure the accomplishment of the strategic goals of Cumberland County Schools.
What new ideas/concepts can you bring to the office you are seeking?
As an experienced educator, I can bring a true educational perspective, as opposed to that of a politician, to the Cumberland County Board of Education. I am also confident that I can provide effective representation of the whole school community, to include students, parents, educators, and businesses.