AUGUST 3RD: RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS POSED BY BROWARDNETONLINE

August 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

1)      In under 200 words, why are you running for the School Board?  Martin Luther King Jr. said “It is always the right time to do the right thing.”  I believe that this is the right thing for me to do at this most right time.  I have a history that demonstrates far more than the requisite supervisory and administrative experience.  During my career, the scope and sequence of my responsibilities has continually expanded.  I have considerable experience in project management and systemic enhancement and evaluation.  These skills have been called upon to generate cross discipline understanding as well as cross department/system collaboration, all targeted at human development, academic growth and achievement, and social success. I am a whole life learner, student of education and experienced educator. 

2)      If you could, what would you change and why? How would you fund it?  The question of our commitment to a community of teaching and learning must be  addressed.  What is the pedagogy that best defines what we want for our children?  What is the curriculum plan in place to drive that philosophy?  What is the teacher training model in place to help our professional staff develop the requisite skills to help children accomplish 21st century learning and gain 21st century learning skills.  This is, to me , the fundamental budget / funding question as well as these questions are the foundational questions to creating the budget, rather than the ‘let’s educate with whatever we have left’ model that appears to be in place at this time. 

3)      What are your past, and current affiliations, with any school board committee, council, group, PAC, association or any other possible roles within the school system? Who appointed you to those positions? How long?  N/A

4)      How long have you lived in Broward County? 30 years Did you go to school here? No Where, if any, do your children go to school?  Josh and Lindsey, who are both products of Broward County Public Schools: Josh is a professional musician who matriculated from Dillard High School and Lindsey is a professional actress who matriculated from both Nova High School and Adelphi University.  Josh is based in Los Angeles and Lindsey is based in New York.

5)      The budget crisis in Broward schools has been a big issue in the community. Have you read the upcoming budget? YES Past budgets? YES  What is your financial background to review these documents accurately?  Although I am not a CPA level professional, I have had to work with budgets.  As a former Director in the school system, I handled significant budgets, including managing State funds and grant awards.  All that said, I want to take a moment to recognize the diligent effort, extreme challenge and emotional stress that the budget process creates.  I would like to honor staff’s effort.  I think that – for most of us sitting on the outside – it is easy to speak of waste, malfeasance, and other assorted criticisms that I have heard steeped upon the many hard-working staff that have worked to get the budget to this point.  I cannot imagine  that there is any intention but to present the most workable budget possible, given these challenging economic times.  I will work hard, but I will refrain from making outlandish promises that have no hope of being kept.

6)      How would you address the cuts being made in the Broward district? What would you keep, and what would you cut? Any pet projects? Why?  The budget is being set now – prior to the election.  It would be remarkably short-sighted to pretend to have any control at this point.  It would reflect politics rather than reality.  I believe that my focus: (1) teaching and learning as we prepare our students to succeed in the 21st century world they are preparing to enter, (2) a model that is based on a rigor, relevance and relationship formula, and (3) school culture issues (to address the hopelessness that these difficult times create, resultant inappropriate behavior and violence, and the 21st century requisites of communication skills, organization and problem solving) is the focus to move the district – and therefore our students – forward successfully.  While this is not a pet project, it is a mission.  I believe that we must create an environment that allows children to explore what life has to offer, challenges them to be more than they thought possible, and awakens a thirst for whole – life learning.  To do this we need all subjects and all teachers.  This must include comprehensive art, music, enrichment and guidance services.

7)      How would you work to alleviate problems with the Broward Teacher’s Union which has been extremely vocal in its displeasure with the current school board? How would you work to get past the mediation of issues?  Throughout my professional career, community activism, and personal sense of responsibility, I have been a concensus builder.  I believe that there is little room for posturing, false promises, outlandish stances and rhetoric.  It is important to recognize that new Board Members, regardless of what they say politically, or what they appear to promise to garner support, are walking into relationships that have already been defined.  That is why the ability to communicate effectively and build concensus are critical skills as we move forward.  I was able to provide this leadership by creating the Discipline Management System and having it systemically adopted.  I am proud to say that it has continued to evolve and a new Risk Management System (in which I am proud to say I am still involved) is being introduced this school year.  IT SHOULD BE ABOUT THE KIDS.  IT MUST BE ABOUT THE KIDS.  IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS.  There is no reason for a school district or a teacher’s union without the kids.

8)      The Broward Sheriff’s Office is also looking at budget cuts, which could get rid of some school resource officers. How would you continue to look at addressing parent’s concerns about safety in our public schools?  I believe that the time has come to recognize that although the school district and the County and the Broward Teachers Union and the Broward Sheriff’s Office are distinct entities, they are all critical to the recovery and success of our community.  I believe that it is time that these parties sit down together to address problems and challenges that cut across proprietary boundaries.  The school campus safety issue is certainly one of these issues.  I have been, and continue to be – involved in critical problem-addressing organizations across our community in an effort to shepherd solutions to these (and other) challenges.  I believe we must work together to address the needs of our citizens.  We must address safety for our students.

9)      What priority do you put on what is considered extras (anything non-FCAT related generally)? How would you look to fund it? I believe that we must create an environment that allows children to explore what life has to offer, challenges them to be more than they thought possible, and awakens a thirst for whole – life learning.  To do this we need all subjects and all teachers. Often these are the very subjects that keep frustrated or struggling students engaged and on a path to graduation and post secondary education  or career attainment.  Again, while the budget is being set prior to the new Board being sworn in, I believe that the time has come to look at many options -unpleasant though they may be – such as: a 4 day school week, extended days, alignment with ancillary service providers, consolidating schools, etc.  I also believe that we must address why we have lost more than 20,000 students to other forms of educational provision.  What are the parents telling us and why?  We need to address the educational needs of the entire community so as to (1) not continue the erosion of the student population, and (2) convince our community that Broward County Public Schools can more than meet their needs.

10)  How would you reach out into the community to build creative ideas to educate students while working with local businesses?  As I stated, our educational offerings must include a high degree of exploration for our students.  We must partner with our community to insure that these opportunities exist for our students.  I have long and deep relationships across our community (public and private sector) to support this approach.

11)  What is your perspective on the various boundary issues, such as Cooper City, and other concerns about overbuilding while schools on the east have more space? What is your stance on boundary concerns and their impacts on communities?  While I absolutely understand and respect these concerns, I also must point out that we – as in all of Florida – are a county – wide educational system rather than a municipality driven system.  We must provide all of the components that I have been addressing in these questions to all of our students.  I will always support the least amount of disruption possible, but I want to insure that all of our students have the rich educational experience that they deserve, regardless of the school that they happen to attend.  I am schooled in System of Care values and I whole=heartedly believe in the importance of community.  Broward County is a community.

12)  Do you support the constitutional amendment in the November ballot that would relax class-size rules, allowing schools to base class size as a school wide average instead of strict per classroom numbers? YES

13)  What companies have made donations to your campaign? VIRTUALLY NONE.  I AM RUNNING A PERSON TO PERSON TO PERSON CAMPAIGN.  YOU WILL NOTE THAT THE LEVEL OF CONTRIBUTION TO MY CAMPAIGN IS DRAMATICALLY LESS THAN THAT OF THE OTHER CANDIDATES.  WHILE THAT POSES SERIOUS COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES, I AM NOT UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE STATUS OF MY CAMPAIGN.  MY MESSAGE RESONATES!

14)  What are your qualifications to help meet the educational needs of the students of Broward County in the 21st Century?  I am an experienced educator, student of education and a whole life learner.  I am heavily involved in youth issues across the many levels of our community.  I am not a politician, I am an educator.  IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS.  I am running because it is the right time to do the right thing, not because I hope to run for other positions in the future.

15)  Obviously residents in Broward have grave concerns about ethics violations. How can you assure us of your morals, ethics and genuine interest in the school board? How will you continue to address this issue with constituents?  I believe that the way I have lived my life and the commitments that I have made (and kept) should create a tremendous level of confidence.  I am not a politician, I am an educator.  I am running my campaign exactly the way I live – I have continually provided all of my contact information and welcome the use of it.  I am – and will always be – transparent in all dealings. 

16)  What do you think should be the school system’s focus over the next four years?  I believe that solid educational budgeting practice should be built on determining what the unequivocal needs of the students are and then budgeting back to the available funds.    The role of education is to help young people become good citizens and productive members of society.  We must create a climate of whole life learning and educational adventure for our students.  We must rebuild the lost trust within our community and share the vision of teaching and learning.  We must convince our community that Broward County Public schools offers the best educational platform for the children.  We must recreate a climate of hope for our employees, and we must be honest and transparent in all of our dealings.

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  1. I’ve known Joel for about 3 years. He is THE right person for this job. He is NOT a politician but he IS a person of integrity who has the kids best interest at heart.


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