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Meet the School Board Candidates: Michelle Watkins (District 1)

Meet the School Board Candidates: Michelle Watkins (District 1)

[themify_box style=”lavender announcement rounded”]EDITOR’S NOTE: With the goal of keeping local parents (and voters) as informed as possible about all things parent-related, the editors of RCM compiled “9 Questions for the Candidates”. We asked all the Huntsville City School Board candidates to answer the same nine questions, and have run their responses each unedited and as they have sent them to us. We encourage all of our readers to exercise their democratic right and vote on Tuesday, August 23.[/themify_box]

9 Questions with Michelle Watkins

[themify_hr color=”orange” width=”75%” border_width=”1px” ] Q. What made you want to run for this office?
I am seeking the office of Huntsville City Schools (HCS) District 1 Board Representative because of my passion for education and my love for my community. As a former HCS teacher, I understand the needs of the students and teachers in the classroom. It is imperative that we have a representative that understands the importance of allowing teachers to have freedom to teach and not focus solely on test for data gathering.

Q. Are you capable of and willing to do the research necessary to ask questions about the policies, procedures and recommendations that the superintendent is bringing to the board for approval? How do you plan to fulfill the board member role of administration and supervision of the public schools as detailed in School Board Policy 2.2?
Yes, as a Program & Management Analyst for Department of Army I am tasked with following policies, regulations and procedures. Also, my position requires that I make recommendations in reference to various programs. My experience and education have equipped me to perform the duties required of a board member.

School Policy is clear, straight forward and codified in Alabama Law. This law makes it illegal for a Board member to use power to influence action for a particular school within the system.

Q. Do your children (or school age relatives) attend Huntsville City Schools?
Yes, I have grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins who attend HCS.

Q. What is your vision for the schools in your district?
Improve parental involvement in my district, increase/improve reading levels and ensure the students are ready for college or for the workforce.

Q. What is your view of high-stakes standardized testing, and the use of those test results for the evaluation of teachers?
As a former Teacher I disagree with the concept of Teacher Evaluations connected to “High Stakes” testing because there are numerous factors that are totally out of the teachers control to determine success on test. (Ex. home situations, health issues, economic situations). It’s concerning that tests are considered “High Stakes.” It’s my belief that “TESTS” are a measuring tool to be used as an indicator of Progress and/or Movement to an established goal. Therefore, it’s illogical to use testing as an evaluation tool for a teacher. For example, the Superintendent’s evaluation of 98 on the surface appears very high. However, from a statistician perspective, it means that the goal and/or expectations were set extremely low.

Q. What is your plan for working with the other school board members, superintendent, staff, teachers, community to implement this vision?
The term “This Vision” is undefined. That being said, my intention is to assume the office of board member and to execute Policy 2.2.  The Board Policy does not mandate or infers a familiar interaction with Superintendent, staff, teachers, community. In fact micromanaging at the school is prohibited by State Board Policy and State law. With respect to the Superintendent, the board members duty is to “Advise and Consent.”

Q. What is your view of how the district’s limited funding should be divided among the needs of the district?
I would assume that the Board has a short term and long term vision plan. If such a plan was developed in a prudent and logical manner then the question is mute. To have “XX” dollars and divide among “YY” schools is irresponsible. Funds should be allocated according to a management plan. I’m also, making the assumption that an emergency and/or contingency fund should accommodate unexpected events and/or expenditures.

Q. What is your view on the superintendent’s plans to close, consolidate, “turn around”, and “restart” many of the schools in our district?
The first two items are under the direction of the Superintendent, pending the Board’s approval. However, the final two items cannot be mandated or implemented by the Superintendent. Those can only be accomplished by the local administrator, staff, parents and PTA. The Superintendent can set the vision but the other components are responsible for achieving the goals.

Q. What is your view of the role that parents and the community should play in the governance of our schools?
Parents and Community are stakeholders in our schools but have no direct role of governance. Parents and Community should always be welcomed and supportive of the schools in general and specifically. We should always be open to hear concerns and suggestions and implement their concerns as much as possible if it is for the good of all. The parents’ primary role is support and provide assistance. Each school has an administrator with the responsibility for governance. The administrator needs the support of parents, but the administrator must govern the school.

Where to Find More Info About Michelle Watkins

Ask Him a Question: Send Email
View Campaign Website | Campaign Facebook Page

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[themify_box style=”light-blue announcement rounded”]WANT TO MEET THE CANDIDATES IN PERSON? The Huntsville Council of Parent Teacher Associations is hosting a School Board Candidate Forum on Monday, August 15th, 2014. The event will be held atAcademy for Academics and Arts from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. This forum will also be broadcast live on ETV (Channel 17 on Comcast and Channel 3 on Wow!)[/themify_box]


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