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Meet the School Board Candidates: Pat Sanders (District 3)

Meet the School Board Candidates: Pat Sanders (District 3)

[box type=”1″]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 26. [/box]
Pat Sanders, District 3
Pat Sanders, District 3

Q. What made you want to run for this office?

I have been very involved in Mt. Gap School where my children attended. Two-and-a-half years ago when everything was changing, I talked to the principal and the teachers, and they had no idea what was happening. I feel like there was a break in communications between the schools and the administration. Even now when I talk to teachers, they feel like the work environment is very tense. I feel like this has a negative effect on the children. With my experience in the corporate world, I can offer solutions to these issues.

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, I am capable and willing to do research to provide, to the best of my ability, the best procedures and solutions to make Huntsville City Schools a top notch school system nationally. I believe the most important sentence in the section is the first. As it says, I as a board member, have the responsibility to administer and supervise. I will be in the schools talking to the staff and asking them what is working and what is not. I must be in the schools to do this.

Q. Do your children (or school age relatives) attend Huntsville City Schools?

Yes. I currently have twin sons that are sophomores at New Century Technology High School and a daughter that is a freshman at Grissom High School. I also have a niece that is a senior at Grissom and a niece that is in the 8th grade at Mt. Gap.


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Q. What is your view of high-stakes standardized testing, and the use of those test results for the evaluation of teachers?

I have worked for several companies in my career. I have never been evaluated on just one criteria. There has to be some measure of job performance. There have been standard test for years, even when I was in school. Whether it’s true or not, it is the feeling of the teachers that their job hinges on just one test. There are many factors to teaching. Teachers should be evaluated by the principal, and I believe even surveys from the parents. I worked in sales with a major corporation, and the company would send out surveys to my customers, to provide feedback on my performance. Let the parents have a voice.

Q. What is your vision for the schools in your district?

I want all the Huntsville City Schools to be a place where the teachers are proud to work and the students feel like it is a safe place. When I say safe, I am not only referring to physically but also emotionally. I feel like there has been so much change in the past 2 years that it is unsettling to the students; Principals being moved, teachers being moved, retiring, or finding other school systems to work in. Students especially in the elementary and middle school, need a sense of consistency.I believe we are missing that consistency currently.

Q. What is your plan for working with the other school board members, superintendent, staff, teachers, community to implement this vision?

First of all, we, the board members, have to get into the schools. I would also like to see meetings and functions with joint districts. Instead holding a single district meeting, why not have multi-district meetings. I feel like our school system is viewed in segments, and instead we need to look at it as a whole. I would also like to see a website or email that is anonymous so that the teachers and staff could express their ideas and opinions without the fear of repercussion.

Q. What is your view of how the district’s limited funding should be divided among the needs of the district?


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The division should be fair and equitable. There is only one pot of money. As board members we should be fiscally responsible.

Q. What is your view on the superintendent’s plans to close, consolidate, “turn around”, and “restart” many of the schools in our district?

As it was stated to me at the Friends of the Library meeting on Monday, we cannot control where people want to live. What we can control is the support we give to the schools. My sons are at New Century, which is housed in the same location as Lee High School. It is a beautiful facility, and it has been designed with the latest technology and provides an excellent learning environment. I feel like the new schools have been an improvement to the whole school system.

Q. What is your view of the role that parents and the community should play in the governance of our schools?

I believe parents play a major role in schools. Without PTAs and other parent volunteers, I cannot imagine where we would be today in our schools. The parents have to have a voice in how our school system moves forward. What I hear from the parents that I talk to, is they feel like they don’t have a say in the public school system. For this reason many have chosen to go to private schools or homeschooling. I know not everyone is going to agree, but it is the responsibility of the board members to talk to the parents and to do the best job possible to make our schools the best for everyone.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”450″]WANT TO MEET THE CANDIDATES IN PERSON? The Huntsville Council of Parent Teacher Associations is hosting a School Board Candidate Forum on Monday, August 18th, 2014. The event will be held at Huntsville High School from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. This forum will also be broadcast live on ETV (Channel 17 on Comcast and Channel 3 on Wow!) [/sws_grey_box]

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