Bachelor’s Social Science Education, Masters Educational Leadership. 23 years in education (teachers-12, Administrator-11). I taught at Pine Castle Christian Academy, Vacaville HS (California), Apopka MS, Ocoee HS, Boone HS. I was an Assistant Principal at Boone HS (3 yrs) and Apopka HS (3 yrs.) I was the District Athletic Director over all extracurricular activities for 2 years. I am currently an Assistant Director at the Westside Campus of Orange Technical College in Winter Garden.
Assistant Director at Orange Technical College – Westside Campus
OCPS representative on the Board of the City of Orlando After School All Stars
National Speech and Debate Association Panther District Principal of the Year
Chairman of the Bully Prevention Committee at Apopka Memorial Middle School 2003-2004
OCPS representative on the Law Week committee working with the OCBA to promote law appreciation and anti-DUI film at all high schools.
OCPS representative working with the Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ Youth Leadership Conference
Orange Technical College member of the Apopka Chamber of Commerce
OCPS Elementary School Chess Tournament committee member
OCPS Hall of Fame Selection Committee
One challenge for Orange County Public Schools is that many parents are unsure about our public schools. Describe your ideas for improving the public’s confidence in our schools and accountability system. Identify two other challenges facing OCPS and briefly discuss what ideas you have to begin addressing these three challenges.
1. Our schools need to operate like healthy families. Those who work at each school site need to take care of our students as if they were their own. Teachers need to take special interest in each of their students, and look for ways to connect them with success. Building great schools begins with attracting, developing, respecting and retaining great teachers. Every student needs a great teacher in order to be inspired and prepared for his or her future. Great teachers must be recognized and rewarded for their efforts to work with our new teachers to help them improve. As we build positive learning environments for our students, our students and parents will become our greatest fans.
2. Students desperately need the essential skills for learning as they enter the 9th grade–students need to learn how to learn. One way to help students develop these skills is by having them take Debate during their freshman year. Debate will help students develop the skills of research, critical thinking, listening, organizing their thoughts, and arguing their ideas in a civil manner. Civility is desperately needed in our schools and our society.
3. We need more career technical education options at local schools. Students who are not academically minded need to learn trades. The challenge is that if they don’t have a 2.0 GPA, they can’t travel to attend classes at Orange Technical College. I believe we need to invest in technical programs at each middle and high schools.
Orange County’s student population continues to grow faster than funding for public schools. As the Legislature funnels more funding to charter schools and the choice options for parents expand, even fewer dollars are available to fund traditional public schools. What impact do you believe this trend will have on the future of public education?
Public education will need to become lean, specialized and competitive in order to survive if the current trends in education continue. Public education must put the students first and keep the cash in the classroom rather than spending excessive amounts of money on district salaries and departments. We must give students the very best education available in order to thrive in such a system. If charter schools explode in our area, the students who are most at-risk–ESE and students living in poverty–could face the greatest challenges in finding schools that have the services they need and the willingness to work with them. It is imperative that all students receive a high quality education that prepares them for a satisfying career. Every student that is educated well is one less person society must protect themselves against, one less person that must be supported through welfare, and possibly one less person that must be supported in prison. If public school budgets get cut due to low enrollment, public schools may lose many of the programs, activities, and electives that motivate students to want to come to school. Extracurricular activities are essential in helping at-risk students get connected to positive experiences and individuals who care about them. A loss in funding could mean a loss in programs, which will ultimately affect attendance, achievement, employment, crime and generational poverty.
What are three things “going right” for Orange County Public Schools? How will you continue forward progress?
A.) I think the District has done a good job of building high quality schools throughout our district, which should be credited to the taxpayers of Orange County and those individuals involved with the construction, planning and government relations departments at the District office, and school personnel involved in design input and day-to-day progress updates. I will continue to be an advocate and a listening ear to make sure that the school board is responsive to the needs of our students, teachers and communities when it comes to building the very best schools.
C.) I believe our District is making strides in Career Technical Education by renaming our Tech Centers “Orange Technical College” and supporting the administrators over those departments and schools. I will continue this career technical education push by calling for more district investment in programs at schools so that students don’t have to leave their home schools.
D.) I believe the District has done well in its investment and encouragement of Debate at all District high schools. The District has allocated funds to help students compete in State and National tournaments for Debate competitions. These Debate competitions are the primary places where the top universities recruit for their schools. I will push to make Debate class available to all students.