Cum laude graduate, University of Michigan, Music Education and Performance
Studied flute with world renowned instructor, Geoffrey Gilbert
Board certified, Florida School Boards Association
Small business owner/musician/Board Member
Apopka and West Orange Chambers of Commerce
Apopka Foliage Sertoma Club
Orange County and Apopka history centers
Trinity Baptist Church and orchestra
Florida School Boards Association
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.
2016 parent surveys demonstrate high levels of confidence in OCPS neighborhood public schools. Parents are pleased with the addition of state-of-the-art technology. Additionally, parents generally like their teachers and administrators. Surveys do show concerns over excessive state testing, desire for more recess and interest in more authentic learning opportunities. Unfortunately much of this is dictated by the state who holds districts accountable for receiving “C” grades or better on the new standards and high stakes FSA exams. District board members can though ensure equity in funding, seeking out additional community support like I have through my faith-based meetings and one mayor’s program. Board members rally the community for passage of additional funding such as the 1/2 penny for capital needs and 1 mil for operational enhancements and better teacher salaries. Board members hire the Superintendent and Dr. Barbara Jenkins, is a nationally recognized and sought after educational leader.
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?
Funding comes from Tallahassee on a per pupil basis. Thus, if OCPS retains a high percentage of the students, funding will not decrease. Our job is to provide high quality schools, teach parents to be good consumers of K-12 educational opportunities and begin to communicate better about school offerings, programs and quality. I love neighborhood schools and regularly promote my schools. Charter schools, a creation of the legislature, must be seen as an incentive to make our neighborhood public schools even better.
What are three things “going right” for Orange County Public Schools? How will you continue forward progress?
OCPS was nationally recognized for reducing achievement gaps and operating with efficiency and high standards of customer service by the Governor. This excellence must continue and even improve. I would emphasize value-adds such as local school and community history and field trips, more after school clubs such as chess, chorus, STEM and kinetics and philanthropic funding for additional VPK classes in Title I schools. We also need to add more opportunities for vocational and technical education which includes success on industry certification exams. Additionally, I look forward to every middle school having “one to one” technology – one computer per student. Low performing communities need to find ways to offer more parent training.