Monday, April 14, 2014

Board of Education Recap, 1-5

Question, "What do you think the job of a Board of Education member is?" Please address the following:

1. What power does the position convey?

2. What is the best use of that power?

3. To whom is the Board of Education member responsible?

Corey Andrews

1. Mr. Andrews gives the most weight to "providing oversight" and "providing vision."

2. He appears to suggest there are times the best use of power is to "step in", "change direction", and/or "provide direction," rather than to "micro-manage the day to-to-day operation of the school system."

3. The Board of Education member is "accountable to every citizen of Howard County" and to that end should be "responsive, visible, and open-minded."

Keywords, or things that stuck in my mind: use of the term vision (perhaps consistent with this definition) and the mention of micro-management as something he doesn't want. Dwelling on what you don't want can sometimes be counter-productive when trying to get your point across. He uses another negative when he states that Board of Education members are "not there to represent themselves." (my wording)

Did he answer the question I asked? Yes.

Leslie Kornreich

1. Ms. Kornreich places the primary powers of the Board of Education member in the "power to collaborate" and to "make...decisions abut the direction and future of our school system."

2. It is my understanding that she sees the best use of power in encouraging stakeholders (principals, teachers, students and parents) to "offer their expertise, ideas, suggestions and criticisms openly..." so that the Board Member may listen and act on that knowledge.

3. The answers to questions 2 and 3 and inextricably linked in this response, as Ms. Kornreich clearly states that the best of power is to "serve the community of voters that have elected you."

Keywords, or things that stuck in my mind: Ms. Kornreich places strong emphasis on collaboration and stakeholders. She, like Mr. Andrews, mentions a negative, "You cannot assume that you know everything," although she uses it to support a collaborate approach.

Did she answer the question I asked? Yes.

Thomas Baek

1. Mr. Baek lays out the power of the Board of Education members as a two-pronged one: a charge to "sustain, oversee, and guide our schools..." And to "work on the Board as a member of a team."

2. This sentence lays out his view of the best use of power: "first listen well, volunteer often, demonstrate leadership by way of deeds, and to actively listen before proactively speaking..."

3. He states, "The Board is empowered by the citizens of our county to be accountable for our schools and for our children."

Keywords, or things that stuck in my mind: collaboration and cooperation, combined with an overall sense that the Board Member must come to the job with a sense of humility and a deep capacity for listening to others.

Did he answer the question asked? Yes.

R. Michael Smith

1. Mr. Smith describes the power of the Board of Education member as in serving as a liason between the community and the Superintendent.

2. I had some difficulty discerning his views on the best use of power. He mentions a desire to "dispel the misperception among some Howard County residents that all is well in our schools." He also emphasizes the importance of participating in "reform."

3. I don't find this question directly addressed, but it does seem that he feels that participating in reform will "satisfy my obligation to the electorate." This would indicate that he feels that the Board of Education member is responsible to the electorate.

Keywords, or things that stuck in my head: the use of the term "liason" in explaining the power the position conveys is an interesting one. Another clearly important term here is "reform."

Did he answer the question I asked? No, not really. I see here an emphasis on the candidate's beliefs and priorities, but not a clear response to the question and its component parts.

Dr. Zaneb Beams

1. Dr. Beams uses a quote from the school system website itself to define the power conveyed by the position of Board of Education member. The Board of Education (BOE) "is responsible for setting local education policy consistent with state and federal laws governing public education."

2. The best of use of that power would be to "use their position to ensure optimal education, creating the best available learning and development environment for all learners." She elaborates, "The Board of Education should be seen as a policy engine that supports, and presents checks and balances to, all stakeholders in the schools."

3. This sentence manages to answer all three question, despite its comparative brevity: "BOE members set educational policy, representing all stakeholders, to create the best learning environment for all." She also states earlier, "Elected leadership is responsible to constituents- students, their families, teachers, staff, and administrators."

Keywords, or things that stuck in my head: emphasis on learning and development of students. Her use of the term "checks and balances" in articulating the role of the Board of Education as a whole is intriguing.

Did she answer the question I asked? Yes.

As always, the rules for commenting are as follows: you must be willing to affix your real name to your words. Thanks!

I look forward to hearing from candidates 6-13.


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