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Middletown Transcript
  • KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES: Four vying for seat on Appoquinimink school board

  • Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to choose among four candidates running for an at-large seat on the five-member school board.
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    • HOW DO I VOTE?
      WHEN
      10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 14

      POLLING PLACES
      Marion Proffitt Training Center, Townsend Early Childhood Center, Bunker Hill Elementary, Olive B. Loss Elementary, Old State Ele...
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      HOW DO I VOTE?
      WHEN

      10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 14

      POLLING PLACES

      Marion Proffitt Training Center, Townsend Early Childhood Center, Bunker Hill Elementary, Olive B. Loss Elementary, Old State Elementary, Everett Meredith Middle School, Alfred G. Waters Middle School, Middletown High School.
  • Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to choose among four candidates running for an at-large seat on the five-member school board.
    The following are profiles of three of the candidates that ran in the print edition of the Middletown Transcript from March 21 to April 4.
    The fourth candidate, Miguel Gonzalez, did not respond.
    Edna Cale
    AGE 72
    YEARS AS A DISTRICT RESIDENT 70
    FAMILY I have one child, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in the area, as well as three siblings and a host of nieces and nephews
    CHILDREN IN THE DISTRICT All four of my children are proud graduates of the Appoquinimink School District. One granddaughter I raised was a member of the Middletown High School Class of 2010. Two more grandchildren attend school in the district, one at Alfred G. Waters Middle School and the other at Appoquinimink High School.
    EDUCATION James H. Groves High School, Class of 1969; bachelor's degree in behavioral science from Wilmington University, 1982
    WORK HISTORY Master Family Service Worker for the Delaware Department of Services, 26 years; Fitness trainer for Curves, six years; part-time cashier for Walmart, three years
    Q Why are you running for a seat on the Appoquinimink School Board?
    A I am running to continue serving my community, the staff and the district by contributing my time, talents and passion to help our students achieve educational excellence and grow into adults who are well prepared to be good citizens.
    During the nearly 10 years I have been on the school board, I believe I have demonstrated my professional expertise and strong personal commitment to the betterment of this community through education. I have the time, energy, passion and management experience to identify and prioritize the issues, seek collaborative solutions and encourage prudent fiscal management of our limited available resources. I am constantly aware that this work is undertaken on behalf of all the citizens of this community.
    Q What do you see are some of the most pressing issues the school board will be facing in the next five years?
    A Today, it's the severe financial pressures facing the district. These pressures include the delinquency or non-payment of state funding commitments, the non-passage of our referendum and the cancellation, or reduction, of several major state grants and funding, such as in transportation. Unless addressed, these pressures threaten to seriously affect student learning. It is critical a process be followed that communicates the issues to the staff and community and seeks their input in solving the problems. Then the board must continue to exercise prudent fiscal management in prioritizing and approving appropriate strategies
    Page 2 of 3 - With the district's changing demographics in recent years, it also has been an ongoing challenge to raise overall performance levels. While an ever-increasing number of district students do excel (as evidenced by the growing numbers of students mastering Advanced Placement classes), there remains an achievement gap that must be addressed. In recent years, the board has taken a number of steps in this regard, including the development of our strategic plan that focuses on improved teaching and learning programs. In general, the emphasis should be put on "All Children Moving Ahead."
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    Matt Brown
    AGE 33
    YEARS AS A DISTRICT RESIDENT Four
    FAMILY Married to my high school sweetheart and we have two wonderful girls
    CHILDREN IN THE DISTRICT One of my daughters is attending kindergarten at Appoquinimink Early Childhood Center. My other daughter has a year to go before entering kindergarten.
    EDUCATION Christiana High School, Class of 1998; bachelor's degree in education from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2007
    WORK HISTORY United States Marines, 1998 to 2006; Retail Vice President for a regional bank in North Carolina 2004 to 2007; Owner of an Early Childhood Education Center in North Carolina
    Q Why are you running for a seat on the Appoquinimink School Board?
    A Appoquinimink has consistently been ranked as one of the best programs in the state; however in recent years, there have been board decisions that jeopardize that ranking. As a parent, I became concerned with the direction our board was taking our schools. In this day and age, we need fresh ideas and a voice for everyone in our district, not just the ones that can make it to a board meeting. With your support I can be that voice.
    Q What do you see are some of the most pressing issues the school board will be facing in the next five years?
    A First, I would say it is impossible to predict the issues that will come to in our district over the next five years. What I can address is the issues facing our district now. With the referendum such a hot topic in our community and concern growing over spending, it is clear to me that our biggest issue now is our financial stability. I would work with fellow board members to ensure a proper budget and that our schools are prepared for the future without hurting our district families.
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    Kelly Wright
    AGE 33
    YEARS AS A DISTRICT RESIDENT Five
    Page 3 of 3 - FAMILY Husband, David, a teacher at Middletown High School; Son, Gabriel
    CHILDREN IN THE DISTRICT Gabriel attends an in-district nursery school
    EDUCATION Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, N.J., Class of 1998; bachelor's degree in environmental science from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, 2002; completed master's degree coursework in engineering management at Drexel University in Philadelphia
    WORK HISTORY Sunoco Logistics Partners in Philadelphia: engineering associate at Sunoco, 2002-2003; environmental compliance specialist, 2003-2007; emergency management coordinator, 2007-2010; environmental engineer, 2010-2012; Compliance Management International in North Wales, Pa.: emergency management/environmental associate, 2013
    Q Why are you running for a seat on the Appoquinimink School Board?
    I want to be a part of the governing body that controls what my son will experience as a student, what my husband experiences as a teacher, and what we all experience as residents of the Appoquinimink School District.
    As a mom, I will use my time on the board to ensure the education my child receives is provided by teachers and administrators who have all the necessary tools and support. I will work with district staff to ensure their needs and opinions, as well as those of the Appoquinimink community, are met.
    Additionally, my professional experience demands scrutiny, collaboration, auditing and questioning. These career skills will prove beneficial in dealing with the financial and contractual decisions the board must make every month.
    Q What do you see are some of the most pressing issues the school board will be facing in the next five years?
    First, the board must develop a long-term plan for improving and sustaining our district's financial health. State and federal monies are unlikely to return anytime soon, so it is imperative that the district aggressively pursue alternative funding sources, such as private grants or financial partnerships with area businesses.
    The second concern focuses on transparency by the district/board and repairing its relationship with the M.O.T. community. The results of the February referendum clearly indicate that a significant part of our community either does not trust what district leaders are telling them or that the manner in which the district communicates with the public is inadequate and ineffective. One of the first steps in re-engaging community members and rebuilding the relationship is making board meetings and deliberations, such as the process for crafting the language for the second referendum attempt, transparent and available to the public. This will help to blunt the baseless accusations of "backroom politics" which dogged the board's decisions regarding the February referendum.
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