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Why Run?

The educational challenge we face today is the largest in a generation. This is why I am running for Cobb County School Board - District 2. To get to work not to politic. To roll up my sleeves and to focus on student success. To engage on serious matters like (i) student literacy, (ii) closing achievement gaps and addressing learning losses, (iii) disciplined and sound fiscal management and prudent resource allocation, (iv) teacher and staff retention, support and impactful continuing education opportunities, (v) social and emotional learning supports and equitable programs for our vulnerable populations, (vi) building community in our schools, (vii) ensuring our stakeholders know how decisions are made and the rationale and data behind those decisions, and (viii) making sure our strategy (and resulting spending and investments) accounts for the size of catch up and achievement gaps we face. We can't wait. Those who know me know I bring passion, energy, and enthusiasm - as well as a sense of urgency - to the things I do every single day. The CCSB will be no different.

This isn't about me or future political aspirations, this is about student success in Cobb County full stop. This is about building consensus on a board when we don't always agree. This is about finding a middle ground on a set of issues and not losing parents who tune out when things become politicized. We need to ensure our Fiscal 2023 budget reflects the challenges ahead. I am glad our hard working employees will receive an 8.5% - 13.1% raise. If you had to teach your student during virtual learning the past couple years you probably would want the raise to be more. Great job on this move! I would like to hear more at the next meeting about how our budget is addressing learning losses, interventions planned, the magnitude of losses we are addressing with those planned investments, how we are using CARES Act money, and providing resources not just in specific populations, but all students in the District. Decisions made over the coming weeks and months will have a generational consequences - look it up - the educational and academic economists and academic researchers are all saying the same thing.

I want to compliment our CCSB and Superintendent Ragsdale on the hard work they have done during this challenging time. I look forward, if elected, to helping this team think through ways to ensure the planned investments we are making will have the magnitude of impact necessary to address losses and narrow gaps.

I propose a scorecard and an easier way for parents to see how CCSB is performing relative to that scorecard at all times. This scorecard should be done in simple language and provides guide posts and our game plan moving forward. It outlines our realities, where we are and where we need to be. Kids get a report card each quarter - so should families. It is common sense and it is easy. Don't believe anyone who says "It's complicated".

I coach little league baseball and learning the rules of baseball and all facets of the game can be quite a lot for a 5 year old or an 8 year old. Take for example hitting. This isn't easy for kids when they first start playing the game. It is a process but eventually our kids learn how to be successful at the plate. We keep it simple and tell them to "Watch the ball." Think about that for a second.

We can't get distracted along this path and can't stress enough the need, in my humble opinion, for a clear, strategic plan related to our spending and investments to ensure over the next 2-3 years our students don't fall further behind. Interventions are everything and we need to make these investments based on data and what impact those interventions have had historically and we hope they will have going forward. The academic research on this intersection is emerging but very logical and sound.

Milestone testing is around the corner and this will give CCSB leaders fresh data in August 2022 as to where students are performing. The data will help, but we know already that comparing this year's data with pre-pandemic data makes little sense - the world has changed. I am repeating with Superintendent Ragsdale said at a recent board meeting.

Right now is when we need to all be on the same page about our plans moving forward to address learning losses, achievement gaps, literacy challenges, and social and emotional well-being of students and staff. We all need to understand the scorecard and what we are trying to get done in the 22-23, 23-24 and 24-25 school years. Waiting can be costly and planning now will dictate outcomes in 2-3-4 years - but also a generation from today. Every student needs to be addressed in this plan. All schools need resources and support. All schools deserve interventions and representation in this scorecard. Let's keep our eye on the ball.

We have the hardest working students, families, teachers, staff, administration, and board in the State of Georgia. We have tremendous resources across Cobb County and dedicated families who care passionately and deeply about the highest quality public education for our students. We are a diverse county and fortunate to have public schools, teachers, employees, and leaders who reflect the world we live in today. Together we can harness this.

While the challenges and the road ahead will be difficult at times, leaders run towards challenges. Get involved with my campaign. Let me know if you want to help. I look forward, if elected, to working with Superintendent Ragsdale and his senior staff, teachers, parents and CCSB members that are dedicated to our mission: One Team. One Goal. Student Success.

Enjoy your weekend!


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