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In their own words - only in the Herald Guide ...
School Board Q & A you must read before the Sept. 30 election
By Heather R. Breaux -   Sep 14, 2006

Editor's note : we interviewed each school board candidate via email and are now presenting their answers verbatim.

Ellis Alexander, District 1

Q: Why do you want to be elected as a member of the St. Charles Parish School Board?

A: District 1 needs an articulate, educated and devoted person serving on the school board. As a retiree from Union Carbide, I am available and have timeto dedicatemyself to this position and the desire to serve well. I was twice elected to the parish council, serving two complete terms.Many of my original ideas came to fruition and can be seen through out the parish.

Desmond J. Hilaire, District 1

Q: What are your plans to improve academics in the parishs school system?

A: Im a big advocate of No Child Left Behind, and Id like to see us get more involved in working with at risk students.

Another goal is to improve testing scores by working with the superintendent and staff to make sure that we are hiring the most qualified teachers to improve scores, and we need to get more parents involved in the day to day educational process.

Mary Bergeron, District 2

Q: What are some areas within school system that you feel need to be changed, and/or what areas do you feel are working for the parish's schools and should not be changed?

A: We have made it a point over the years to keep politics out of the day to day running of the school system. That must never be changed. We must also continually strive to improve not only education but communication, make sure that stakeholders have opportunities for input, and be willing to admit when we need to change something.

Angela Fenerty, District 2

Q: Why do you want to be elected as a member of the St. Charles Parish School Board?

A: I relate and understand the questions and concerns of parents, guardians, children, teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc. of our system. I volunteer. I see and hear the problems these individuals have.

Dennis Naquin, District 3

Q: Why do you want to be elected as a member of the St. Charles Parish School Board?

A: I am running for school board because our district performance scores dropped from second place to eighth place statewide during the past four years. Budget refining is needed from the state government, and recruitment of new teachers is necessary.

Cindy Brasher, District 3

Q: Why do you want to be elected as a member of the St. Charles Parish School Board?

A: Having the experience of three children being educated in St. Charles Parish School System affords me the insight of knowing the issues and opportunities for an outstanding public education. In order to continue this accomplishment, we need to maintain our commitment in providing safe, updated facilities, a strong research- based curriculum, quality teachers and staff, parental involvement, innovative techniques and programs, and the direction of funds to support these necessary components.

I lobbied a Bill that became a law allowing public comment at meetings prior to voting. I value this input I fought to allow. I will continue to be the people's voice. I will continue monitoring expenditures, dedicating funds where needed, overseeing voter approved monies for construction and renovation, and promise to be conscious of the taxpayer's dollars.

Robin Triche Fields, District 7

Q: What are your plans to improve academics in the parish's school system?

A: In order to improve academics, we must take a wholistic approach. Teachers are some of the hardest working people in the entire parish. They have to educate and train more than 80 students a day on the high school level, and tailor each subject to the individual needs of the child. Parental involvement must increase, however we need to make it more conducive to their work schedules and provide them the resources to help their children with assignments. The school board must be more accountable to the students. Students need to have an active role in planning the curriculum and evaluations of school operations.

Steve Crovetto, District 7

Q: What are your plans to improve academics in the parish's schools system?

A: We have to continue to address academic issues on a daily basis. We must demand that our administration follow our long-range policies and procedures adopted for academic performance. We have to conform and provide the means to excel with regard to the Federal Government and State Accountability guidelines. We must continue to review and audit our assessments and mandates, to be assured they are effective tools in the instruction and learning of our children. As a board member we have to realize that every decision we make affects daily student achievement directly or indirectly. We must all know and continually emphasize that the daily core business of the school system is the education of our children.

Al Suffrin, District 8

Q: What are some areas within school system that you feel need to be changed, and/or what areas do you feel are working for the parish's schools and should not be changed?

A: The citizens and taxpayers have a vested interest in St. Charles Parish Public Schools. Accordingly, they deserve fiscal responsibility and accountability from the School Board and I hope that continues.

St. Charles Parish allows its teachers at each school site to provide input that helps direct that school, based on the data that is collected throughout the school year, and culminates in the school improvement plan at the school. This helps the school set goals for itself and is an area that should not be changed.

Two areas of improvement that I would like to see addressed are to improve parent involvement in the schools and to emphasize financial literacy for students.

Hank Shepard, District 8

Q: What are your plans to improve academics in the parish's school system?

A: The school board needs to evaluate the large fund balance that it now has and set some new priorities. We need better utilization of technology at all grade levels to enhance the educational experience for students.

We need to find a way to return teacher pay to the top five status again to attract the best teaching staff that we can. We need to make the learning experience better for our children of special needs.

Heather R. Breaux can be contacted at heatherb@heraldguide.com

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