Live Blog: Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board Candidate Interviews

Here is a list of candidates:

  • Anne DiBella - via telephone
  • Desiree Cho
  • Gary Winzelberg
  • Greg Dye - missing
  • Ignacio Tzoumas
  • Jennifer Clark
  • Jennifer Marsh
  • Joanna Cleveland
  • Katherine Worley
  • Kulwadee Yung
  • Mary Ann Wolf - withdrew
  • Mary Litsikas
  • Rani Dasi
  • Theresa Watson - arrived at 6:25, missed introduction
  • David Saussy

Candidates got to start with 30-second introductions. First question was about biggest challenges, second about communication and decision-making style. Will post answers to succeeding questions below.

Link to applications is below.




Joanna Cleveland: Diversify the teaching staff

David Saussey: closing the acheivement gap, engage community in addressing the gap, don't wait until 3rd grade to start working on gap.

Ignacio Tzoumas: More data on whether we are reaching our goals

Jennifer Clark: closing the achievement gap, how can we support our teachers to help close that gap, how do we get mentors into the schools.

Mary Litsikas: Recruiting and retaining teachers, and getting rid of those who are bad, need policies to enforce the policies we have.

Anne DiBella : student growth, making sure that all students are growing

Greg Winzelberg: making sure all chidlren who need pre-school can access it.

Kulwadee Yung: meeting the needs of all children.

Katherine Worley: considers herself and educaiton policy junkie, need to have all teachers have access to good curricula, where we are putting our money (ex. partnership with Pittsburgh, should we partner with closer places). Also racial equity.

Desiree Cho: Look at the time for our teachers, time to plan for teachers

Theresa Watson: Want to see the measureable outcomes, want to bring in parents as partners to address the achievement gap.

Rani Dasi: Need to plan for the long term, understanding needed communication with the community.

Jennifer Marsh: Need to make sure we are serving all children and continuouly revisit, achievement gap - not just symptoms, but causes, need more diversity in the classroom 


Joanna Cleveland: Need to create globally competitive students; need to use tech to provide alternative learning strategies w/o the over-reliance on tech. Great for data management for tracking.

David Saussey: use technology to collect data on student progress, it's not a pancea though. Need to make sure all schools have equal access.

Ignacio Tzoumas: Treat technology like an facilities, if it is of benefit then it should be used.

Jennifer Clark: Can help students and teachers. ex. Google Docs for teachers to provide instant feedback to students at Estes Hills. Biggest challenge is making sure everyone has access at home.

Mary Litsikas: We can't escape it and it can be a benefit, my children can email their teachers, ask future employers to help all children get wifi access at home.

Anne DiBella : Need to figure out what is needed at home (ex. some teachers are emailing assignments home during the weekend and some students do not have internet access).

Greg Winzelberg: Admits to being a bit old school in terms of tech, it's a must though for some classes like STEM, what happens since tech becomes obsolete so fast.

Kulwadee Yung: Not a big proponent of technology, at the younger ages we should use less tech and have more teacher interaction.

Katherine Worley: Need to have a really positive attitude about how to work with technology, trouble shoot.

Desiree Cho: Need to make sure we are having teacher-student engagement as we use technology, should help engage community in donating old iPhones/iPads etc....

Theresa Watson: K-3 they should be mastering skills with little access to computers, but in higher grades it is important. We once created a program in Chapel Hill to help families get computers and internet access. 

Rani Dasi: Tech can help to reach children of a wide variety of abilities, individuals are not contrained by speed of learning, can be a distraction,

Jennifer Marsh: Do support students having a device, especially from middle school on up, they can interact with eachother, biggest problem is those who don't have access - hard to do the work being assigned now without device/internet.

Joanna Cleveland: Support parents, teachers to manage in teh classroom, need to communicate well with parents and healthcare providers.

David Saussey: Instruction for EC students should be individualized, bring as many resources to bear as possible, mainstream students, having other students help the EC students.

Ignacio Tzoumas: Allow these students to be in the classroom, treat the same.

Jennifer Clark: Important to normalize these students across the district.

Mary Litsikas: Don't have much knowledge, knows that parents can be frustrated.

Anne DiBella : There is a wide variety of special needs, needs are not always identified - school needs to be better about this.

Greg Winzelberg: Need to individualize their education plan is v. important, need to seek more parent involvement.

Kulwadee Yung: Does not have that much experience, hard to generalizeas you can't have 1 program that meets all their needs. Need support for the classroom teacher.

Katherine Worley: Have worked with dozens and dozens of special needs children, it is difficult to pinpoint needs for academic goals (need writing goals and emotional goals sometimes).

Desiree Cho: Capturing needs in the IEP or 504 plan is challenging, need to communicate clearly to parents about assessments needed.

Theresa Watson: Have worked with students who need IEPs, need to help parents to understand the process and the needs, long-term impact.

Rani Dasi: Support is so important, need to build up the support structures for families.

Jennifer Marsh: As a parent, went through a v. disasterous IEP process, need to ID children earlier, don't say children will grow out of it, help parents to understand process and jargon, need to partner with proven program like the Hill Program.

Joanna Cleveland: Need to articulate s set of guiding principles for how you will make your decisions, does the decision stay in line with our long-range goals/mission.

David Saussey: Has advocated for years for 1 school and 1 program, always tried to couch it in what is best for the district, need to demonstrate that you are making a thoughtful decision.

Ignacio Tzoumas: He wants schoold that are very diverse and engaged {not sure how that answered the questions}

Jennifer Clark: {missed answer}

Mary Litsikas: Need to give solid reasons for decisions.

Anne DiBella : Hardest thing a board member has to do, need to listen to people advocating for different populations.

Greg Winzelberg: Need to be clear about expectations.

Kulwadee Yung: Know that you represent the whole district, not just 1 constituency. Change can be very hard like with re-districting.

Katherine Worley: Have spent whole career working to balance needs ot all kinds of students, some decisions aren't going to be popular.

Desiree Cho: This community seems to see how inter-connected we all are. Like to ask people with a specific interest how their interest fits with those of others.

Theresa Watson: I have 6 kids. You can balance the needs of multiple groups. 

Rani Dasi: Need to make groups feel heard, try to understand.

Jennifer Marsh: Important to hear everyone out

Joanna Cleveland: Would again look to guiding principles, what affect would cuts have on those. Very concerned about facilities needs.

David Saussey: Go through budget line-by-line to understand the impact of cuts, communicate to the community about the impact.

Ignacio Tzoumas: Are the cuts equitable? Maybe cut a little from each one, show that we are not choosing one over the other. First cuts would be to outside consulting. Last would be teacher pay and facility rejuvenation.

Jennifer Clark: Works in finance and higher ed. Key thing to maintain is educators to acheive core mission, can't cut facilities budget. Look at programs with least impacts and those are cut. We should look for outside funding.

Mary Litsikas: Nee dto see where cuts would cut the least, not that familiar with the budget to answer in detail, might say to put off facilities improvements if possible, maybe technology can wait.

Anne DiBella: First to cut are things not directly related to students (ex. driver's education for those who can afford to pay) and last is anything that is directly related (ex. teacher pay or benefits)

Greg Winzelberg: Looked at budget, 80% go to instructional services, impressed with instructional services now - breadth and depth....want to maintain that. Would cut programs that reach less students.

Kulwadee Yung: Comfortable with budgets, background is in banking. Would cut things that do not have a direct impact on our goals, maybe work to find alternative funding for capital improvements, books, keep pay for teachers.

Katherine Worley: Has lots of experience with this, hard decisions to make...v. emotional, need to look in that moment, as a gifted specialist I would keep that.

Desiree Cho: Would want more information, what research says, what families want.

Theresa Watson: Last thing I would cut is teacher pay, first thing - no idea, perhaps books (online books instead).

Rani Dasi: Been involved in a lot of budget discussions, has a backfground in finance. Hard to choose without context. Would look for other revenue sources as the choices are tough. Look at non-residential income for the county.

Jennifer Marsh: Would look to highly specialized programs that are not utilized by a large number of students as those that might need to be cut (ex. specialty language), would not want to cut anything that is proven such as pre-k. 


Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.