Forum Open Thread 2017: CHCCS Board of Education

Welcome to the open thread for the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Board of Education candidate forum happening on October 8, 2017 at 7pm. Comments on this post will open at that time.

There are seven candidates running for four seats. There are three normal seats with four-year terms; the fourth-place finisher will fill the remainder of Annetta Streater's unexpired term.

  • James Barrett
  • Joal Hall Broun
  • Ryan Brummond
  • Calvin Deutschbein
  • Amy Fowler
  • Kim Talikoff
  • Mary Ann Wolf

The link to observe will appear on the homepage just prior to the start of the forum. UNC Law Professor Barbara Fedders will join us as our moderator to ask the probing questions. Don't miss it.

We hope you'll use this open thread to post your thoughts and reactions. Also, if you want to propose additional discussion topics, you can reach the editors during the forum via TwitterFacebook, or the contact page. The forum moderator will have final say in question selection.


Please play nice.

I would like to know if any of the candidates are willing to commit to spending a higher proportion of the budget on non-LEAP gifted services, to begin mitigating the substantial cuts to this area over the past several years. These cuts have meant that there are very few services for these kids and little to no differentiation in most classrooms, despite the fact that state legislation and the district’s AIG plan require such services. Thank you.

Hi Jeff, 

I will commit to more funding for AIG services beyond our LEAP program. I have no doubt that our school-level AIG coordinators are doing the best that they can, but they are often under-resourced and over-stretched, considering the above average number of AIG-qualifying students we have in CHCCS. As a board, we need to clearly articulate to our superintendent and school principles that we expect them to meet the needs of these students, and the board has the responsibility to resource them accordingly. This is no different than ensuring that our children who require speech and language therapy to meet their potential have their needs met, or our children who require ESL services to meet NC academic standards have their needs met. I believe that it is the board's responsibility to ensure that our district is appropriately staffed and resourced to meet these needs. 

As an example of how we can do better, Northside Elementary is currently without an AIG coordinator. As the school leadership searches for a new coordinator, our Northside students are going without differentiated educational services - services that are, as you mentioned, legislatively required by the North Carolina AIG Program Standards. 

As a final thought, I understand the concern about AIG becoming it's own inequitable eco-system - a system of perceived competition and stratification that is based on de facto SES or racial dynamics. The solution to that problem is not to defund our AIG programs. We must recognize that a portion of our student body requires differentiated AIG services to meet their academic potential. Considering that appropriate academic instruction is a core mission of the school district, I strongly support full funding for the programs that directly meet this mission, including AIG. 


I can relate to your question. When my gifted daughters were in middle school, they too did not receive any "gifted instruction." I was informed that they were being served by enrichment activities afterschool such as Science Olympiad, Battle of the Books, and the like. I had to laugh because I was actually coaching Science Olympiad or at least 2 of the topics (I have coached Anatomy and Physiology, Disease Detectives, Foods, and Invasives). BE THE CHANGE :). At any rate, I do think that changes to the way classes are taught (e.g. more project based with rubrics that can denote standard work and gifted or deeper dive work, accelerated classes, etc.) are necessary to make sure all students (gifted included) are making a year's worth of progress in a year's time.

One excellent opportunity for candidates, school board members, and administrators to learn more about supporting LGBTQ students is to attend the Safe Schools NC Conference for Educators and Support Staff on November 11 at Smith Middle School. More information at

I will sponsor any Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board candidate who registers for this year's Safe Schools NC conference, by donating to their campaign in an amount equivalent to the registration fee. Contact me at It's a great learning opportunity!

If elected, I will plan to attend. I may attend even if not, just being a pediatrician and interested in learning more. Just tried to sign up, but being after midnight of the last day of early bird special it appears to be in some sort of purgatory that won't allow me to sign up for early bird or late registration.

I just noticed that my closing remarks did not appear. I really appreciated the opportunity to share my thoughts. I believe that Chapel Hill and Carrboro is blessed with many qualified candidates. In the end, it is all about the students. No matter which candidate is chosen, I believe students win because these forums have made us all think deeply about the issues and raised awareness for ourselves and those who take time to read these responses. In this discussion, we talked about racial equity, income equity, gifted, dual language and LGBQT. These are all extremely important issues. I do feel one group was left out and that would be students with disabilities. Given October is Disability History and Awareness Month, so deemed by North Carolina State Legislators in 2007, I would like to add that education for students with disabilities in Chapel Hill Carrboro is also still a work in progress that merits discussion. I am a parent to 3 students from the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools (two gifted and one with special needs), a pediatrician to many Chapel Hill and Carrboro students, and a school volunteer and a leader of the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Special Needs Advisory Council. I feel deeply invested in the success of all our kids. If elected, I will think critically and fairly to help all students succeed.




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