I have had the privilege to teach in many different settings- from urban middle schools to nonprofits where I helped adults take the first step towards literacy. For the past five years I have taught in the Primary class at Peace Rose Montessori, spending every day helping preschoolers through the trials and tribulations of growing up. I know that as teachers we have the important task of giving students the tools necessary to navigate the challenges ahead of them. Maria Montessori believed that the the foundation of who you are is formed in the first six years of life. As teachers, it is our job to make sure that foundation is strong, to shape our students to be empathetic, curious, kind, and to think critically and challenge the world around them. We work every day to create global citizens, and we know that the future of our country and community depends on a strong public school system that helps our children achieve. In order for all of this to happen, we need a Board of Education that will support our teachers, invest in our children, and plan for the future.
I see every day what an impact early education has on students and the young mind. Students who have a solid primary education come into kindergarten ready to achieve, and continue to work ahead of their peers all the way through their high school graduation. New Hanover County currently has 837 public preschool slots, and I believe one of the best things we can do for our students is to expand that number. Kindergarten readiness lightens teacher load, improves long term achievement, and sets our students up for success.
One of the most important components to education is also one that is perennially on the chopping block. Visual arts, theater, music, sports, physical education, and free expression and play have immense value to the development of our students. Studies show that access to the arts and PE not only compliments academic achievement- it enhances it. Children who are given the opportunity to express themselves outside of the confines of a desk are more likely to succeed both in school and in the long term.I will protect and defend our children's access to PE, the arts, and specials, and we will work together to expand their access to creative outlets.
I graduated from an arts magnet school in Durham, a school that had been ranked in the top across the country. Magnet schools and vocational schools give students access to opportunities, careers, and options that are otherwise not available to them. My focus on photography in high school has lead me on an amazing journey that has included cookbooks and features in major magazines.Magnet schools and technical schools can open doors that take students to incredible places, and I think they are a vital part of New Hanover Country’s future. It is imperative, however, that they are properly funded and given the resources they need to thrive.
Public education is a North Carolina tradition, so important that it is written into the state constitution. Every child in New Hanover County deserves access to the best possible education. It is the job of the Board of Education to make sure that both students and teachers are given the resources and environment that they need to succeed and thrive.