Beth L. Strecker (D), running for Camden County Board Of Education
1. Why are you running for office?
My interest in serving on the board stems from a strong sense of wanting to give back to education by serving and supporting Camden as a Board member. In addition, I have a vested interest in our schools and have a passion for this school system and for the education of the children in this community. I will serve wholeheartedly to help make our schools the best they can be by listening to community members concerns.
This is an important election because it is about our children’s futures. We must provide teachers with the necessary tools and support to ensure success for every student. As a former classroom teacher and media coordinator, I know the classroom is the heart of the school. Research studies document that the most important factor contributing to student achievement is the teacher. Therefore, I believe our focus should always be on our students and teachers in those classrooms. I want to support learning opportunities that will impact students’ futures.
2. Why should people vote for you?
I have 26 years’ experience in education and currently teach in higher education. I have been a teacher, librarian, and technology director in K-12 public education. I understand various issues and legislative mandates that are pertinent to our school system and its future. This experience has allowed me to utilize innovative initiatives, best practices, and research data to provide successful learning environments that are tailored to meet individual student needs. I also have experience writing and acquiring grants for various learning programs. I have a passion for reading and for helping foster life-long readers.
3. What’s your favorite thing about the area you want to represent?
The favorite thing about the area that I represent is that it is an agricultural farming community. More importantly there is such a strong since of community. When there is a crisis, such as a fire on a farm or home, somebody loses their dog, or their property suffers from flood damage, you will be amazed how the community rallies together to get their neighbors the help they need.
4. What is the biggest problem your area is facing, how will you fix it?
The budget is the biggest facing our school system. Legislative mandates are constantly putting rules in place without including financial support. One example is the smaller class size for elementary schools. While smaller class size is beneficial for the students, the costs of adding teachers without additional funding means that cuts could have to be made to other important programs such as art and music, as well as other electives. Eliminating such programs would be devastating to students and make it more difficult to compete with their international peers when they graduate from high school. Another regulation change was allowing 6th graders to participate in sports, except for football. In our school district, 6th graders are not in the same school building as the 7th and 8th graders. This causes major transportations and practice-time issues for our students. We need to be proactive in making the community aware of these challenges. We need support from legislators and to reach out to them to make them aware of the economic impact of making such decisions. Another important issue is providing schools with the materials and resources students need to be successful. As a former teacher, I am aware that many teachers spend their own money to purchase supplies for their classroom and beg parents to supply copy paper. In addition, teachers are expected to write grants and raise funding for their teaching resources. They should do the job they were hired for, which is teaching our children and preparing them for their futures. Working as a school librarian and technology director I understand the pressures of budget constraints. Technology devices and infrastructure are expensive and of course books are needed, as well to support educational goals. We need to actively seek grants and funding opportunities to support our schools’ learning initiatives.
5. Describe Donald Trump in max 3 words?
An outspoken businessman.
6. Describe Hillary Clinton in max 3 words?
An experienced politician.
7. What do you do for a living? Why do you do it?
Teaching Assistant Professor of Library Science at East Carolina University. I am honored to be able to cultivate the next generation of librarians. I have always wanted to influence others who are interested in ideas, theories, and technology, as well as to encourage reading and research. I am so fortunate for have a job that encourages a life of learning.
8. You’re going to be marooned on a tropical island for a week, you can only bring 1 thing – what is it?
I would want to take a good book. It would be great to have uninterrupted time to read. I am currently reading, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. It has received the Newberry Award, Coretta Scott King Honor Award, and the North Carolina Young Adult Book Award for Middle School.
9. What do you think of Colin Kaepernick?
I believe in the freedom of speech and the freedom to read.
10. Would you vote to fund light rail expansion in your area?
Not applicable. Camden County is a rural agricultural area.
11. Will you respect the outcome of the election?
12. Favorite TV Show?