Costella Williams, running for Portsmouth School Board
1. Why are you running for office?
I am seeking re-election to The Portsmouth City School Board to continue goals of improving education for all children and being a strong advocate for public education. By a vast number of accounts from parents, teachers, staff and students, I have been a stable and steady voice for investing in education by improving pay for all staff and especially our teachers. A strong proponent of bringing vocational and technical education back on our campuses through a career and technical center because all students will not go to college; however, PPS must prepare students to be job ready. Safety in our school is always at the forefront of all that we do. We have been able to get a grant to increase resource officers in high schools and some middle schools. We need to expand to elementary schools and continue looking at creative ways for funding; i.e., grants and partnering with our local law enforcement officers. Great schools are a big component of great cities. Hiring and maintaining highly qualified teachers and professional staff development will help ensure our schools are fully accredited and accreditation is maintained. There is still much work to do to reach our goals for maintaining and attaining excellence in education. I am ready, willing and able to take on the tasks and ask for your vote and your consideration on November 8th.
2. Why should people vote for you?
I am a proven leader of integrity, compassion and competence currently serving as Vice Chairman of the board and have a proven track record of working with our city council, fellow board members, the community, students and Portsmouth Public School Staff. First elected to the school board in 2008 with a theme of Doing for your child what I want done for my own, my premise is still the same today, working to improve the lives of all students enrolled in Portsmouth Public Schools. Having two daughters who graduated from Portsmouth Schools–I.C. Norcom and Woodrow Wilson High Schools and now another generation of granddaughters attending John Tyler Elementary School, I believe in the school system, and it has been good to my family and I. One of many examples of Portsmouth Pride is the Valedictorian of Churchland High received a full scholarship to Yale University and so many other students attending prestigious universities; Back to back Gates Millennium Scholars as well. We have challenges that I view as opportunities to get it right and make a lasting impact on our most precious resources–our children.
3. What’s your favorite thing about the area you want to represent?
My favorite thing about Portsmouth is its rich history and diversity of thoughts and its people. There is never a dull moment in Portsmouth politics or the community. Sometimes too much drama, but I love my port city with its quaint Olde Towne atmosphere and it beautiful neighborhoods and down home friendliness.
4. What is the biggest problem your area is facing, how will you fix it?
Portsmouth is a city that is landlocked and a great deal of the bigger employers such as Norfolk Naval Shipyard, The Naval Hospital, to name a few are federal properties which tax revenue is non-existent, which leads to another problem of decreased revenue from taxes . Another factor is Portsmouth is one of the poorer cities in Hampton Roads which strains resources available and the school board’s budget and funding requests are rarely fully funded. My recommendation is to have an efficiency study done to ensure every single position is needed and there is no duplication or waste in administration in the school system. Accountability and transparency are critical to open government and trust from citizens.
5. Describe Donald Trump in max 3 words?
Lacking Integrity, Substance, Compassion
6. Describe Hillary Clinton in max 3 words?
Competent, Hardworking, Tenacious
7. What do you do for a living? Why do you do it?
Retired as Business Office Supervisor June 30, 2015 from City of Portsmouth, VA.
8. You’re going to be marooned on a tropical island for a week, you can only bring 1 thing – what is it?
9. What do you think of Colin Kaepernick?
Respect his right to protest peacefully for what he believes is his truth.
10. Would you vote to fund light rail expansion in your area?
Yes. We need to improve our transportation system.
11. Will you respect the outcome of the election?
Yes, we live in a democracy. When the people speak through the ballot box, we must respect their voice and their vote.
12. Favorite TV Show?
I am a news junkie…watch CNN and MSNBC