(BEDFORD) - Local citizens attended the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, WBIW and the Times Mail 2012 North Lawrence Community School Board Candidate Forum Monday night at Bedford Middle School's Schafer Auditorium.
The program allowed the public an opportunity to hear from all ten school board candidates. Each candidate was given 30 seconds for introductions and each candidate was limited to two minutes to respond to three questions. They then had time to answer two questions asked from the audience. The goal of the forum was to provide the public with the tools necessary to make an informative vote on November 6th.
Seeking seats on the North Lawrence Community Schools board are Staci Prewitt, Larry Arnold, Greg Norman, Tracy Bailey, Scott Gillespie, Dr. Wendy Trueblood Miller, Trisha O'Rourke, Sam Shaw, Daniel Tinsley and Dennis Whitaker.
To hear the North Lawrence Community School Board forum tune into 1340 WBIW on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The forum will also be shown on the Comcast Star Station on Channel 14 and on AT&T Channel 99 on Saturday at 2 a.m., 6 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 p.m. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Below is a list of questions:
1. What is your long-range vision for the North Lawrence Community School District (growth plans, curriculum, staffing, etc.)?
Answers ranged from hiring qualified staff, holding teachers and administrators accountable, student growth, the budget, the RISE system which evaluates teacher's performance, student growth and increasing the use of technology and school curriculum, class sizes, and addressing bullying and safety issues.
2. What do you see as the school board's role and responsibility in relation to administrators, department heads, and staff members?
Most agreed that the job of the board is to set policy and not micro manage the administrators or teachers. Other goals were to keep the public informed, ethics, listening to concerns and ideas and to provide a support system for teachers and administrators.
3. What specific changes do you want to make in school district policies, programs, or curriculum?
Candidates expressed they wanted to eliminate bullying, increase safety, look at doing more with less after state budget cuts, having a balanced calendar year, graduation rates and expanding the curriculum.
Meet The Candidates
A 22-year resident of Lawrence County, Arnold is married and has two sons who attend Bedford Middle School and two sons who graduated from BNL. A project coordinator for Tri-County Builders Co. Inc., he is a former NL school board member and building trades instructor.
Bailey and his wife have seven children, ages 22 to 11. He attended Indiana University and is the president of Bailey Insurance Group, an independent insurance and financial services firm in Bedford.
Gillespie, a 27-year veteran of the Bedford Fire Department, has a degree in public safety and is seeking re-election to the school board. He and his wife Kimberley have three adult sons and two grandchildren.
Wendy (Trueblood) Miller
A lifelong Lawrence County resident and a product of the North Lawrence schools, Miller has two children. A registered nurse, she holds a doctorate in nursing science from Indiana University and is a tenure-track professor at the IU School of Nursing.
Norman, the owner of Hoosier Cut Stone, lives in the Heltonville area. He and his wife have two children, both BNL graduates, and are the grandparents of two NL elementary school students.
O'Rourke, who retired after a 40-year teaching career, is completing her first four-year term on the board. Two highlights of her term, she said, include the impletion of all-day kindergarten and the beginning of a program to help high school students find alternative routes to graduate.
A lifelong Lawrence County resident, Prewitt is the mother of two children. A product of the North Lawrence schools, she is pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
Shaw lives in Bedford. "I am qualified and meet all requirements for a school board candidate," he said in a statement to the Times-Mail. "You know who I am and my courage on voice of public opinion."
Tinsley was born in Montana, grew up and attended college in Kentucky and has lived in Bedford for the past 20 years. He has been a district sales rep for B&B Foods in Terre Haute for 15 years. He and his wife have four children.
Whitaker started his teaching career at Tunnelton School, and then moved to BNL to teach history and psychology. He was assistant BNL principal from 1997 to 2004 before returning to the classroom to finish his career. He has served on the boards of the United Way and the North Lawrence Scholarship Foundation.
Programming note: 1340 AM WBIW will air a recorded version of the school board forum this Wednesday, October 24th starting at 8pm. More details on this page.
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