2022 CMS District 2: Monty Witherspoon
Involvement with the school district (employment, kids in the system, volunteer, appointed or elected roles):
I am an advocate for closing achievement gaps between Black and White students.
My work as a pastor has involved supporting schools in my community. My congregation has partnered with two schools where we provide direct and broad-based support to families. The principal or guidance counselor will notify our team of any outstanding needs that a student or family may have. This includes actions such as supporting families in transitional housing and providing clothing and toiletries for other students and families. Our members are employed by CMS in various capacities and they help us determine need and appropriate responses.
Additionally, I fully intend to enroll my 4 year old son in CMS next year.
Education and/or political advocacy groups you’re affiliated with:
Other relevant experience:
What actions should the school board take to improve outcomes for students and schools that are performing below expectations?
Students who have less at home need more resources at school. Local governing agencies must work collaboratively to meet students needs both at home and at school. As noted by WestEd researchers, funding reductions that have persisted since 2008 are tied to widening achievement gaps.
What are the district’s most significant funding needs, and what should the board do to meet them?
My vision for public schools in our district is aligned with the WestEd’s research-based recommendations for how North Carolina will meet it obligation to provide every child with a sound basic education. First, I envision every child entering K-12 prepared with a high-quality Pre-K education. Also, I envision the following recommendations:
- A system of teacher development and recruitment that ensures each classroom is staffed with a high-quality teacher who is supported with early and ongoing professional learning and provided competitive pay.
- A system of principal development and recruitment that ensures each school is led by a high-quality principal who is supported with ongoing professional learning and provided competitive pay.
- An assistance and turnaround function that provides necessary support to low-performing schools.
I realize that we have a long way to go at the state-level, but I believe that an innovative and responsive School Board working in cooperation with educators can take some preliminary steps with the current resources. Also, there I will work with the School Board to restore a culture of high expectations for students — which costs $0.
How would you rate current leadership of the district (board and superintendent)? What changes would you propose?
The current leadership has failed students. I will work to build relationships with board members with whom I have political or pedagogical differences, while maintaining my commitment to student-centered leadership and a laser focus on student achievement in the broadest sense.
What should the board do to improve safety for students and employees?
Invest in evidence-based solutions that go beyond visual representations of safety to create safer learning environments.
Are there additional issues, themes or characteristics that you see as central in your campaign?
Closing the achievement gap