Kevin L. Hill | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Kevin L. Hill

Candidate for Wake County Board of Education District 3


Name as it appears on the ballot: Kevin L. Hill
Full legal name, if different:
Date of birth: 09/30/1953
Home address: 300 Paprika Court Raleigh, NC 27614
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site:
Occupation & employer: Education / NCSU; Education Consultant
Home phone: 919-848-3362
Work phone:
Cell phone:

1. If elected, what are your top priorities for the school board?

My main priority is to help ensure a quality education for all children. I believe this will become more difficult as we face the pressures tied to growth. I also want to overlay the perspective of an educator to the decision making process. Many times the true needs of students and teachers are lost in the decision making process. I have a strong understanding of how the school system works and I believe serving as a board member, I will be able to better understand and interpret policies and the policy making process the BOE is supposed to undertake.

2. What is there in your record as a public official or other experience—e.g., career, community service—that demonstrates your ability to be effective as a board member? Please be as specific as possible about the relevance of your accomplishments to your goals for the board.

I taught social studies for 14 years, served as an assistant principal for three years, and spent my last 11 years serving as a principal. During my career, I had the pleasure of working at five of the 16 schools in District 3 spanning 21 years. This experience adds to my understanding of our community and the needs of our children and schools. My education includes BA in history, with a teaching option, from North Carolina State University, graduating magna cum laude in 1976. I was also awarded his M.Ed in curriculum and instruction with a Supervisor's Certificate from NC State in 1981.

Currently, I am the interim program coordinator for the undergraduate Secondary Social Studies Education Program at North Carolina State University. Part of my responsibilities includes teaching seniors who are involved with student teaching. I also am a program presenter and social studies methods instructor with the NC TEACH Program, and a session presenter at the UNC Principals’ Executive Program.

I believe my past and current experiences align very well with the role a board of education member must play.

3. The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to the board help further that goal?

My constituents are the children of Wake County. I believe by serving their needs, I will help further the community good. The health of the community and the health of the schools are mutually dependent. By serving the children of Wake County, we can help ensure that our community continues to prosper and that our children, wherever they live, will be prepared to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives.

4. Wake schools are known for a commitment to economic diversity, but the goal of having no more than 40 percent of kids eligible for free and reduced meal plans in any school is slipping. Do you think the board should be more rigorous about adhering to its diversity goal? Less rigorous? Or is it getting things about right?

I believe they are doing the best job possible trying to remain true to this goal, which I strongly believe in. It will become increasingly difficult to limit “F&R” students to 40% at more and more schools as our county and neighborhoods change to reflect the diversity of our new county residents. This is not to suggest that we abandon this goal, it means we have to work harder to try to be successful with implementation. The size of our community and the size of the school system will make it hard if not impossible to adhere to at some schools.

5. With 7,000-8,000 new students a year and money short, the board adopted a policy of making every new elementary school a year-round school. Do you support that policy? Or, if not, what alternatives would you support to meet the enrollment crunch?

The citizens and parents of Wake County need to recognize that growth cannot be accommodated without additional revenues. Growth equals a need for money to continue providing a first class school system for our children. The school system can only recover a small amount of the money needed to deal with growth. I am not in favor of mandatory year-round schools. The parents and County Commissioners who oppose this approach need to step up to the plate and recommend a menu of ideas to generate the needed revenue to absorb approximately 7,000 new students yearly for the foreseeable future. You can only put so many students in a school without having a negative impact on the quality of instruction and stressing the core facilities. Mandatory year-round may be a moot point depending on the court challenge.

6. How’s the board handling the annual reassignment issue, in your opinion?

I believe the Board of Education is made up of members who truly have the best interests of parents and students in mind. I believe they are working as hard as possible given the information they receive and when they receive it. I would like to look at the procedures that are in place for the “annual” reassignment process to see if there are ways to better include parents and keep them informed. We also need to find ways to more effectively partner with builders and municipalities. They have information years in advance and it appears that communication between the BOE and these groups is not flowing smoothly.

7. Some board members have spoken out in favor of impact fees on new development in Wake County or, alternatively, an Adequate Public Facilities ordinance that would limit residential growth to available school slots. Do you support either idea or both?

I need to better understand the ramifications of these and other tools designed to generate fees. I strongly believe that whatever approaches we take to generate revenue need to be fair and equitable. I taught economics for four years and I believe I will be a quick study when it comes to understanding tax proposals and the impact they have on various groups.

8. The Wake Commissioners estimate that $3 billion to $4 billion in additional school bond issues will be needed over the next eight years. But bonds don’t happen unless the school board asks. As a board member, can you foresee supporting bond issues of that magnitude? Why or why not?

Our children are our future and Wake County has an obligation to them. As a board member, I will not shy away from asking for whatever amount the community needs to adequately meet the needs of our children. That statement comes with the obligation to fully investigate the needs of the school system and not request funds in an irresponsible way. I too am a taxpayer and believe all public officials have an obligation to be fiscally responsible.

9. The school board’s goal of having 95 percent of all students achieving at grade level seems to be just out of reach, with past gains now halted. What’s your view of this goal, and how (or whether) to try to reach it?

I learned from Dr. Carl Boyd, who spoke to Wake County administrators several years ago that “Nobody rises to low expectations!” That has been my creed for years, along with the statement on my school stationary, “Expect the Best!” It should go without saying that we continue to challenge ALL students. This will become more difficult as qualified teachers become harder to find as our needs for qualified teachers grows each year. The WCPSS hired 1100+ teachers since this past June. We are competing with school systems around the state and across the country for the best teachers.

10. What steps, if any, would you advocate to improve educational outcomes for at-risk students and to reduce dropout rates?

need to continue to implement programs that we find successful with our students. In elementary school, Alternative Learning Programs have had some success. We also have had success with programs that help teachers track student progress in “real time,” instead of waiting until the end of the year EOG tests. Specific programs in elementary are:

  • ALP
  • Blue Diamond
  • Focused Lessons

In secondary, we can use more computer or distance learning offerings, which help students who have difficulty in the traditional classroom or fall behind for any number of reasons. Specific programs in secondary are:

  • AVID
  • Blue Diamond
  • NC Virtual School
  • Nova Net

I would continue to focus resources to help teachers help our students who are having trouble with success. We need to continue to reach out to all students. “Pay me now or pay me later!”

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