With the resignation of Sendolo Diaminah in August the Durham Public Schools Board of Education must fill a vacant position, and there's no lack of interest with thirteen applicants vying for the spots. However, two of the applicants—Florida DeVaul Dudley an Shonda Wilson—were removed from consideration because they do no live within District 2.
Diaminah resigned after his attendance at meetings was called into question (he'd reportedly
missed at least nine out of sixteen meetings). Now, the board is charged with appointing someone by October 24—sixty days after Diaminah resigned.
The eleven candidates include two familiar faces—Frederick Davis, who Diaminah was elected to replace, and Regina George-Bowden, a former board member for District 2 (the position currently vacant).
The board is set to hear from the applicants on Tuesday, September 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at district headquarters at 511 Cleveland Street.
One of the applicants, Marshall Williams, did not have a statement of qualifications included in his online packet of information.
Here's a rundown of ten of the applicants with a portion of their "statement of qualifications"
(You can read all statements of qualifications in full by clicking the link above).
- Fredrick Davis, 4 Chelan Court, Durham, 27713: "As Paster f First Calvary Baptist Church my time is flexible to attend and appear at School Board events. As a matter of fact, n my previous [two] terms, I approximately missing only [two-three] meetings. I attempted to be dedicated to the position, even it meant flying back in town for the 5:30 p.m. Be Our Guest meals. I am serious in my commitments and this term on the Durham Public School Board would be no different. I am very passionate about those things that I believe in and advocate for, however, I attempt to remain respectful to those around me and am able to 'agree to disagree.'"
- Christine Folch, 610 W. Morgan St. Durham, 27701: "Durham is positioned to be a global city (in many ways, it already is) and this means serving an increasingly globalized community of young people who bring complex stories and invigorating backgrounds to the classroom. Although public education faces unique strains today—from global competition, constrained budgeting resources, and student[s] from diverse backgrounds—our classrooms and our education are the shining light of our community. They deserve committed advocates who will listen and will walk alongside them."
- Dr. Regina George-Bowden, 232 Monticello Ave., Durham, 27707: "I am highly desirous t be considered as a candidate for this position with your prestigious board. I have served as a member of the Durham Public School[s] Board for eight years. It is my hope that you will find my qualifications an excellent match to perform the duties required of this position ... Over the last thirty years, I have developed an excellent environment for addressing society's educational issues through partnerships with the community, high school and universities."
- Ann Hartman, 2100 Sprunt Ave., Durham, 27705: "I believe one of my most fundamental roles as Chair [for the ABSN program at Duke University School of Nursing] is to build consensus among our faculty. We are a diverse group of individuals that bring variety of opinions to the table. I ensure that everyone feels heard and work to develop a sense of consensus in order for us to make progress toward meeting our goals. ... I feel my leadership style would help the facilities the Board's important work. I also acknowledge as a Board member, I would be representing the members of District 2."
- Jenna Hyland, 1814 Hillcrest Drive, Durham, 27705: "I was able to see a way out of the cycle of poverty through an education—which I didn't have to earn or pay for. The public school system is the most fundamental institution a community has to offer. I am not only honored to be part of it, but I feel a deep responsibility to ensure its success. One way I will attempt to repay my debt is by serving on my community's Schoo Board. I bring not only dedication to the vision of 'this difficult but glorious work,' but also a suite of professional skills in nonprofit leadership."
- DeWarren Langley, 1030 Moreland Ave.,Durham, 27707: "I strongly believe in stakeholder engagement to ensure policy, programs and initiatives are responsive to the needs of the demographic served; active listening, open to the ideas of others, compromise when necessary and serve with integrity, honesty and vigor. My support for participatory governance is reflected in my advocacy for the creation of the Durham Youth Commission, involving residents of the Southside community in the Southside Revitalization Project and engaging students in the decision of the Board of Education through the Student Advisory Council."
- Elizabeth Lindquist, 901 Clarendon St., Durham, 27705: "Public education, like most things in the public realm, brings together people with different points of view and sometimes there are disagreements, at times passionate ones. It is important to address these disagreement in a fair, honest, and judicial way. This is how I endeavored to deal with disagreements in my professional life; how I deal with them as PTA president; and how I would foresee handing these inevitable disagreement as a member of the school board. Without honest disagreement, there can be no progress."
- Cecilia Polanco, 312 N. Buchanan Blvd. Durham, 27701: "Public school was my first opportunity to be a leaders, to have great mentors, and to be around a diverse student body, both in background and lived experiences. I was able to pave a way, become a source of pride for my community which claimed me, and a role model for other students. It's important for youth and students to see people who look like them, who come from where they come from, who have been through what they are going through, to believe that they can, too. Serving on the board would be another step towards opening doors to our students to be successful. Educational success and opportunity are huge parts of my identity and have formed my passions and values. I live in Durham, grew up in Durham, and I want to be part of fostering a school system that serves all of its' students well."
- Nadia Porter, 104 E. Piedmont Ave., Durham. 27707: "I want to serve on the school Board to provide a fresh perspective on what education in Durham can become. I was education in both public and private school systems, and I'd like to see the Durham Public School System become a place where parents enroll their children by choice and not by chance. I see the vacancies in teacher positions, (including in my daughter's current classroom) an issue that deserves continued attention. I want for the new wave of young teachers to feel supported, and well-prepared to teach. I have ideas and special training on how we can steer students away from a disciplinary web, ways to encourage students as well as educators to develop trust-filled/working relationships with one another."
- Bettina Umstead, 100 Stratford Lakes Dr., Durham, 27713: "I truly believe that public education is a key component in helping eradicate inequality in this country. My belief stems from personal experience watching my parents, first generation college students from eastern North Carolina, pursue post-secondary education as a means to improve their outcomes. My belief stems from the overwhelming research that says educational status is a major predictor of health outcomes and economic trends. My belief stems from watching my Student U students cross the College Signing Day stage writing their own narratives counter to the ones written by society about their lives. I know the power education has to change outcomes. I want to see this power realized for all students in Durham."
The board of education has to appoint someone by October 24, but the board has said it would like to have someone selected by October 5. If a consensus is not reached, the duty of appointing the individuals is given over to the county commissioners, which will then have sixty days to name a replacement.