Here are the three questions we put to Cobb County Post 2 school board candidates in the Nov. 2 general election;
1. What skills and abilities do you bring to the school board?
2. Should Cobb conduct a national search for a superintendent or go with home grown talent?
3. Schools in parts of Cobb continue to have high test scores while schools in the south and western part of the district are struggling. What are some ways the district can address disparities brought on by race and socio-economics?
Holli Cash is the Democratic incumbent in District 2. Bachelor’s degree in business/marketing from University of Texas. School and community volunteer who has served four years on the board. She has four children in the system:
1. I have 20 years of volunteer experience serving on various school committees and holding several PTA leadership positions. Working with PTA has taught me the issues facing public education from an important non-partisan prospective. This has given me the experience to understand the needs of the students, families, and teachers. Volunteering in the schools and community with people from different backgrounds to achieve a positive outcome for students and the schools is very much like working with School Board Members. Even though we all bring different experiences to our role on the School Board it is important to be able to work together for a common goal. My extensive volunteer background has helped me develop the necessary skills to work with the other School Board Members.
I graduated from the University of Texas School of Business. Professionally, I worked as a financial analyst for Conoco Oil and as a sales specialist for Campbell’s Soup. These positions taught me how to understand budgets, regulations, data, and how to use and communicate the information accurately. I’ve also served as a Parent Educator with the Babies Can’t Wait program for the state of Georgia and helped educate, organize, and identify the needs of families and communities. I understand state and federal rules, regulation, and funding streams.
I am married to Eric Cash who grew up in Smyrna and attended Smyrna area public schools just like our four children. I think it is important to be active in the schools and community. I understand the history of the schools in our community which will help me identify the needs and issues as the School Board Representative for Post 2.
2. The Board should use all the resources available to find the best candidates possible to fill the Superintendent position. All qualified candidates should be considered if they come from a national search or within the Cobb School System. The size of our school district is larger than most. The superintendent needs to have the background and abilities to work with over 106,000 students and a District that is the largest employer in Cobb County. They also need to have a proven record of improving student achievement. It is important to make sure any new Superintendent has the experience, understanding, and skills to work with a diverse student population like we have in Cobb.
3. As a Board Member it is important to make sure the Strategic Plan, which places student achievement as the #1 priority, gets the appropriate resources and programs to the students and schools across the district. The Board needs to make sure that policy is set to help drive every student to achieve to their highest potential no matter what school they attend in the Cobb district. My children attend Nickajack ES, Griffin MS, and Campbell HS, and the quality of their teachers have been some of the highest qualified. With a focus on outcomes, principals cannot afford to hire teachers who are not qualified. This is especially true in the South Cobb area which has a very diverse student population with a wide variety of learning needs. The schools in these areas need to continue partnering with and reaching out to businesses, the community, and faith-based groups to help. The Board can support success in these areas through policy, targeted resources, and a strategic plan focused on student achievement.
Timothy “Tim” Stultz is a Republican in District 2. Stultz is a project manager and IT consultant who is active in the Cobb and Georgia Republican party. Stultz wants the board to be more open and transparent, an issue several board critics have raised.
1. I bring years of experience as a project manager that have prepared me to look at the larger picture of an organization and plan for all variables. It has also taught me how to work with diverse groups and bring people together to build a consensus. I also bring the willingness and the desire to provide public service that is accountable to the citizens of Post 2.
2. Cobb should conduct a national search.
3. The first area we need to look at is how to increase parental involvement. Schools that have a higher percentage of parents involved with the education of their children produce better results. The second area we need to look at is how to get more volunteers from the community active in tutoring and mentoring students. The success of our schools benefits the community as a whole.