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Newcomer challenges school board member

Robert-Cordell
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Robert Cordell

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Monday, October 15, 2018

LaShawnda Washington faces challenger Robert Cordell in her re-election bid for the District 9 seat on the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education.

Cordell said he feels he has a vested interest in the school district because he was born and raised in Rocky Mount and is a product of the school system. Cordell also has two daughters who graduated from Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

“I am running for the District 9 seat on the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education because of my compassion for students and their success in the classroom,” Cordell said.

Washington is completing her first term on the school board. She has more than 10 years experience in various roles in education. She has served as a volunteer in elementary schools in Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools since 2006 and has served as an instructor for more than 10 years. She is currently a college and career readiness instructor at Edgecombe Community College.

Washington said she is proud of several accomplishments by the school board during her first term, including advocacy for increases in teacher pay at the state and local level, the establishment of CITI High School and the addition of an on-site health clinic at Williford Elementary School.

Washington said she also is proud of the work of the Strategic Planning Committee.

“As chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, our team decided to ensure that all district- and school-level projects are aligned with the current strategic priorities,” she said. “We tasked senior cabinet administrators with documenting in the board files during board meetings the specific strategic priority that aligns with their respective projects. This process has already begun and it assures our stakeholders that we are focused and strategic about the projects we take on in our district.”

Cordell said he is looking forward to the possibility of collaborating with others in the work of the school district.

“I would also like to work closely with the division superintendent and the other board members to seek and to implement a wide variety of initiatives and programs, which will create a learning environment where students will achieve knowledge, and to raise their test scores as much as possible,” he said.

Washington said she places a priority on continued proactive participation in academic excellence and parental involvement initiatives, the support of the development of safe and orderly schools and the support of the acquisition of additional sources of funding.

“School performance grades are not indicative of the quality of education students are receiving in our district. In fact, I think the grades negatively impact morale and should be eliminated. I believe that everyone has the potential to bring something positive to the table —therefore, I will also continue to advocate for all stakeholders throughout the district,” she said.

Washington said she believes that being a member of the school board requires active involvement in schools.

“Combined with my experience at the local, state and federal levels, I offer a broad understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our school system. I am committed to making decisions that are fact based and ethical,” she said.

Cordell said he has certain initiatives in mind that he feels would benefit the school district.

“I would like to promote more flexibility in the teacher area such as team teaching, homogeneous groupings and looping to the next grade,” he said.

Cordell said he promises to commit time and effort to serving as a school board member if he is elected.

“If elected, I plan to visit every school and its auxiliaries at least twice during my four-year tenure — not to micro-manage but lend any assistance in any area. I also plan to meet with my voters of District 9 periodically to share with them board policies and procedures and school’s functions as I legally can.”

Residents of District 9 may choose their candidate on the Nov. 6 ballot. Voters can determine their school district by going to https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/

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