Two battle for school board seat

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Staff Writer

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Two candidates have stepped up to run for the District 2 seat Wendy Wilson is vacating on the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education.

Dean Edwards is a lieutenant with the State Highway Patrol and has 26 years experience in law enforcement. He said he wants to run for office because he wants to bring a fresh perspective to the school board.

“My direct interaction with the teachers, parents and the students at Bailey Elementary, Coopers Elementary, Southern Nash Middle and Southern Nash High School is what has caused me to run for this open seat in District 2,” Edwards said. “I want to continue adding a parent’s perspective to help our schools out of its low-performing status that has been given to the Nash-Rocky Mount school system over the past three years. And, as the Bailey Elementary PTO president, I see many administrative concerns that can be improved.”

Monica Hathaway has 30 years experience as a small business accountant and said she feels that her experience will be an asset to the board in these tight budgetary times.

“I am running for Nash County school board because I believe that public education is intimately tied to the vitality of our community. Investing in our children now means a vibrant future for Nash County. I feel every child should have the education they deserve, and the Nash County school board must have a vision and create structures to support that vision. I also feel the Nash County education board should be accountable to the public. I will advocate for our students at every opportunity I am given,” Hathaway said.

Born and raised in Rocky Mount, Dean graduated from Rocky Mount Senior High and Nash Community College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Mount Olive University and a master’s degree in leadership from Bellevue University. He resides in the Bailey area with his wife of 19 years and his two young sons who attend Bailey Elementary.

Monica Hathaway graduated from West Edgecombe High School before attending Nash Community College to study small business accounting. She has been a resident of Nash County for over 30 years.

“I have two children, Carie and Jonathan, eight grandchildren, including five who have graduated from Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, and two who are currently in Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools,” she said. “My finance, Jeff Bone, also supports me in all things in my life.”

Edwards said he has a passion for education as well as working in law enforcement. He has been employed part-time as an adjunct professor with Purdue Global University for over nine years teaching criminal justice at the undergraduate level. He recently was awarded the university’s Most Outstanding Professor Award for his ability to connect with his students and motivate them through their undergraduate experience.

Hathaway said she has volunteered in the Army N.C. National Guard Family Readiness program, tutored students and has interned with the Nash County District Attorney’s office. She has also volunteered at polling places and raised money for various charities.

Both Dean and Hathaway said they are concerned about the challenges facing the school district.

Edwards notes the need for continuous improvement in the relationship between schools and the community and the safety concerns facing schools today.

“Our school system needs to promote and organize more positive community involvement to assist with concerns such as child homelessness and absenteeism.” Edwards said. “And while we have some really good protocols in the Nash-Rocky Mount schools, I know that there are more proactive measures using information technology we can take to protect our staff and students.”

Hathaway said she is especially concerned with school safety, bullying and improving the educational quality of the schools. She said she has been paying special attention to issues currently facing the school board. 

“One of the challenges I see facing our school district is the budget cuts resulting in loss of social workers and counselors,” Hathaway said. “If elected, I would like to accomplish with the board’s help a budget that would provide our schools with social workers and counselors that are needed for our students.”

Early voting has already begun and Election Day is Nov. 6.