N. Baltimore candidates speak out PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By JENISE FOUTS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 29 October 2009 10:21
NORTH BALTIMORE - Local residents will have six candidates from which to choose for three open seats on the North Baltimore Board of Education.
Timothy J. Archer Jr. has been a resident of the village all his life and is making a second effort to win a seat on the board. He has two children in the district and is a member of the committee to help design the new school.
"I think the biggest thing, I want to help in any way to set educational goals so our children get a great education, and keep the community involved and aware of what's happening in our school system," Archer said. He stated residents don't see some of the current school board members "out in the community to talk to. I'm trying to be out there so the community can ask questions and either I answer them or get the answer for them."
"I'm open minded, a good listener, willing to stand up for the best interests of our children and school district," Archer said.
Russell Bretz previously served a term on the North Baltimore School Board. He has 47 years of service in public education, including roles as a teacher, building administrator, adjunct professor at two universities and school board member.
"I feel with my experience, training and my interest in public school matters, that I can definitely make a difference," he stated. "The more important thing is that we are in the midst of a building program which requires all board members to be actively involved. I want to ensure our children are afforded the opportunity for the best education possible."
Teresa "Tracy" Cotterman, a fourth generation and lifelong resident of North Baltimore, wants to trade her hat as co-chair of Citizens for Quality Schools for that of a school board member. Her three younger children are in the district, as well as a grandson, and she has been active in numerous roles in the schools, including serving on the design committee for the new school.
"I just feel it's real important to show commitment for my kids," she said. "The school district has struggled with their image. My image as a parent, I'm tough, but I like to think I'm fair. I want to bring responsibility and respect back to the district," which she said has been lost in the last few months.
Cotterman also wants to bring the focus back to the students, prepare for an influx of new ones with the transportation changes coming to the area and make good fiscal decisions to prepare for education in the coming years. "I just really want to do more," including taking North Baltimore in a different direction. "I don't feel we're prepared for the future. We have the potential for so much more. I think this town has so much potential."
Incumbent Susan Ebright is a lifelong resident of the village and is completing her eighth year on the school board. She is running for a third term "basically because of the passage of the new building. I want to see it through to completion. I want to finish the project. I have experience on what's been happening the last few years. That is something to consider," especially with the district's pending retirement of Superintendent Kyle Clark. "It's going to be an interesting new year, a challenging new year."
Candidate Rochelle "Shelley" Hillard has been a resident in the town since 1994, has children in the district and coached track locally for 10 years.
She said there are a lot of reasons she's running for the school board, including "to be the voice of the students and parents in North Baltimore, and bring back the pride in the school that's always been in the community, and meeting the challenges of the community, and communicate openly in a partnership with parents and administrators."
Hillard said the community currently has a negative view of the school board and wants to change that to a positive one. "The community is disappointed in the board, not hearing what the kids and community want. I'm not afraid to face those challenges and bring the voice the town needs. A lot of parents are afraid to voice something. Every child should be treated the same in our schools. It's about our students. I feel I have a better perspective what the kids' needs are. Adults don't have to be negative toward the kids. They're not being heard or taken care of."
Incumbent Jake Trevino has been a resident for 23 years and is completing his fourth year, or first term, on the school board. "We've got a lot of work to do," he said, citing finishing the project of the new school and finding a replacement for Clark. "It's a big job to replace him. Now we have to hire a new superintendent and athletic director."
Trevino said being on the school board "takes a lot of work, a lot of seminars, a lot of workshops to go to. You don't just run for the school board. There are a lot of state policies" to follow. Trevino said he came to the board with items he didn't agree with and found "there's a lot of work to it," including using vacation days and personal leave time to get it all done. "It's a lot of work, (but) I enjoy it."

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