Originally created 11/05/06

Richmond County School Board race



Question: Describe your idea of the next superintendent.

Lauretta D. Gordon - Dist. 3

She envisions someone who is well-educated and believes in education. The person should have good people skills and be able to interact with children, parents, teachers and administrators. The next superintendent also should possess strong leadership skills and a knowledge of the law. She is open to hiring from within, but wants to avoid the "buddy system."

Alex Howard - Dist. 3

The next superintendent should be someone with experience "turning things around." The superintendent should have a financial background and an understanding of the law and be active in the community. Mr. Howard is leaning toward hiring from outside the school system but is open to anyone with a fresh perspective and no loyalties.

Robert Ingham - Dist. 6

Superintendent Charles Larke has been an "excellent" leader, and the next superintendent needs to pick up where he is leaving off. That person must continue the building program, which constructed new schools this year, and continue efforts with meeting the benchmark standards of No Child Left Behind.

Jack Padgett Jr. - Dist. 6

The superintendent should be a leader with an academic background, a public persona, communications skills and the ability to inspire a staff of employees. The person should do more than just look good on paper.

Venus Cain - Dist. 9

Ms. Cain wants the best person, whether that be from within the school system or from without. That person should be an excellent policymaker and a leader with vision and a proven measurable track record. The next superintendent also should possess good public relations skills and be a motivator and a team builder.

A.K. Hasan - Dist. 9

He is looking for someone with university experience or a "clear willingness to adapt to such a philosophy." That will enable the superintendent to more easily expand the magnet school program in Richmond County and offer parents more choices. When pupils choose to attend a school, it is proven that they behave better and perform better.

Winsome H. Wellington - Dist. 9

Mrs. Wellington wants someone with a love of children, an open mind, a willingness to listen and a vision for the 21st century. The superintendent should be able to give and take with the school board.

James Williams Jr. - Dist. 9

The next superintendent must be open, one who understands management and will be able to work with a team. The superintendent must be able to work with the school board and effectively carry out the policies of the board. The ability to communicate with the community also will be important.

Question: What will you do to improve student achievement?

Lauretta D. Gordon - Dist. 3

Teachers must be happy. If their morale is high, pupils will achieve. Teachers, in turn, must be positive with their pupils. Through positive reinforcement, pupils will raise their performance. Pupils also need to be aware of the resources and programs that are available to help them.

Alex Howard - Dist. 3

Teachers need to be supported, resources need to be obtained and competition should be urged. Instilling a sense of competitiveness will bring out the best in pupils.

Robert Ingham - Dist. 6

Teachers must keep their pupils' interest and find out what motivates them. School officials must reach out to pupils early and find out why they aren't performing well to prevent them from falling through the cracks.

Jack Padgett Jr. - Dist. 6

Improving student achievement should be more than simply raising test scores. Pupils need to be taught how to apply what they learn, rather than learning for the sake of learning. In addition, staff members must have their concerns heard. Mr. Padgett said he won't be sitting in an "ivory tower."

Venus Cain - Dist. 9

There are programs, many of which are free, that aren't being utilized. Programs, including supplemental educational services, Title I programs, after-school programs and resource centers should be "busting at the seams." The school system should ensure that pupils take advantage of these avenues.

A.K. Hasan - Dist. 9

Board members aren't required to be educators. They rely on the superintendent and other administrators to provide "educational strategies for educational problems." That is why it is so important to hire a qualified superintendent, someone who can bring "creative, holistic" strategies.

Winsome H. Wellington - Dist. 9

School officials must look for the "breakdowns" in the education process and change any techniques that might not be working. Teachers also should make a connection with schoolchildren by using basketball and other things they can relate to.

James Williams Jr. - Dist. 9

Mr. Williams said he isn't running for the board with the intent of changing anything. There must be a holistic approach, however, and the whole community needs to be involved in the education of children.

Question: How will you restore confidence in the school board?

Lauretta D. Gordon - Dist. 3

The community does have confidence in the board. Observing the school board, members have made decisions and have been "justified" in their actions.

Alex Howard - Dist. 3

One of his goals is to bring the board together and move it forward. Mr. Howard feels the board wants to move in that direction. He pointed to the board's recent action to spare National Hills Elementary School. Parents spoke, and the board listened.

Robert Ingham - Dist. 6

The school board needs to determine what image it wants. The board lost time while it negotiated a contract with Superintendent Charles Larke. That lost time hurt while trying to obtain state funding for a new middle school in south Augusta.

Jack Padgett Jr. - Dist. 6

The superintendent is an "extremely powerful position," and the school system has been run as a "dictatorship." Confidence can be restored by making good decisions and involving the community. The superintendent runs the school system, but the school board also is part of the team.

Venus Cain - Dist. 9

The board must "stir enthusiasm" within the community and build cohesiveness between the community and the school system. She cited her service on the aviation commission as an example of her ability to roll up her sleeves to get the job done and work with a cross section of people.

A.K. Hasan - Dist. 9

The board began to regain the public's confidence last month by restoring a policy that outlined the chain of command for the school system. The new organizational chart puts the public at the top of the chain above the school board, and the board above the superintendent. The people had been at the top of the chain in the early 1980s, but were removed at some point.

Winsome H. Wellington - Dist. 9

The board must first listen to community members and not "blow them off." As it is, residents go to the school board with concerns, but those concerns aren't heard.

James Williams Jr. - Dist. 9

Confidence will come with accountability. School board members must be held accountable for their actions, and accountability will produce integrity. The board also should take a holistic approach to get everyone involved in the education process.

DISTRICT 3 CANDIDATE PROFILES

Lauretta D. Gordon - Dist. 3

Age: 51

Education: Business administration degree from Draughons Business College

Profession: Substitute teacher and retired Westinghouse electrical mechanic

Political experience: None

Family: Two children and five grandchildren

Alex Howard - Dist. 3

Age: 35

Education: Attended Georgia Southern University

Profession: Georgia Bank & Trust Co. financial consultant

Political experience: Elected to Richmond County Board of Education on Sept. 19

Family: Wife, Katie; three children

DISTRICT 6 CANDIDATE PROFILES

Robert Ingham - Dist. 6

Age: 60

Education: Associate degree in applied science from DeKalb Community College

Profession: Security officer for Regent Security and substitute teacher

Political experience: None

Family: Son, Bobby

Jack Padgett Jr. - Dist. 6

Age: 67

Education: Associate degrees in English and journalism from Augusta College

Profession: Retired sales and marketing senior account executive for Lever Brothers

Political experience: Richmond County Board of Education 1980-82, Richmond County Commission 1983-86

Family: Wife, Barbara; 3 sons; 10 grandchildren

DISTRICT 9 CANDIDATE PROFILES

Venus Cain - Dist. 9

Age: 50

Education: Attended college in Wilmington, Calif.

Profession: Logistics specialist at Fort Discovery

Political experience: None

Family: Husband, Al; two children; two grandchildren

A.K. Hasan - Dist. 9

Age: 51

Education: Graduate of Lucy C. Laney High School and Augusta Area Technical School

Profession: Realtor for Blanchard and Calhoun

Political experience: Richmond County Board of Education, 1982-86 and 2005-present; Augusta City Council, 1988-89

Family: Son, Aqeel Khatib; two granddaughters

Winsome H. Wellington - Dist. 9

Age: 41

Education: Bachelor's degree in business from University of Phoenix

Profession: None

Political experience: None

Family: Husband, Lincoln; five children; five grandchildren

James Williams Jr. - Dist. 9

Age: 61

Education: Graduate of Laney High School, bachelor's degree in organizational management from Voorhees College; master's degree in management from Southern Wesleyan University

Profession: Property manager at Taliafaro Inc., Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church minister

Political experience: None

Family: Two sons; a granddaughter