Lexington County Chronicle & The Dispatch-News | www.lexingtonchronicle.com School board candidate profiles resentation between teachers, parents, and taxpayers. D) Maintaining the privacy and safety of our children. BraD PittS I have been a resident of Lexington for 8 yeays and have owned a dental practice for 7 years. I am married with 2 children that attend Midway Elementary The Lexington County and are in the French ImChronicle & Dispatch-News mersion program. I am a mailed a short questionaire graduate of the University to the 35 candidates seeking of S.C. College election to school boards in of Pharmacy Lexington Districts 1-4 and (1993) and alRichland-Lexington School so a graduate District five. Thirty-four canof the Medical didates responded. University of S.C. College of Pitts Dental MediDistrict 1 cine (2001). I’m currently SanDra Backman practicing dentistry at an ofMy name is Sandra Kay fice by Flight Deck Shopping Backman. I moved to LexCenter. ington in 1977 and I curQualifications: Business rently live in the White Knoll owner for 7 years, fiscally area. I have two children. responsible, advocate of stuMy son Tyler dents and teachers. is a graduate I believe our most imporof White Knoll tant issue that we face with High School our school district is that we and is attend- strive to maintain our exceling the Unilence through technology versity of and to follow the model of Backman South Caroli21st century learning even na and my daughter Faith is during hard economic times a first grader at Carolina and many budgetary conSprings Elementary School. straints. I am a member of First Baptist Church of Lexington DaviD r. WhetSell where I am a member of the 3:16 puppeteers. My name is David WhetI have been an Orthodon- sell and I am running for a tic assistant for 25 years and seat on the Lexington One have been employed at The School Board. My wife DebBraces Place of Lexington for bie and I have lived in Lexthe last 13 years. ington for over 27 years. I am a working mother Our two children graduated and have volunteered in our from Lexington High School schools. I have talked with and we have two grandchilconcerned parents and dren attending Lexington teachers about problems our One Schools and three in students and teachers are Greenville. I am a founding facing. I feel that my life ex- member of Covenant Comperiences as a parent with munity Church, and served on the building committee. children in Lexington One I am retired from Richland School district and my constant interaction with people County School District One, working in maintenance. I in our district has given me am consulting a unique perspective and with several understanding of issues our companies schools are facing. I feel I on alternacan bring a common sense tive energy approach to these problems. projects and There are a number of I am a memimportant issues facing our Whetsell ber of the S.C. schools in Lexington District Biomass Council. Last year One. Our schools are facing I designed and built a new budget cuts and ever inhome, which is highly enercreasing dropout rates. gy efficient, economical and Due to today’s economy low maintenance. Since I do there will have to be cuts not work full time, I would made. We need to make have much time to devote good use of the funds that are available to us. We need to school board duties if elected. to arm our kids with the I served in the U.S. Navy proper tools to survive in and attended USC in Methis economy and support chanical Engineering, takprograms that will most ining courses in economics sure a good future for the and business. Working in students of District One. Richland One gave me years We need to address the dropout rate in our schools, of experience meeting and observing students, teachers parental evolvement is the key. We need to identify stu- and administrators. I realize changes need to be made in dents who are at risk and these hard financial times. I work with them and their have attended and spoken parents to encourage and at many school board and support their child. county council meetings, as Joey DerBy well as State House commitOccupation: Civil Engitee meetings. neer Due to budget cuts, I Qualifications: I am a would like to see more of Lexington High School grad- our limited funds shift from uate (1998), attended Kadministration to the class12th grade in Lex. District 1, rooms. I believe that the and graduated from South District needs to use their Carolina in 2003 with a funds more wisely to benefit Bachelor’s in the children and the taxpayCivil Engiers. I would welcome more neering. I participation and input from have worked the parents, teachers and for SCDOT students. the past 7 years. My pro- JameS taft Derby fessional exMr. Taft did not respond perience is in roadway/ to the Chronicle. bridge design and construction project management. I leonarD BliSS am a registered Professional My name is Leonard J. Engineer in S.C. Bliss, local business owner, Important issues facing resident and taxpayer in Disschool district: A) Improving trict one for over 27 years. I the fiscal management, am married to Mary E. Bliss transparency, and budgeting and am the father of two practices of the school disLexington One graduates. trict. B) Reviewing efficienMy company, Bliss Services, cies of programs such as free provides commercial comand reduced lunches. C) En- puter services to area busisuring a fair balance of rep- nesses. My qualifications and experiences are as follows: 1. Eagle Scout and former Scout leader at both local and district levels 2. Former chairman of the Advisory Committee for Electronic/Electrical Engineering at Midlands Technical ColBliss lege 3. Former instructor at Midlands Technical College 4. Local small business owner (commercial computer services for over 27 Years) 5. Over 10 years in law enforcement as a State Constable, Reserve Officer for the Town of Lexington Police Dept., Reserve Deputy for Richland County Sheriff’s Department. 6. Currently serving as a Warrant Officer in the South Carolina State Guard Provost Marshal Detachment. Received numerous commendations for service to the people of SC. 7. Served on the Lexington One School Board 19932002 (Board Officer 2000 -2002). Received the Highest Level, Level 6, from the SC School Board Association. 8.Currently serving on the SC SAT Team, First Responders Emergency Management Division. 9. Former Assistant Director of Engineering Services at Lexington Medical Center and started the Biomedical Dept at LMC. Received the “Most Caring Person” award from LMC (First time ever given to a non-nursing person) 10. Invented the first computer operated pole vault system. Used all over the world and in the Olympic Games. 11. Recipient of the South Carolina Engineering Technician of the year award for the State of S.C. The most important issues facing our school district are population growth, improving the class room environment and advancing our goal of providing a world class education without increasing the tax burden. The future of this country, as well as our district, will not be business as usual. We will be asked, and expected, to do more with less. Thursday, October 28, 2010 | A7 Council. Member, Schools of the Future Task Force. Member, Lexington One Facilities Study Committee. Director, Central Carolina Community Foundation. Immediate Past Chair and Executive Committee Member, Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce. Chair, Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Development Committee. Member, Doris Burkett Scholarship Committee. What are the Most Important Issues Facing Your School District? Maintaining educational excellence in light of increasing growth; maximizing education dollars to attract and retain the best teachers and fund classroom requirements; restoring fiscal trust and respect through full transparency; alleviating hardship to parents from collaborative planning days; addressing school traffic problems; and providing local Lexington businesses with equal opportunities to compete for District purchasing requirements. I am Scott R. Adams and I am General Counsel and Vice President of Prysmian Cables and Systems USA, an international manufacturing company with its North American headquarters located in Lexington County. Qualifications: As the faAdams ther of two children attending Lexington One Schools, I observe each day the quality of education being provided and have a first-hand appreciation of classroom needs. As the past Chairman of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, I have seen the impact that a trained workforce and quality schools have on economic development, property values, and overall quality of life and the role of the Trustees and community partnerships necessary for achieving these goals. As a Lexington businessman and taxpayer, I understand the importance of holding the line on taxes, cutting waste, promoting responsible spending, and demanding total transparency in the use of tax dollars. Bachelors of Arts degrees in Public Administration and Allied Legal Services from the University of Central Florida; Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School, New York, N.Y. Member, Pleasant Hill Middle School Improvement graDy harmon, Jr. • Who you are: Grady Harmon LHS (1974) graduate. Married to Theresa (29) years. Two sons that graduated from GHS and two grandchildren our granddaughter is in the third grade at Carolina Springs Elementary. • What you do: Bi-vocational Pastor, Safety Manager PBT and DeBorah knight retired US Former Kindergarten Army Combat Teacher, Current substitute Medic. and volunteer at Midway El• What your Harmon em, Current Chairman of qualifications Lexington District 1 Founda- are: I have had the privilege tion Board, Member of the to serve on the School Board Lexington Medical Foundasince 2006. I am currently a level 4 from the SC School tion Board, Bachelors De- Boards Association. I ungree-Elemen- derstand how to make hard tary Education financial decisions. I also - SC Certifica- think outside the box. I believe every child can learn. tion in Early We as educators must figure Childhood, Knight Masters Deout their capabilities and gree- Diverteach them at their level. gent Learning, Member This means we must have NAEYC (National Associasmaller classrooms and fewtion for Education of Young er students to teacher ratio. Children) PSTA Palmetto • In 50 words or less, State Teacher Association. what are the most important The most important issue issues facing your school facing Lexington District I is district: The current level of how to maintain our reputa- monies from the State and tion of excellence while Federal Governments. The dealing with lost revenue stimulus money received and providing for growth in from the federal governour community. Having ment runs out this year. been a teacher, I would What will the state governbring the perspective of toment do to offset this loss of day’s classrooms to the revenue? It is time for our board. Citizens deserve reRepresentatives and other sponsible spending based on elected officials to take a the needs of students and stand. Are they for public resources that support good education or are they just teaching practice. giving us lip service. Danny cook Scott r. aDamS utive management team sets the future vision and lines of business of our companies. Extensive church committee experiences include a senior pastor search committee, personnel, and a ministry team that is studying new ways to minister to children and families. 4.)Issues - The most important issue that is facing our district is discovering how to continue providing quality education while being fiscally responsible. We, as a district, will have to do like many of us have had to do in our own homes – we must find a way to stretch and do more with less. 1.) Biographical Sketch - I am Daniel (also known as Danny) Cook. I consider myself a Lexington native; although I was not born here, I got here as quickly as I could. I attended Lexington 1 schools from first through twelfth grades, graduating from Lexington High School in 1983. I graduated from Wake Forest University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Cook Business. My daughter, Hannah, attends Lexington High School. I am also a very active member of Lexington Baptist Church, serving as a deacon and on numerous committees and ministry teams. 2.) Profession - I am employed by P&S Construction Co., Inc., a locally owned and operated company that serves the utility industry. I began working at P&S as a summer job and, upon graduation, I was offered a fulltime position. What started as a summer job nearly twenty seven years ago became my career. 3.)Qualifications - One of my personality traits is a servant’s heart. I want to serve the community that I love. I am also fiscally conservative. As a part of executive management at P&S Construction, I am involved in finance, insurance, accounting, human resources and capital purchases. Our exec- District 2 naDine lann Nadine Lann Self-employed, Certified Nursing Assistant Elected political experience - none Currently serves on the West Columbia Planning & Zoning commission. Family: Husband - Wade Lann, Sr.; 6 Adult Children graduated and/or attended Lexington School District Two. Seven Grandchildren. I would like to see the dropout rate for students decline and would work hard to prevent any dropouts; I would like to see the volunteers aid in the budget cuts assisting classrooms and schools Lann with supplies, budgets cuts need to be kept at a minimum. I would like teachers to be staffed with qualified volunteers to ease overcrowding and work with students that are falling behind. And finally, work with PTO and Booster Clubs to better help students, teachers and staff. It’s all about the children. My personal qualities is that I have been involved in the school district in some capacity for more than 30 years, having six adult children attend and/or graduate from Lexington County Schools. I am concerned about every child and the importance of them having a high school diploma. I attend most high school events and I interact the students on a personal level everyday. I am for increasing revenue for schools but not at the expense of teachers salaries and other staff/personnel. I am concerned that school crossing guards jobs have been eliminated and hope those can be placed back in the budget as soon as possible. rick Shull President of Tri-City Fuel and Heating Co., Inc. Elected to Lexington Two Board of Trustees in 2002. Re-elected to Lexington Two Board of Trustees in 2006. Served as Chairman of Lexington Two Board of Trustees since 2008. Served as Co-Chairman of Citizens for Better Schools. Served as Co-Chairman of the 2002 District Two Facilities Task Shull Force. Served as Commissioner on the Town of Springdale Planning Commission. Served as SC State Board Chairman of Bethany Christian Adoption Services. The greatest challenge that we face is uncertainty surrounding education funding. Funding reductions previously incurred and future reductions continue to stretch financial and human resources. We must be proactive and creative in our strategies to reduce expenses at every level, coordinate services among schools and evaluate the effectiveness of programs. Phil carter Phil Carter, 53, Real Estate Sales Associate, Coldwell Banker United Realtors. Qualifications: Prior to my election in 2006 as a member of Lexington School District Two Board of Trustees I served in a leadership role in numerous organizaCarter tions. The Cayce-West Columbia Dixie Youth Baseball league, Airport High School Booster Club, School Improvement Council. Currently as a Director for the City of Cayce Public Safety Foundation and weekly as a driver for the Nehemiah Project, a program for at risk students. All have afforded me an opportunity to gain insight and perspective to the needs of our students and the community. It is important that as an elected Board Member I have the experience and leadership qualities that are necessary to be an effective Trustee. Important Issues: In today’s climate we face continuing challenges in the classroom that are further burdened by a difficult economy. Despite this our goals remain the same, equitable funding for each school, maximizing classroom resources for our teachers and students and funding advances in classroom technology. We will not allow a lack of funding to impact the quality of education for our students. Thanks to our dedicated teachers and administration we have been and will continue to be “Champions for Children”. linDa alforD-Wooten Linda Alford-Wooten, a lifelong resident of Lexington County, educated in District 2. The mother of two sons. I am a healthcare professional with over 35 years experience. Continued on Page A8.
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