**The polls will be open Tuesday, May 14 from 10am until 8pm at Benjamin Banneker Elementary – 449 North Street; Milford Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center – 8609 Third Street, Lincoln; and Lulu Ross Elementary – 310 Lovers Lane, Milford.**
After the filing deadline for the Milford Board of Education on Friday, March 1, it was determined that six candidate were running for the At-large position. Candidates seeking the At-Large seat for the Milford School District Board of Education include Hunter Emory, Kevin W. Marshall Jr., Natalie R. Shockley, Alan R. Southard, Robert B. Vincelette Jr. and Michael Wells. School Board Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 14, and the winner of the election will serve a five year term. Milford LIVE sat down with candidates and asked them questions regarding our community schools, children and parents.
The Emory family has lived in Milford for nearly 200 years; Hunter is the 9th generation and “proud to be a native, born and raised.” Mr. Emory attended Milford schools and graduated from Milford High School in 2004. He played football and was a member of multiple athletic programs, school and community programs. Following graduation from Salisbury University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science Hunter obtained dual Masters Degrees in Homeland Security and Public Administration and spent two years teaching in the Milford School District as a long term substitute. Mr. Emory now owns The Emory Agency, a State Farm agency in Georgetown. He is engaged and will marry Jamie Hudson in September. Mr. Emory continues to live in Milford, as do his parents, Pat and Judy Emory and his sister Janna.
Why did you decide to run for the Milford School Board ?
My family has always believed in public service and encouraged participation in the community. I would like to give back to a community that has been my family’s home for two centuries and has given me so much. The Milford School District provided me with an educational foundation which allowed me to succeed in college and beyond and I now own a successful local insurance agency. My education and business experience provides me with a unique perspective of the difference between management and governing. School board officials are tasked with governing the public’s investment and expectations for their children’s education, providing guidance and direction to the educators and administrators they engage on the citizens behalf. When elected to the school board my mission and my promise to the parents and the children of Milford is that the students will always come first. Every aspect of the governance and administration of the district must be focused on the highest purpose government has…the preparation of our children to assume their role as citizen leaders in the community. I have never forgotten what the Milford Schools did for me and I want to insure that this worth legacy continues.
What do you think are the greatest challenges the Milford School Board faces?
A few of the challenges (in no particular order) which the Milford School Board must address are the future of the middle school building and surrounding land,school building security and student and staff safety, student achievement as new core curriculum standards are rolled out, budget constraints in the face of changes in federal and state funding and staff development and encouragement.
What would you like to see done with the Milford Middle School building that was recently closed?
The Milford Middle School building and grounds are an iconic landmark in Milford holding memories for generations of residents who passed through its doors and enjoyed playing and relaxing on the school grounds. While it is no longer financially responsible to maintain the building for educational purposes, the property should continue to be reserved for public use, even if the building is deemed unsalvageable. As this land is held as a public trust by the school district, public input, even including referendum, should be a part of any ultimate plan.
How do you feel about the implementation of three additional School Resource Officers in the District?
Adding three additional school resource officers to the Milford schools will not alone improve the safety and security of our staff and students. While they will be a positive influence within the schools, it is necessary for the board to direct its administrators to create an protective environment for the students by developing a comprehensive plan including resource officers, training, security, surveillance, training and planning’s to make certain our children can learn and thrive in a secure yet enriching environment.
What are your thoughts surrounding DCAS testing ?
When commenting on DCAS and other standardized tests it is important to keep in mind that they are indeed “standardized” – that is, an attempt to create a one-size-fits-all measurement to measure an educational process which ultimately has as many individual outcomes as there are students. State and federal funds are often the driving force in these tests as they attempt to tie outcomes to funding. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but as testing is mandated, as a community, and as a school board, we have to work with it.
No standardized test will ever be a panacea, or a final fix. DCAS is an improvement over DSTP, and, there are already improvements/replacements in the works for DCAS. It is a constant process, not an end in and of itself. Testing, it must be remembered, is only a snapshot, and snapshots fade with age. Tying standardized testing to teacher compensation also has its own set of risks as teachers have no control over who will end up in their classrooms. The new test proposal, Smarter Balance, is a refinement which tries again to determine how much and how students learn. It’s very analytical and requires new training for students and teachers.
While testing is useful, as a school board member I will be vigilant to make certain that the measurement and testing for outcomes doesn’t impede the actual work of teaching. You can’t measure what you aren’t doing and if all we do is test, no one will ever learn.
Why should voters choose you on election day ?
I care what happens to our children and our schools. I care about our teachers and making sure they have the resources they need to educate our next generations. I care about our hardworking taxpayers and the money they invest into the schools with their tax dollars. I care about Milford. If you feel like I do, then I would appreciate your vote and your support after I am elected.