COALITION FOR A BETTER MEMPHIS Memphis City School Board Candidate Questionnaire Election Date: November 2, 2010

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1 COALITION FOR A BETTER MEMPHIS Memphis City School Board Candidate Questionnaire Election Date: November 2, 2010 Name: Dr. Sharon A. Webb District for which you are running: I am running for District # 6 Section 1: Qualifications and Background (2 questions) Section 2: Vision and Strategies (5 questions) Section 3: Improving the Education System (4 questions) 1. QUALIFICATIONS AND BACKGROUND A. Describe your qualifications for holding the office of Memphis City School District board member. (Please answer in the space below and attach a resume.) Education: BA Organizational Management, Crichton College; Doctorate in Christian Education; Doctorate in Theology; Masters in Christian Psychology; BA in Christian Education for Memphis Bible College; AS Science, Shelby State Community College Experience: 4 yrs on School Board, 2007-present, 2yrs extensive training in Reformed School Board Management, , 5 yrs, Teaching, Christ the Rock Christian Academy and Memphis Bible College; 5 years, Principal of Christ the Rock Christian Academy, : Tennessee School Board Association Work Shops: Board Policy; Advocacy; Board/Superintendent Relations; School law; The Board s Role in School Improvement; The Board Role in Finance; Vision; Planning a Joint Venture: National School Board Association Annual Convention, 4 years; Tennessee School Board Association Annual Convention, 4 years My education, my experience as the former Principal and teacher of Christ the Rock Christian Academy, 4 years as a school board member and two years of extensive training in Reformed School Board Management qualifies me for being re-elected for this position. This work in Educational Reform has to continue in order to effectively prepare our children for success in today s ever changing global market. We, the current Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners and the current administration are leading the United States in Educational Reform. I have 4 children who all attended Memphis City Schools. I have grandchildren who attend Memphis City Schools.

2 B. Please indicate whether you or any close family member has any direct or indirect financial or material interest in firms, corporations or organizations doing business with the Shelby County School District, Memphis City Schools, local City, County or State governments? No, I am not knowledgeable of any of my close family members having any direct or indirect financial or material interest in firms, corporations or organizations doing business with the Shelby County District, Memphis City Schools, local City, County or State governments. Continued on next page Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 2

3 2. VISION AND STRATEGIES A. What are the three greatest issues (challenges or opportunities) facing the Memphis City School District in the next four years. What policy changes would you recommend to address these issues? Memphis continues to exist as a community impacted by concentrated levels of poverty, low college attainment rates and economic segregation. However, the recent opportunities provided by the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and the Stat of Tennessee s Race to the Top initiative (funded by the U.S. Department of Education) have place Memphis City Schools in a unique position to make tremendous progress in the face of these challenges. To address these issues, I would recommend continued implementation of our existing policies regarding the MCS Theory of Action of Aligned Management that the Board of Commissioners approved in July B. What policies would you support to address the issues of school safety, positive conflict resolution and violence prevention? The issues of school safety, conflict resolution, and violence prevention are being addressed with the district s ongoing work in the following areas: 1) A working collaborative with the Memphis Police Department with improved communications and sharing of information: 2) Kingian Non0Violence training for over 60,000 students and staff to use effective strategies in conflict resolutions; 3) Gang Reduction Assistance for Saving Society s Youth (GRASSY) initiative designed to help redirect current and former gang members into more productive roles in their school and community; and 4) MCS Student Envoy program designed to empower students to become positive role models and leaders in their schools and communities throughout the city. Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 3

4 C. What opportunities do you support to improve/increase collaboration between the Memphis City School District and the Shelby County School District? MCS and Shelby County Schools have collaborated on building new schools (e.g., Southwind High School) in areas scheduled to be annexed, our superintendents currently serve on a variety of committees (e.g., People First) across the Greater Memphis Area. Our respective bodies have always been able to discuss matters of mutual interest and reach agreements in the best interest of students throughout the city and county. I support the continuation of such a relationship. D. Do you support single-source funding for the Memphis and Shelby County School Districts? I am not really for or against single-source funding. I support full funding of Memphis City Schools system from any source, especially from Maintenance of Effort point of view. E. An educated workforce and successful entrepreneurs are key considerations when companies evaluate a city for a new location. What should Memphis City schools be doing to better prepare graduates for the workforce, as entrepreneurs, and/or college? MCS needs to continue the work of preparing students for success beyond high school, including the enrollment in and graduation from postsecondary institutions. To do this, our district must ensure that every student graduates from MCS college or career ready. Our revised curriculum standards and the ongoing work of the Teacher Effectiveness initiative are designed to provide students with the best educational opportunities possible to reach this goal. The current Board and Superintendent have for the past two years been focusing on six major areas to better prepare our graduates for the workforce, entrepreneurship and/or college: 1) a pre-k to third-grade learning continuum that gets students off to a strong start in their school careers; 2) a focus on fourth grade, where so many of our students, especially Black boys, disengage from school; 3) increased attention on Algebra in the fifth grade as the stat rolls rigorous math standards down into elementary grades; 4) middle-school Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 4

5 initiatives that engage student in positive social networks at the time they are experiencing the developmental need for belonging; the EXPLORE test for Grade 8 have not inc 5) implementing high school redesign plans in 14 weak or striving high schools that are being organized into career-themed academies; and 6) the creation of a university Corridor in feeder patterns in the heart of the city to connect students along a pre-k through 16 continuum of excellence in education. We have a new strong partnership with the University of Memphis, Christian Brothers University, LeMoyne Owen, Southwest Community College and the Salvation Army s Kroc Center. We have a Cradle to Career reform agenda that has a clear strategy with increased emphasis on the importance of the Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS), EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT, which are tools to measure college readiness. We also, have changed the low expectations and minimal performance thresholds of prior years to new college and career ready performance thresholds. WE EXPECT MORE. WE ACHIEVE MORE! Continued on next page Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 5

6 3. IMPROVING THE EDUCATION SYSTEM A. What is the single greatest challenge facing schools in the particular district you are running for? What specific policy would you propose to resolve it? There is really not a single greatest challenge facing schools in district #6 seeing that all the challenges are great and intertwined. We have a high crime poverty stricken area with declining population in the neighborhoods and schools. We have policies in place for our Cradle to Career K-16 Educational Continuum, these policies provide for the success of our children in any environment. B. The CEO of The Board of Education, the school district superintendent, plays a crucial role in educating children. What in your opinion is the best way to evaluate a superintendent s performance? As part of our work in the Reformed Governance in Action (RGA) (a two year institute for school boards and superintendents to become more effective leaders for school districts), we have developed perhaps the most comprehensive superintendent s evaluation process in the country. We have adopted new policies that drive this work and hold the superintendent accountable for meeting specific objectives pre-approved by the Board. The evaluation is also supported by quarterly reviews of superintendent s performance throughout the year with a newly developed Data Dashboard that highlights the district s progress toward the performance objectives. Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 6

7 C. Tennessee is near the bottom in education funding and all revenue sources (city, county, state) have been flat and are expected to be flat for the next several years. Would you work to increase investment in Memphis City School? If yes, how? Yes, I would continue to impress upon this community that the costs for providing quality educational services for the students of Memphis have continued to increase over the past several years. If our funding streams continue to remain flat, then we will continue to face a structural deficit in our budget, and our administration will be faced with cutting programs, services, and personnel in a time in which we can least afford to do so. I am currently working on a conversation with staff to inform the public of the amount of money from taxpayers that is actually allocated for Memphis City Schools. Example: The Wheel Tax, we currently receive no money from the wheel tax that was started to help fund education. D. What do you see as the accountability responsibility of a School Board Commission; to educators, parents, students and the public? I see the School Board Commissioner is accountable to the educators, parents students and public and have the responsibility of keeping them informed. We have instated Demand parent summits where the educators, parents, students and the public have the opportunity to come and ask questions four times a year in a informal setting at different schools throughout the district. Also, I am available to come to schools, events, meeting etc. My contact information is available. I am in office for the service of the people - end Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 7

8 Candidate Qualification / Position Statement For Coalition for a Better Memphis Website Name: Dr. Sharon A. Webb Website: Candidate for: Memphis City School Board District # 6 Why do you believe you are qualified for this position? Experience: 4 yrs on School Board, 2007-present, 2yrs extensive training in Reformed School Board Management, , 5 yrs, Teaching, Christ the Rock Christian Academy and Memphis Bible College, 5 years, ; Principal of Christ the Rock Christian Academy: Tennessee School Board Association Work Shops: Board Policy; Advocacy; Board/Superintendent Relations; School law; The Board s Role in School Improvement; The Board Role in Finance; Vision; Planning; A Joint Venture: National School Board Association Annual Convention, 4 years Tennessee School Board Association Annual Convention, 4 year. My education, 4 years as a school board member and two years of extensive training in Reformed School Board Management qualifies me for being re-elected for this position. Education has to be reformed in order to effectively prepare our children for success in today s ever changing global market. We, the current Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners and the current administration are leading the United States in Educational Reform. Name three specific things you would like to accomplish if elected: 1) I would like to finish this work in Educational Reformed that we started 2 years ago. This entails 16 Initiatives. all from.cradle to Career Continuum in the place of Cradle to Prison 2) Prepare students for College and Career readiness 3) Change the negative image of MCS. We have so many wonderful things in place to celebrate. Have you ever been delinquent on your property taxes? Yes No _ X Have you declared bankruptcy? Yes X No Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 8

9 Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Yes No X If you answered yes on any of the above items, please list the year and provide details. I started working for the USPS at age 21 without any previous experience in financial management. Thing got out of hand and I filed Bankruptcy about 20 years ago. Also, about 15 years ago I bought a car with the expectations of changing it out in 3 years while at the same time establishing good credit. When the time was over I owed more on the car than when I first got it. I went to court to give it back and the judge recommended that I file bankruptcy to stop the interest from accruing. So I did. later I cancelled it and paid the debt off. List other elected positions you have run for and the outcome of the election: Memphis Charter Commission - Won Memphis Mayor - Lost Current Employment Company: Lif Changing Word Ministry World Center Length of Employment: 8 years Brief Job Description: Senior Pastor and founder of this church Education Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 9

10 Please list all college/advanced degrees attained. College/University Degree Graduation Year Education: BA Organizational Management, Crichton College; 2000 Doctorate in Christian Education; Doctorate in Theology; Masters in Christian Psychology; BA in Christian Education for Memphis Bible College; AS Science, Shelby State Community College Additional information relating to your educational background (optional): How long have you lived in Memphis? I have been in Memphis 38 years Where did you grow up? Chicago & Memphis Marital status/children: Married (36yrs) 4 Children Please identify up to five organizations that are actively supporting your candidacy and provide a contact (with phone number) for each. 1.I have interviews scheduled and some pending results Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 10

11 Please list your association memberships and identify any leadership positions you have held in the past. 1. Board of Director for Ministers for a Better Community 2. Board of Director for Healthy Start Consortium 3. Board Member/ Interim Director of All Believers Learning Academy 4. Board Member City Changers Youth Initiative 5. Mayor Wharton s Community Cabinet 6. Operation Safe Community 7. Whitehaven/Levi Community Development Corp. 8. McCorkle Road Neighborhood Association 9. Former Principal of Christ the Rock Christian Academy 10. Coordinator for Adopt-A-School Program- USPS Please list up to 10 current or past civic/community memberships. 1. SCLC 2. NAACP 3. CWIM 4. NWIM 5. Crescent Club 6. Memphis Youth Initiative Other Contact Information: Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 11

12 Campaign Chair: Jacqueline Hopson Treasurer: Mary Miller Any other information you would like to share with the voters: I love the children and whatever I can do to make a difference for them I am willing to do it. I ask for your vote and your support in the upcoming election. If you have any questions you can contact me at or Coalition for a Better Memphis Page 12

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