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HomeUncategorizedPrimary 2018: District 1 Hernando County School Board Candidates

Primary 2018: District 1 Hernando County School Board Candidates

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Catherine “Kay” Hatch

Kay Hatch

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Candidate Bio (provided by candidate):

Catherine (Kay) Hatch is school board candidate, District 1.  She graduated from St. Vincent School of Nursing, Toledo, Ohio (1970).  She has a Bachelor of Science, Nursing from Mary Manse College, Toledo, Ohio (1975) and a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio (2002).  She is 25 years a teacher of adults and children and has for 20 years been a volunteer reading tutor for children kindergarten through 2nd grade.  Her most recent experience is in kindergarten at Spring Hill Elementary School and 3rd grade Reading Camp at Deltona Elementary School.  In addition, she is a volunteer reader at a local VPK. 

She is a retired Methodist minister, having served 20 years as a pastor.

She and her husband, Dale, have owned property in Hernando County since 2012.  They have 5 children and 10 grandchildren.  They are members of St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

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Kay has attended School Board meetings for the past 2 years.  She has received the endorsement of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.  This is her first time running for public office.  However, she has the qualifications and life experience to be a valuable member of Hernando County School Board.  
 

Q & A with Catherine “Kay” Hatch:

1. What attributes are most important for school district leadership and explain your reasoning. (Example: team player, data driven, experience in the district etc)

I believe the most important attribute for school district leadership is authenticity.  Being authentic helps one build trust with other members of the board and the district leadership team, with teachers and other members of the staff, with parents and those in the community.  Being seen as trustworthy is a critical attribute when difficult decisions need to be made and communicated to those involved.  
School district leadership needs to set high expectations, be optimistic that expectations can be met, and listen to and collaborate with those charged with meeting the expectations. 
School district leadership must focus on the needs of all our students and use data judiciously to meet those needs. 
Additionally, I believe being present in the community and participating in on-going professional development are necessary for effective leadership.   

2. Please describe the three top issues facing the school district.

The top three (3) issues facing the district are:

-in this time of transition, restoring  trust and credibility with instructional staff, families and members of the community, including naming the most qualified person for    
superintendent

-ensuring the safety of students and staff 

-increasing graduation rate, including adding to our current vocational education offerings. 

3. Do you feel that next year’s budget should be increased, decreased and by how much. If you are in favor of increasing the budget, how do you recommend paying for it? If you are in favor of decreasing the budget, how do you pay for obligated salary increases, cost of living increases and other inflationary costs?

In terms of budget concerns, I would begin by working with the staff and other members of the board to carefully evaluate all of the district’s financial commitments.  That evaluation may lead to modifications in the budget, either increases or decreases.  The school district budget will continue to be impacted by state mandate.

I am willing to work to strengthen the relationship between the School District and the Board of County Commissioners.  While roles and responsibilities are different, both groups are committed to the well-being of Hernando County, including the school system.  Finally, where necessary, I would look for ways to acquire Foundation and Grant funding for specific programs. 

Please describe up to three projects that are most important to the school district and why?

The most important project is ensuring that our students and staff are safe.  This project is in process.  This work is being done with the School District staff, Sheriff’s department and the Board of County Commissioners.  It will be ongoing.
  
A second very important project is restoring trust throughout the district.  I have discussed this in my initial response regarding leadership qualities.  A solid foundation of trust and respect is necessary to develop and implement plans to ensure that all third-graders are reading at or above grade level, all graduates are college or career ready, and high school graduation rates continue to improve.

Mark Johnson (Incumbent)

Mark Johnson

Candidate Bio (provided by candidate):
 

I am married and have lived in Hernando County for 12 years.  I was elected to the Board of Education 4 years ago and am the current Chairman.  I am a member of the Chamber of Commerce, CETA, Kiwanis International, prior member of the Boards of Directors of the Hernando County Boys and Girls Club, Communities in Schools, and the Anti-Drug Coalition. 

During my tenure the District advanced in academic standing, going from a “C-“ to a “B+” District and from a $12 million deficit to a balanced budget without major cuts in services.  As Florida Legislative Liaison I successfully advocated for permanent Sparsity Funding resulting in $2 million for our District.

I successfully advocated for increased vocational training and career opportunities for our students.  I spearheaded School District partnerships with the business community leading to internships and employment opportunities for our students, and spearheaded partnerships with the County and Sheriff, resulting in School Resources Officers (SROs) at every school in the District.

I personally initiated parent workshops on availability and requirements for scholarships for graduating students.  I introduced the Urban Gentleman’s Club into elementary schools, directly leading to reduced behavioral incidents, and reduced absenteeism.  I am a founding member of the Educators’ Club of Timber Pines, providing tutoring, mentoring and much more, at our schools.  I assisted in developing the Veterans’ Living History Program for civic education for students and a means to provide a permanent recorded history for WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam veterans.

Q & A with Mark Johnson:
   

What attributes are most important for school district leadership and explain your reasoning.

 In order to function cohesively, effectively and within constraints, School District leadership must have the ability to analyze, determine areas needing  improvement, put together the best team to address needs, not be afraid to make tough decisions, be responsive to the community, have the ability to work effectively with all facets of the County, State, including government, Sheriff, business leaders, and parents. They must possess a thorough understanding of budgeting, reserves and expenditures, and the ability to effectively communicate. In addition School District leadership must be ethical, and have the ability to motivate staff. I have developed these contacts and skills.

Please describe the three top issues facing the school district.

Servicing our Exceptional Student Education (ESE) population, our most vulnerable students, within the formidable financial constraints is a top issue. The state  has mandated Performance based Budgeting. The District needs to reevaluate how we are serving this population. We can do a better job of providing services to them.

The District can and should provide more and better opportunities to the approximately 40% of graduating students not pursuing higher education. The District must increase vocational options and alternatives, to provide needed skills and employment opportunities for these students.

I have spearheaded School District partnerships with the business community, leading to internships and employment opportunities for eleventh and twelfth grade students. I have helped establish the School District partnership with Oak Hill Hospital for our Allied Health students and with Spherion Staffing for employment internships in local manufacturing.

Another top issue for the District is the rising cost and unfunded mandates for security and safety for our students and all our employees. This issue will require the District to work with and partner with our County Commission, Sheriff and our parents.

Do you feel that next year’s budget should be increased, decreased and by how much. If you are in favor of increasing the budget, how do you recommend paying for it? If you are in favor of decreasing the budget, how do you pay for obligated salary increases, cost of living increases and other inflationary costs?

Funds for our School District comes from three sources: Property Tax, Sales Tax and Federal Entitlements. Often programs, departments and District needs and wants are in conflict for scarce or non-existent funds. This is where the School Board Members have to achieve compromise from among the funding requests and contractual obligations. Every request must be evaluated, every contractual obligations accounted for, and decisions based upon the best interests of the students, parents, and School District. All this must be determined utilizing Performance Based Budgeting. Increasing the budget gives more opportunities for students and is a priority. The need to think outside the box and develop self-sustaining  programs is an avenue that needs exploring as well as securing endowments to allow expansion of programs.

Please describe up to three projects that are most important to the school district and why?

In describing projects that are important there is a project that is state mandated and unfunded, “hardening of our schools,” Safety and Security. This project has many dimensions, not the least of which is how does the School District pay for the hardening. This project will take concentrated efforts to work with our County Commissioners and our Sheriff.

Addressing the teacher shortage in our School District is of major concern. Unable to attract qualified permanent teachers the School District relies on substitute teachers to fill the void. One approach being utilized, while not an exclusive answer to this problem, is a “grow your own” project that allows students to take student teaching classes for college credit, and to teach in a class of Pre-K students to get a feel of education as a classroom teacher, and gaining real time experience while encouraging them to continue their education in teaching. The grow your own  students who return to our District after completing their education will start at a third year salary, thus encouraging them to return to Hernando County.

With approximately 40% of graduating students not furthering their education it is extremely important to focus more on vocational instruction, to teach saleable skills. During the past four years, that I have been on the School Board I have introduced 3-D Printing or additive manufacturing,  spearheaded School District partnerships with the business community leading to internships and employment opportunities, and introduced such vocational programs as welding. Much more need to be done and is on the drawing board for this critical area.

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