South Charlotte

New school board member: Towns 'under-represented'

Monday evening, District 6 school board member Amelia Stinson-Wesley held a public meeting at Matthews Town Hall.

Parents, administrators and town and state officials from Matthews and Mint Hill came to hear what their new school board member had to say.

Stinson-Wesley, a Pineville resident, was appointed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education last month to fill the unexpired term of District 6 representative Tim Morgan, who won an at-large seat in November's election.

She updated the audience on how she's spent her first month on the board, "living, sleeping, eating and breathing school board," and then asked the audience for its help.

"I think District 6 has lots to offer in modeling good schools for the rest of the county," said Stinson-Wesley. "I want to know what you think. I'm going to rely heavily on communication. I don't want to put words in your mouth, and I don't want to assume I know what you think."

When asked about the needs of District 6 as opposed to the rest of the school district, she said she already was feeling the struggle but was committed to making sure District 6 was represented fairly.

"Probably the biggest struggle I'll have is balancing the needs of people here with the needs of the district as a whole," she said. "I do think the towns have been under-represented. I am from Pineville and that's one of the reasons I sought a seat on the board - to give some power to the smaller towns. I want to work with the towns and I want to be a voice for the towns."

When asked about her views on extensive standardized tests, she said, "I see value in some testing, but I think it reductionist to put education in only quantitative terms. I want qualitative data as well."

When asked about the extended day for elementary school students, she said she was still studying the issue and asking questions.

One of the biggest challenges for the entire school board, she says, will be the hiring of the next superintendent, though she already knows the type of candidate she would like to see in that position.

Stinson-Wesley said, "I want somebody who will come in and stay for a while. I want someone with a real education background, who knows what it is to teach and administrate. I want someone who is creative in their approach and who is happy, enthusiastic, and has lots of energy."