CMS board hears from candidates for open seat

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board heard from nearly a dozen candidates Tuesday for the open seat on its board, with the goal of appointing a new member by the end of the week.

The position was vacated when Joyce Waddell joined the N.C. Senate, to which she was elected last fall. She had represented District 3, which reaches from uptown to the University City area.

The school board has collected applications for the past two weeks. The board isscheduled to select the new member at a special meeting Thursday.

Board members did not ask questions of the candidates, but gave each five minutes to make their presentations.

Here’s what each candidate had to say:

Angela Ambriose: As a real estate broker selling inner-city property, Ambriose said the No. 1 question she always hears is about the quality of the nearby schools. “Everyone wants their kid to have access to a quality education,” she said. Ambriose said she has built a reputation for bringing people together in her neighborhood.

Levester Flowers: A longtime advocate in the community, Flowers said he wants to work with the board to make sure qualified teachers are in every classroom and that the district creates an environment that promotes academic achievement. “I have earned the respect of community leaders and parents which will serve me well as the voice of constituent service,” he said.

Gyasi Foluke: An author and activist who has been outspoken on education issues in the past, Foluke told the board that he knows he’s a familiar face. “As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” he said. He said he would bring new ideas and “spiritual energy” to the board.

Dionte Grey: He described himself as a “newcomer” to Charlotte, having moved here three years ago, but said he spends the majority of his time volunteering in CMS schools. He was raised in Detroit public schools and now works with grassroots organizations and nonprofits. “I want to be able to bring change and I want to be able to really have an impact,” he said.

Ruby Jones: She said her 40-year career as an educator has brought her from serving as a teacher to an assistant principal to one of the first African-Americans serving in the central office. “I should and can capably give back to this community,” she said. Jones said she would focus on keeping quality teachers in CMS and boosting parent confidence in the district.

Pat Martinez: The businesswoman and advocate told the board that her last name makes it obvious that she is Latino, but said she is interested in serving all children, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged. “The mobility gap has to be narrowed through education,” she said. “Education is an equalizer.”

Morris McAdoo: A lawyer who works uptown and in the University City area said he can hear the announcements at Newell Elementary from his home every morning and will soon send his child there. He said he would work to “promote the unified goal of increasing student achievement.”

Kathryn Sinclair Prince: She said she came to Charlotte in 1998 and quickly developed roots in the diverse and “culturally rich” community. She said she is ready to face the “enormous responsibility” of the position.

Eddie Sanders: He said his experience as a high school teacher, basketball coach and minister will help him in the position, and that he would be deeply immersed in the schools in his district. He said he would build bridges in the community. “Children need someone to advocate for their success,” he said.

Charles Smith: A teacher for nearly 30 years and the president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators, Smith said he wants to take the next step in his educational career by serving on the school board. He said there is currently too much of an emphasis on test preparation in the classroom. “What all of these experiences have taught me is one must listen to be informed and lead effectively,” he said.

Emanuel Thomason: He said he and his wife moved into District 3 just 18 months ago, and chose the area over the suburbs because of a love of Charlotte. He said he would promote innovation in the district and highlighted experience volunteering with Garinger High. He is a compliance consultant with LPL Financial and said he shares the company’s focus on social responsibility.

A 12th applicant, Daniella Williams, withdrew her name before the meeting.