Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board: Mary McCray on the issues

Name: Mary T. McCray

Hometown: High Point

Neighborhood: Morris Farms

Family: 3 adult children, one employed as a teacher

CMS connections: retired educator

Education: BS in Elementary Ed. from NC A&T St. Univ.

Occupation: retired

Political experience: elected in 2011 to CMS BOE

Community service: member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, elementary and middle school tutor, member of the following groups: Democratic Women, Black Women's Caucus, Black Political Caucus, CM Retired School Personnel, charter member of 100 Black Women

Party affiliation: Dem.

Campaign contact info: McCray4BOE@gmail.com; on Facebook; on Twitter, 704-281-6074

Why are you running for school board?

Re-election to the board would offer me the opportunity to be a part of an effective working team with a focus on every child, every day.

What are your top priorities for the district?

My top priorities would be to continue to promote consensus among Board of Education members, continue to advocate for a living wage for non-licensed employees, and professional pay for licensed employees, expand career and college readiness programs to the lower grades to ensure students have greater options and opportunities for success after graduation. The expansion of magnet choices, seats, and the removal of shuttle stops is also an important priority.

What are your thoughts on hiring a superintendent?

The next superintendent must have a proven, sustained track record of academic and operational success. This person must also unite the community around and be a fierce champion for traditional public education.

What are your goals for student assignment?

The new student assignment plan must be crafted from a process that takes into account all relevant information and provides for meaningful input from all parts of the community, so that any resulting plan serves to unite us around the gift of public education and extends the opportunity for all children to excel.

What should CMS do to address persistently low performance by large numbers of students at many schools?

This is more of a staff focused question and task, but as a board member, I will ensure that the Board of Education focuses its efforts on providing all children with a real opportunity to reach their potential and partnering with those organizations/ individuals responsible for assisting children outside of the classroom.

What should CMS do to attract, motivate and keep strong teachers?

The larger question should be what must we as a community do to assist CMS with attracting, motivating, and retaining strong teachers?

"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it." These words were spoken by John Adams in 1785 and they still hold true today.

We must be willing to offer professional pay for a professional job, realize that these folks are there to assist society with the "raising" of our children, not to do it alone. Teachers in CMS should be given the support required to help them teach ALL children. We can also appeal to our commissioners to devise a 3-4 year plan to get our local supplement more competitive with other large urban districts in the state.

What is the district's biggest challenge, and how would you address it?

Our biggest challenge is the trend, as reflected in national, state, and local levels, of marginalizing public schools by depriving them of resources, stacking them with ever increasing responsibilities, while failing to account for the enormous challenges in educating an economically and socially diverse population. We address these challenges by continuing to advocate for public schools while publically exposing efforts to tear them down. As a district, we must continue our efforts, and dialogue with our county partners to assist with costs to cover emotional and social ills.

What is the best thing about CMS?

The best thing about CMS? It's a tie- between our capable, resilient, and committed staff and our bright, talented, and able students.

What else should voters know about you?

I am totally committed to public education and can bear witness to how it can expand the horizon and future of those who take advantage of its offerings.