Guest Post From Karen Carter:
I would like to thank Governor Deal for appointing me to serve on the DeKalb County School Board. I also want to thank the parents, community partners and friends of the DeKalb County School District for the opportunity to serve our county and the 100,000+ boys and girls enrolled in our schools. It has been my honor to attend open houses, PTA and school council meetings, to release diplomas, to participate in school festivals, and honor programs for our gifted and talented students. Thank you teachers for being open to a new board that has sought to partner with you, for your continuous hard work and efforts to give our students the greatest learning experiences possible.
Time has flown as we have moved from a district on the edge of the unknown to one that is at the forefront of providing great opportunities to our students. When I began this journey 22 months ago, our school district was in trouble: a significant budget deficit, underachieving schools and students, loss of trust within the system, the community and across the county; and threatened loss of accreditation. In partnership with the Superintendent, this board, made up of diverse individuals with a wealth of varied experiences and expertise has turned our district around. While we are not perfect, all knowing, and don’t always agree, we do have common ground from which to work. We agree that our children are most important to this county.
To this end, we were tasked with helping them achieve academic success through a high quality educational experience that meets their individual and collective learning needs. We understood and covenanted that as a Board, our role has, and continues to be, that of setting policies that support academic achievement, financial accountability/sustainability, and community engagement that advances student growth. This Board has been committed to the common goal of ensuring access for all students’ to the instructional resources (teachers, classrooms and technology) that promote life-long learning and competency for 21st century leadership in whatever area they pursue.
DeKalb County School District is making progress toward that goal. In the two years that I have served with this board our district has improved its administrative processes, eliminated the budget deficit and established a fund balance of $31 million dollars. These improvements allowed us to increase the budgeted funds that directly support instruction, expanding programs to support career and college readiness, and implementing programs and strategies to narrow the achievement gap. These initiatives have and will improve the results for all students regardless of gender, race or neighborhood.
I want to thank the Superintendent and his team for their commitment to serving all boys and girls in the district, our board secretary, Margaret Francois, and most of all my fellow board members. I value the work we have labored to do together, I appreciate the time spent learning from one another and how we have each come to view the district through diverse lenses. Moreover, I will cherish the friendships formed as we have strived to strike that delicate balance between our role in strengthening board governance and monitoring district operations.
I look forward to using the experiences gained to continue to support the academic achievement and success of all students throughout this county and the state of Georgia.
Karen Carter, District 8
“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.” – Aristotle