Candidate Biography (300 words maximum):
I was initially elected to the school board in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. My family has lived in Chapel Hill since the 1990s after having initially moved to the area in 1985. Our four children have attended 8 of the district’s 17 traditional schools. Three of them have completed their education in CHCCS and the youngest is in ninth grade.
I served as chair of the board from 2009 to 2010 and vice chair from 2008 to 2009. I have participated in multiple board committees including Redistricting Committees in 2006 and 2007, Curriculum Advisory Committee, Drug Abuse Task Force, Health Advisory Committee, Technology Advisory Committee, and board liaison to Head Start Policy Council, Special Needs Advisory Committee, Sustainability Committee, Elementary #11 Design Committee, and the School Improvement Teams at several schools. I have also been a member of the North Carolina School Board Association’s Legislative Committee, which helps set the legislative platform for the statewide organization, and was on a Regional Screening Committee for the NC Teaching Fellows Program.
Before joining the board in 2003, I was a parent school volunteer and active in other education-related organizations.
I work as a physician scientist at Duke University and the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Prior to coming to Chapel Hill I was in the US Public Health Service at the National Cancer Institute. I received my undergraduate education from Monroe County Community College and the University of Michigan, and my medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1985. None of this would have been possible without the love and support of my family, particularly my wife, Elise Hoffman.
Candidate Statement (300 words maximum):
Every child comes to school with an expectation they will learn. My goal is to help guide the school district to maximize the educational growth of each child. Our district is a high achieving district but is each of our children growing as much as possible?
For the first time in nearly two decades, our district has a new superintendent. I have the necessary school board experience, knowledge of the district, and personal skills to facilitate this critical transition in leadership. This is an opportunity to systematically review our district through the eyes of a new educational leader and institute changes that will bring us closer to our goals.
The constrained budget for our district over the past several years has resulted in tightening of expenditures as well as a reduction of positions, which have tended to negatively impact the educational program. Our teachers and staff have strived to do more with less. I expect there to be continued fiscal austerity that will require continued critical analysis of the cost effectiveness of programs to guide the difficult budget decisions ahead. In addition, I will continue to communicate the needs of the district to local, state, and federal officials who fund our district, and to the community at large.
Our curriculum will be evolving to align with the Common Core State Standards being adopted by North Carolina and 43 other states. As part of that transition, there will also be common testing across the country. Our district, which usually performs near the top in North Carolina, will be directly comparable to other districts across the country.
It is essential to ensure our schools are safe and provide a nurturing environment for students and staff.