Sumter School Board candidates for Districts 4, 5 and 6 share their platforms; best quotes from 8 lakewood high wednesday attendees

All nine Sumter School Board seats are up for election in November, and the Sumter School District’s core group of teachers held their second of three candidate forums Wednesday night at Lakewood High School.

The District Teacher Forum, made up of current and former Campus Teachers of the Year, organized each forum to be made up of candidates from three districts (also called zones), and all candidates received all five same questions selected according to their importance from internal employee surveys. .

In this election cycle and in the future, the Sumter School District Board of Trustees is expanding from seven single-member districts and two at-large seats to nine single-member districts, pursuant to Sumter County Legislative Delegation legislation.

Wednesday’s forum at Lakewood High School Fine Arts Center included eight of nine candidates from Districts 4, 5 and 6, which typically make up the southern and eastern portions of Sumter County.

Three outgoing board members were represented in Reverend Daryl McGhaney (District 4), Shawn Ragin (District 5) and Matthew “Mac” McLeod (District 6). District 5 challenger Mary Singleton was the only contestant not to attend.

About 45 people attended Wednesday, according to event organizers.

The forums ended Thursday at Crestwood High School (districts 1, 2 and 7).


To begin each evening’s panel discussion, school board candidates were given time for a brief introduction. Then, candidates had a two-minute limit to answer each question, all in rotational order.

The five questions were:

1) What do you think is the #1 goal for building trust and transparency?

2) What do you think of the discipline problems in our schools?

3) What are you planning to do to make the Sumter School District more attractive to potential employees in terms of improving salaries for all employees?

4) With the massive shortage of teachers, current teachers are exhausted to the point that many may leave. What will you do to address the concerns of your current teachers and ensure they stay at Sumter?

5) Why do you think you are the best candidate for the board of directors?


District 4 Race

Tarah Cousar Johnson

Why she is the best candidate

I have the impression that everything starts with a well-informed school board. It’s time to change. It’s time for us to drive the district’s vision. It’s time for us to make sure the district operates on sound principles, according to school policy, on sound principles and on budgeting principles. It’s time for us to ensure accountability, transparency, and fairness for all students, no matter where they live or what school they attend in Sumter County. And, finally, it is time for us to serve as advocates for this school district and these students. I am a candidate for change.

Reverend Daryl McGhaney

On matters of discipline in our schools

Where is the responsibility? It was my song: Where is the responsibility? There’s a lot going on in the district, and I don’t see anything happening to these kids who are disrupting the class, the kids who are fighting. … Where is the responsibility? Who is responsible? At the end of the day, my colleagues will tell you, the board is responsible. The board is responsible for not addressing discipline issues in the district. … We have to be real and honest. The council is responsible. And that’s what I did – where’s the blame? We need to get these kids out. These kids are acting up and don’t want to go to school, get them out. We need to get our children to learn, so they can compete in a work system.

Monica Squires

Why she is the best candidate

I listen to and care about Sumter County so much, and decided to run because I felt there was so much negativity. You can go back and look at my record when I was on the school board 10 years ago, and I still vote with my heart and listen to people. And I want to tell you when the first superintendent was hired, Mr. Bynum, me and another board member did not vote for him. So I’m not afraid to vote with my heart and what I feel is best for this county.

Reverend Leon Winn

On matters of discipline in our schools

Student discipline is lacking with our school board. My challenge is this: we can say what needs to be done, but when you can do it and it’s not done, then it’s time to change. We can’t go down the same old road and think we’re going to get different results… You keep using the same people, you’re going to get the same results. We need to change to eradicate what is happening in our school system. We fail. … We have to support our teachers and we have to support our administration.

District 5 Race

Shawn Ragon

How to improve salaries for all employees

As a board member, you should always approach this issue with the mindset and willingness to work as a unified board. Based on past experiences, you won’t be able to accomplish anything – including making the neighborhood attractive – until you understand that we all have to work together. … I must commend the Sumter School District Board for the work they are currently doing in terms of the salary study. We ultimately wanted to take an approach to moving forward with a salary study. As we continue to move forward, I think there is hope in making sure we address the issues we currently face in making the neighborhood attractive.

Mary Singleton (absent)

District 6 Race

Matthew “Mac” McLeod

How to address the teacher shortage and ensure they stay in Sumter

Teachers should be treated like the professionals they are. … As a board member, we get calls from teachers with concerns, and I always take them to the superintendent, which is what a board member is supposed to do. I would recommend more collaboration between teachers, the board and the superintendent. Also, more partnerships with colleges and universities to develop our own teachers, teacher-leaders and administrators.

Venitia Reebel

How to improve salaries for all employees

I really think we need to raise the salaries of our teachers and school workers. …So they don’t have to work two or three jobs, but they can dedicate time to honing their craft and give them time to maybe go to a conference and see the value in what they’re doing. make. …Also, it’s not just about monetary value. Perhaps more autonomy and less time to deal with student discipline issues.

Robbie Robinson

Why he is the best candidate

There are tough choices to be made and said out loud, and the audience needs to hear them. I will stand by these choices because I understand that not making them will harm our children. They will hurt our community. They will harm our state. They are going to hurt the United States of America. We need to stop the bleeding from our school board now. By doing this, there must be change.

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