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Woman plans bid for school board

BERKELEY LAKE -- A local woman has announced plans to run for the District III post on the Gwinnett County Public Schools Board of Education.

As a local education activist, Jen Falk said she believes "the people of Gwinnett County deserve a school board that is transparent and accountable."

She served as a Georgia Appleseed Advisory Council member, worked with the Georgia Department of Education when it revised alternative school rules and was a founding board member of the Ivy Preparatory Academy in Norcross.

She was a founding member of the School-to-Prison Pipeline group, which aimed to shine light on disciplinary disparities.

Additionally, she has helped to design a nationally funded Parent Leadership Institute. Falk is also the outgoing NAACP State Conference Education chair.

Falk said that, if elected, she plans to "listen carefully to parents and turn their concerns into advocacy for better schools. Teachers and administrators also have an important voice. It's essential they have access to a leader that really listens."

She is the special projects director for Parent-to-Parent of Georgia, a statewide nonprofit that serves families of children and young adults with disabilities.

Falk has a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Florida and has more than 20 years experience in retail management. She has lived in Berkeley Lake for 15 years with her husband, Ned. Her children, Harrison and Erin, are both graduates of Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Current District III school board member Mary Kay Murphy's term expires in December 2012. The terms of board members Louise Radloff and Carole Boyce also will expire in December. Neither have announced whether they will run.

Murphy could not be reached for comment Monday. She has not yet announced whether she will seek re-election to the District III post.

Comments

Karl 2 years, 7 months ago

I think it's time we had some fresh folks on the School Board. The current one is nothing more than a rubber-stamp for J. Alvin Wilbanks. We need to stir things around some and a different board member (or members) will be beneficial.

I urge other qualified and interested people to consider running against Ms. Radloff and Ms. Boyce as well.

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Suwaneesince1991 2 years, 7 months ago

Any School Board worth their salt would engage the Superintendent in debate over the issues facing our children. I do not feel this is happening right now because the agenda is pre-set and pre-packaged.

You can come up with fancy terms like "stake holders" and "share holders" and call yourself a CEO, all of which are an attempt at legitimacy in the business world. However, this is EDUCATION, and while Gwinnett does a good job, I credit that to the TEACHERS of Gwinnett County and not due to its leadership. Old/poorly functioning Administrators never die, they just go to ISC (for a little while-all on our dime). If you can't do the job, you need to find a new job.

Let us all move forward with one goal: To educate our children to the best of our abilities while making sure we are not wasting the tax payer money on senior management and instead reward the Women and Men who bust their tails trying to help young men and women develop both educationally and as adults. THEY are the real champions.

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Guy 2 years, 7 months ago

The reason GCPS has been so successful is due to its stability. Instead of bowing to every popular trend and fighting about calendars, they have focused on the big themes. Look around Atlanta, Cobb, Clayton, Dekalb---all dysfunctional boards. Gwinnett has one of the longest serving boards and superintendent in the nation. Coincidence? Nope.

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ouropinionsmatter59 2 years, 7 months ago

It might be good to have concensus on some issues but is it good to have a school board that approves land deals or the policies where millions of tax payer dollars end up in a few pockets of people who somehow know what property to buy...before the public buys it from them..

Should the school board approve over 400k in salary for Mr. Wilbanks... Yes I know it is a big job and I think he should be well paid, and I am not sure what we would get for less, but I think someone has to watch it and maybe ask for some back in this tight budget....Is this something our school board does or should do? Or do they just agree all the time?

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movedherein78 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree that the BOA needs to have stability, but this board needs some new blood. I am not sure we need an advocate for outside interests like the NAACP and special needs on the board. What is needed are some parents who want us to return to simply educating students.

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ouropinionsmatter59 2 years, 7 months ago

I think you and I need to look deeper into this candidate. Something is special about her.. I think she advocates for the less fortunate kids that is true, but if they don't get services in the younger years, it cost the tax payer so much more. Do you realize how much we pay in prisons and care for people with disabilities later in life. I think she is for a lot of things that cross boundaries.. I think she wanted transparency on taxes and decisions and supported charters as incubators of new ideas. Appleseed is an organization that supports the people who can't support themselves.. Check them out. One thing they are for is to keep kids in class... yes... and not alternative schools.... Again, in these places kids become hardened and end up often prison. Here we pay thousands of dollars a day.....and loose a kid who could be the next steve jobs... The only way the US will compete with china is if we maximize human capital. Paying for prisons does none of that.. so policys that teach teachers how to handle "problem kids" makes sure they don't become problem adults at a much higher cost to society.
I think Ms. Falk has the right mix of keeping a good eye on $$$ while being fare to all kids and making sure every kid learns.

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ouropinionsmatter59 2 years, 7 months ago

I think you and I need to look deeper into this democrat. Something is special about her.. I think she advocates for the less fortunate kids that is true, but if they don't get services in the younger years, it cost the tax payer so much more. Do you realize how much we pay in prisons and care for people with disabilities later in life. I think she is for a lot of things that cross boundaries.. I think she wanted transparency on taxes and decisions and supported charters as incubators of new ideas. Appleseed is an organization that supports the people who can't support themselves.. Check them out http://www.gaappleseed.org/ .
One thing they are for is to keep kids in class... yes... and not alternative schools.... Again, in these places kids become hardened and end up often prison. Here we pay thousands of dollars a day.....and loose a kid who could be the next steve jobs... The only way the US will compete with china is if we maximize human capital. Paying for prisons does none of that.. so policys that teach teachers how to handle "problem kids" makes sure they don't become problem adults at a much higher cost to society.
I think Ms. Falk has the right mix of keeping a good eye on $$$ while being fare to all kids and making sure every kid learns.

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ssilover1 2 years, 7 months ago

She has a right to run. Will I vote for her? NO I favor people who want a really engaging, orderly, and respectful classroom for my child and for all the other children in the class....and not someone who suspects that every child who is disciplined is being picked on or misunderstood or is held to a different level of expectation because of his background. Sorry...if you have followed her posts, you know she feels "some" children are expected to behave differently than others...or, better put, she does not have the same expectation for behavior in a classroom that I do. It is OK for a minority child to disrupt because the data suggests they get more discipline and go to panels more. If any child deserves to be removed from a class, I pray the school will do it. And not hesitate because Ms. Appleseed things it is "unfair". So, as I said, I vote NO!

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