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Cape Henlopen School Board - at large

School boards are elected trustees who oversee the local school district and represent the community in matters affecting education. In Delaware, school board service is an unpaid position with a term of 5 years. School board elections are nonpartisan, and are held on the second Tuesday in May each year.The school board…Sets the vision and goals for the school districtEstablishes policies that give the district direction to set priorities and achieve its goalsHires and evaluates the superintendentAdopts and oversees the annual budgetManages the collective bargaining process for district employeesSets student performance standardsApproves curriculumApproves the school calendarSelects transportation systemsApproves contracts with outside vendorsManages facilities/construction issuesThe Cape Henlopen School District is located in Lewes, DE. It has roughly 6,000 students in grades PK, K-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 13 to 1. There are 9 school buildings serving the students in Milton, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.The Cape Henlopen Board of Directors has seven members, one each from geographic areas A, B, C and D, and three additional "at-large" members (who may reside anywhere within the school district). The terms are staggered so that normally one or two seats come open each year. All residents 18 or older living within the district may vote for all races.

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  • Candidate picture

    Janis P Hanwell

  • Candidate picture

    Ashley Murray

Información Biográfica

What is your vision for education in your community?

What is your background and how do/would those experiences and skills allow you to be an effective school board member?

The biggest dilemma in Delaware public schools right now is the reopening of public schools. When should your District resume full classroom instruction, and what is the school board's role in the safe return to physical buildings for students and staff?

Are you satisfied with the education outcomes in your school district such as literacy, numeracy, and graduation rates? If yes, please elaborate. If no, please explain.

What do you believe is a school board member’s role and responsibilities? Please elaborate.

How do you view the Education Equity Lawsuit Settlement currently on the table before the General Assembly?

Residence (neighborhood/area): Cape Henlopen School Board District B, Lewes, Delaware, North of the Nassau Bridge
Campaign Phone: (302) 396-4824
Related affiliations and roles: Delaware School Board Association First Vice President, Delaware School Board Association Legislative Priorities Team, ITN Southern Delaware Board of Directors, Vice President
Are you currently a school board member? (Y/N) Yes
How many school board meetings did you attend last year? Attended all but 1 Board mtg; including special mtgs and public hearings
Brief background bio (a single paragraph): I spent 28 of 31 years as an educator in Cape Henlopen School District and have a BFA, M. Ed., and Ed. D.. I have been a special education teacher and building and district level administrator, the project director for construction of Cape Henlopen High School, and I retired in 2010 as assistant superintendent. I am currently one of three At-Large Cape Henlopen School Board Members and was initially elected in 2016. I am the First Vice President of the Delaware School Board Association (DSBA) Board of Directors and serve on the DSBA Legislative Priorities Team. I am also the Executive Vice President and E.D. for a nonprofit transportation co-op for seniors in Southern Delaware. I have also volunteered for Sussex County Habitat for Humanity and Appalachia Service Project, and I am the owner of IQ Solutions, a company that provides advertising and PR solutions, and writes grants for small non-profits.
Website or social media link: http://www.facebook.com/forallcapekids
My platform is Diversity, Inclusion, Equity – Together We Can Achieve More. Over the last 5 years, I have been part of implementing a successful Spanish Immersion program, re-opening communication with minority communities, improving state test scores, transitioning to restorative practices, expanding participation in AP and Honors classes, strengthening mental health and crisis intervention services, aligning Math, ELA, and Technology curricula across 5 elem. schools, expanding wellness services, and engaging in strategic planning. A safe transition out of the pandemic back to in-school instruction for K-12 requires CONTINUITY and work in the following areas: Recruitment and retention of a DIVERSE workforce, OPEN Communication, A VOICE in the decision making process for all stakeholders, Equal ACCESS and EQUITY - College Prep, Trades and Apprenticeships, Healthcare and Wellness related careers, Science and Technology, Hospitality & Food Services, Athletics, Fine & Performing Arts
I’ve been a building and district level school administrator and supervised personnel, special ed., Title 1, TAG, transportation, and nutrition services. I’ve evaluated teachers and administrators, written and managed state and federal grants, been an expert witness in special ed. lawsuits, been on educational missions to other countries, and directed major capital improvement projects worth up to $102.5 million. I am an effective leader, enjoy fostering leadership in others, am fair and objective, and make informed decisions, and evaluate results. I respect varying opinions, and take the time to understand differing perspectives on key issues. I believe in public education, listen to the community and staff, and understand their strengths, needs, and challenges. My daughter, husband, and stepson graduated from Cape, and I now have 3 grandchildren who will do the same, so I am still committed to doing what’s best for them and all kids.
Cape was the 1st and still the only public school district in Delaware to provide K-5 full-time in person instruction. We were also the first to gear up and provide K–12 fully remote and hybrid models for grades 6-12. All stakeholders participated in the planning process and all aspects were considered with the knowledge that the district must comply with the Governor’s requirements and CDC and DPH guidelines. It’s been the course to continue bringing back as many students as possible without ignoring COVID-19 protocols. Schools are now at 80%+ capacity and as the number of people vaccinated rises, distancing requirements ease, and space allows, we will continue bring back more. Secondary students participating in the hybrid model have already had extra in-person days added to their regular schedule, and it is my desire that all full-time, in-person instruction will be back in place perhaps before, but no later than the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Cape state test data in 2019 showed significant gains in ELA and Math, exceeded state averages in almost all areas, and showed a narrowing of the achievement gap at all grades from 2018 to 2019. No state testing occurred in 2020 and while we can be proud of the gains, we are never satisfied that the work is done. The philosophy of the Cape superintendent, administration and staff, and current board is to always strive to be better. There is no resting on a Blue Ribbon designation when there is still an achievement gap and any students are falling below proficiency levels. I want to see ELA and Math specialists stay in place across the district, provide training in culturally responsive interactions and trauma informed instruction, and use Opportunity Funding for resources that will focus on closing the gap for low income, special ed., African Americans, and English language learners.
Public school boards have the authority to determine and ensure implementation of board policies, hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee the budget, and adopt rules and follow regulations for general administration and supervision of their schools. My individual role is as a representative and advocate for all students, an ambassador of the district, and champion for the community. I believe in public education and will devote time and energy to do what’s best for all kids and stand up for my convictions. I’m committed to equity and work to ensure that all students have access to the same opportunities. I must remain engaged in and understand the wider community’s values, wishes, and challenges and work to seek stakeholders’ input in the decision-making process. I will make sure the needs of the community are brought to life through an open dialogue, accessibility, asking tough questions, listening, making informed decisions, and asking myself, “Is this what’s best for kids?”.
I want to ensure that every student has equal access to a free public education regardless of his or her educational needs, socioeconomic status, race, or ethnicity. The EE Settlement has potential to provide parity in instructional programming and equal opportunities for low income students, students with disabilities, and students who are English learners across the state. Cape is planning and evaluating ways to effectively use Opportunity Funding to enhance services and resources for disadvantaged students. Expanding mental health services, enhancing reading supports in schools with the highest concentrations of disadvantaged students, increasing K-3 basic special ed. students’ services, providing preschool programs for kids from low SES families, and bolstering teacher recruitment and retention in high-needs schools are all proven to be beneficial ways to level the playing field for these students.
Residence (neighborhood/area): New Rd Lewes, DE
Campaign Phone: (302) 423-4730
Are you currently a school board member? (Y/N) No
How many school board meetings did you attend last year? 0 in person- viewed minutes via CHSD website
Brief background bio (a single paragraph): I am a Lewes native with deep roots in this town and community. I am a 4th generation graduate of Cape Henlopen School District. I am also a Delaware Technical & Community College graduate with an Associates Degree in Science. I genuinely care about community members and especially, their amazing children. I am a passionate mother of 3, 2 boys and a girl, My oldest son is 17 years old and a junior at Cape Henlopen High School. My middle child is 12 years old and currently attends Beacon Middle School. I had always taken great pride in the Cape District and even with a couple of moves, made sure to keep the boys in the district. However, due to noticing the district going in a direction I was a little uncomfortable about, we elected to enroll our daughter, Oasis, in private school. I have been fortunate enough to work from home during Covid-19 which helped me to become more aware of education. I want to be the voice for the parents. Fighting for children first always.
Website or social media link: http://www.facebook.com/AshleyMurrayforCape
Our immediate priority is to open the schools for in-person learning. I'm a parent who understands that it's complex to run a school district. However, it's time to solve the remaining issues and act within the best interest of the children by fully reopening! We need students to catch-up and get back on track. Our kids have missed out on so much. We need summer programs and other options to get all students ready for the future. Longer term, we need to meet all students' needs regardless of the achievement level. I support job skills training, an expansion of special needs programs, and an investment in helping kids and their families. Our schools are the key to our future as a community.
I'm a Mom and a parent. We need the voice of parents to be heard. Far too often, the single Mom, the struggling family, and the longtime residents in our community do not get a voice in how we run our schools. I want to represent all the families who are struggling during the pandemic. We need to give Mom's a voice too!
The School Board's role is to set the community expectation. We are the voice of the residents, parents, and students. We hire and retain the Superintendent to deliver the kind of School System that the residents expect. In the short term, parents want the school to open for in-person learning. Our role is to make that clear to the School Administration. We expect the School Administration to follow the Science. We expect the Superintendent and Administration to be creative, innovative, persistent, and tireless in their pursuit to open the schools. It's time for the Administration to figure it out!
We have many dedicated teachers and staff, and four of our schools were recognized by the Governor and Education Secretary Susan Bunting for Excellence. Congrats to principals Beth Conway, Milton Elementary School, Lisa Morris, Love Creek Elementary School, Amanda Archambault, Rehoboth Elementary School and Dave Frederick, Beacon Middle School. However, according to standardized testing in 2019, 1 out of 3 students do not read at grade level , and close to half can not perform math at grade level. I can't tell those Mom's and those students that our schools are good enough. We are still failing far too many students.
A School Board Member's role is to be a representative of our community, who always acts within the best interest of the children. Our role is to have a vision that is reflective of our communities needs and desires then set goals and expectations for the school administration. We should speak for all the parents, taxpayers, and business owners that depend on students to fill jobs. Our role is to describe the kind of school that we want for our community and hold the Administration accountable for their results. Specifically, our community wants the schools to fully reopen. As School Board Members, it is our job to We want a school district that serves all types of students at different achievement levels. And, we want the Administration to communicate how they make that happen in today's environment. We expect innovation to meet challenging times, and we hope the Administration serves the students as their top priority.

I'm not an expert in this settlement. But I know our system has been broken for years. The inequity is based on defining the assessment due to every property owner differently and the values well below average and out-of-date. However, I understand our school district stands to gain from the settlement, and tax revenue could increase as much as 15%. As a school board member, I would expect our current Administration to expand mental health programs, vocational training and get kids back on track in math and English.