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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Get to Know the Candidates: A Q&A w/ Mary Adams, Fort Thomas Board of Education

Mary Adams is running for election to the Fort Thomas Board of Education/Provided
This November, three members of the Fort Thomas Board of Education are up for re-election. In addition to the incumbents, there are two challengers running for seats on the Board. As part of FTM's efforts to keep you, the Fort Thomas electorate, informed and prepared for the upcoming elections, the Q&A below is part of an ongoing series, "Get to Know the Candidates." Each participant is asked an identical set of questions.

Challenger Mary Adams moved to Fort Thomas two decades ago, after teaching math in the Cincinnati Public Schools system. Not long after moving to Fort Thomas, with five children and step-children all attending Fort Thomas schools, Adams became Highlands Middle School Principal, a position she held for 16 years before retiring in 2012.

FTM: What is your connection to Fort Thomas Schools and the Fort Thomas community at large?

MA: I moved to Fort Thomas from Cincinnati ( a proud "Westsider” ) 20 years ago. My two children became Bluebirds joining three step-siblings already attending Highlands, and with five teenagers in the house it was a very eventful time!

I was teaching mathematics in the Cincinnati Public Schools at the time and was very excited when Fort Thomas Schools posted an opening for a Middle School Principal. I hold a degree in school counseling and administration and had extensive training in the Middle School philosophy. After several interviews I was offered the position. My 16 years as HMS Principal were by far the most challenging , exciting, and fulfilling time of my career.

In 1998, the middle school became it’s own entity, separate from the high school, and then in 2001 we moved to the new current building and brought the sixth grade to the middle school. Working together with staff and parents over the years, we created a challenging and exciting environment to meet the needs of the middle school age students.

Why are you seeking a seat on the Fort Thomas Board of Education?

I retired two years ago and have stayed busy with family, hobbies, travel, etc., but I miss being involved in the schools and seeing the people I have worked with for so many years. Just this summer when I realized it was the year for elections I began to think about running. I have the analytical  and people skills  needed to work with a group to solve problems and achieve goals.  The board continues to face the challenges of our facilities, funding, and providing the best education for our students while meeting the needs of the individuals. I feel I would be an asset as the board addresses these issues.

What would be your first order of business to bring before the Board, if elected?

I am not running for the position with a specific agenda. The board has been making progress over the years in the area of facilities, funding and academics; however, there is always more to do. My first order of business would be to learn as much as I can about the role of a board member, along with getting as much information as I can about school funding, common core and other current issues, so I can help make informed decisions if elected.

What, in your opinion, should the district do to address the continued challenge of obtaining funding and other support from the state and federal governments?

At this point, in order to be an effective board member, I personally need to get  as much information as I can on the topic before giving an opinion. I have already talked with some folks associated with the state department and  am currently reading as much as I can on the state and KDE website on the topic of school funding. Hopefully all board decisions are made after all members have the necessary facts and information.

What do you see as the District's top priority(ies) now and moving forward over the next four years and beyond?

In no particular order:
  • FACILITIES - New construction or renovation is needed at both Johnson and Moyer as soon as possible.
  • TECHNOLOGY -The district has provided students and staff with updated technology and this needs to be an ongoing priority for students at all levels.
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT - each school year seems to bring more and more new changes for teachers in the areas of technology, curriculum, textbooks, evaluation procedures, grading etc. While these changes are hopefully positive, quite often the teachers are not getting training and or time needed to best implement the new initiatives.
  • FUNDING - The district has been proactive in trying to get funding for out schools and this must be on-going.
  • MEETING THE NEEDS OF ALL STUDENTS - Our students come to us with a variety of academic needs.  Current testing results depend on the progress of individual students, which is a positive move. However we need to see that teachers have the resources to meet these needs.
The needs listed above are what comes to mind from my experiences and current knowledge.  Of course, if elected, I will work with board members and district staff to learn what other priorities they might have.  

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