With every election comes a fresh face and new perspective. The July 31, 2012, Fulton County School Board election is no different. But, there’s is one candidate that you must give serious consideration and pledge your support. Atlanta native Retina Burton fits the profile of a woman that we want our daughters and sons to look up to. She’s an inspiration to them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, also known as S.T.E.M. careers and to excel academically.
A math whiz and leader in academia, Burton is formerly a systems engineer for global security and aerospace industry leader Lockheed Martin and currently oversees pre-engineering courses and programs as the director of the dual degree engineering program in the Office of Science Engineering and Technical Careers at Spelman College.
A role model and an effective leader, Burton speaks more about her candidacy for the Fulton County School Board, District 4, and how she plans to engineer a path to a better education for our students to become future leaders.–yvette caslin
What are your professional qualifications for the office you seek?
I bring several key qualifications to the District 4 seat. I am a parent of two school-aged children, a successful college instructor at Spelman College, an engineer by training and a recognized parent volunteer in the District. I served as the former chair of Fulton’s Local School Advisory Council (LSAC) and a member of the Advisory Cluster Council, the Superintendent’s Parent Council and the Sandtown Middle School Parent Teacher Association. I am ready to bring a fresh focus to Fulton County Schools.
Why are you running for the school board?
Having volunteered within Fulton County School System for the past six years, I know there are opportunities for growth that would positively impact the student body, the parents, and the community at large. My motivation is to be a real part of the solution that will bring better education to our school system.
What goals do you hope to achieve if you are elected?
I want to help drive collaboration and deliver noticeable and positive results for our children — from the budget to the curriculum.
What special strengths do you believe you would bring to the board?
I bring several key qualifications to the race. I am an engineer by training. My education and experience make me especially skilled at detecting challenges, isolating the cause, and finding specific, fact-based ways to fix a problem.
Relative to other subjects students are required to take, how important are STEM subject in your opinion?
What I think people are most concerned about when it comes to any subject is whether we are educating our children well enough to be Georgia’s next leaders and preparing them to compete globally in various industries. I am pleased with the trend to educate Fulton County students via career pathways. This approach allows us to tailor class subjects toward a student’s career choice — whether that it is in science or culinary arts. So, regardless of the subject concentration — what matters most from my perspective is the equal access to a quality education.
What kinds of influence do you think special interest groups should have on decisions related to curriculum and materials used for student instruction, and how would you go about making decisions about quality instruction if outside pressure is brought to bear on the board?
The Board of Education is charged with enacting policies that ultimately benefit our children the most. I believe in all circumstances keeping that mandate central will guide quality and unbiased decision-making.
How will you encourage the district administration to provide the support and resources necessary for teachers to successfully meet requirements?
My ears are open to hear the concerns and ideas of teachers and administrators. I will encourage support of teachers by fostering dialogue and measurable action. I would focus my energy on closing any gap — real or perceived — between what is expected versus what is provided. I believe proper support and adequate resources start with teachers and administrators having a shared understanding of what is required for success and what is needed to get there.
Any last words?
Vote for me. For those who live in Fulton County, District 4, every child deserves the best education — no matter where they live. Vote for Retina Burton. Let me be your voice.