Charles Parker Analyzes District 5 School Board Race
By Charles Parker // August 17, 2014
schools are facing a lot of tough issues
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It is time to write about the District 5 School Board race.
I have frankly been trying to avoid it since, first, I am a school teacher and, second, I have had several less-than-stellar interactions with several of the candidates. It is full of minefields.
But – what the heck. Let’s go out on the wire without a net. Alphabetically.
DENISE COYLE: I met Coyle at the Brevard County Hob Nob and spoke with her for a few minutes. She says she wants to advocate for students, parents, and teachers – like she advocates for at-risk kids in her role as a Guardian ad Litem. She mentioned some specific situations in specific schools and noted that – as a school board member – she would intervene at those schools in those sorts of situations.
This is not the appropriate role of a school board member. Board members make policy, approve budgets, and work on other “big picture” issues. If they receive constituent complaints, they should take them to the superintendent, who can then deal on the school level.
DALE DAVIS and I have been acquaintances for a few years. We have attended several events together. In person, he is soft-spoken and pleasant. But on social media, he is another story. He and I had a Facebook string that went south fast about Common Core. He is a zealot in his opposition of it. He called me names. I called him some back (but I am not running for anything). It got kind of nasty. We kind of made up.
I want a little more decorum and gravitas from a school board member. Plus, he is admittedly (at least on his website), a two-trick pony. He is against the proposed sales tax and he is against Common Core. His reasoning on the tax needs updating because it is not exactly accurate. And local school board members have really no say regarding state standards.
DEAN PATERAKIS has run for school board so many times, he should be looking over his shoulder for Claude Rains. (How many of you just googled “Claude Rains?”) Yes, he is one of the usual suspects. (How many just googled “usual suspects?”) At my count, this is his fourth consecutive run in three different districts. He has never garnered more than 37 percent in a primary election.
Every two years since 2008, he has changed districts – and I assume residences. 2008: District 4; 2010: District 5; 2012: District 3; and now 2014: back to District 4. I’m not sure why he has shunned Districts 1 and 2 – I feel kind of slighted. Frankly, this just isn’t right. So neither is his candidacy.
ANDY ZIEGLER is the only incumbent running for school board this cycle (three seats are up) and so he has been the recipient of all of the slings and arrows. Some have been justified and some not. He is an enigma.
He voted to close some schools, but was the swing vote to keep one on the list open. He has been endorsed by some of the business community and the teacher’s union. He seems comfortable in a suit and tie at galas and leathers at a biker rally. I’m oftentimes wary of ones who are all things to all people…but that is what a politician strives for I guess.
The bottom line is that schools are facing a lot of tough issues. I don’t think we can really afford 3/5 of the board facing a steep learning curve. So – for at least this 1/5 – Ziegler is the choice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles Parker is a longtime resident of Brevard County and has been writing for various publications for the last 40 years – both print and digital. Parker covers space, politics, religion, and other news and special events for Space Coast Daily.
Currently, he is an aerospace engineering teacher at Merritt Island High School. He is also the director of both the da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology and the Academy of Hospitality, Entrepreneurship, and Tourism at MIHS. He is a professor of Humanities and World Religions at Eastern Florida State College and Valencia College.
Parker has worked extensively in the tourism and aerospace industries in Brevard. He has also been a United Methodist pastor and director of a non-profit to help young adults aging out of foster care. He was formerly a board member at Brevard Achievement Center and the Childcare Association of Brevard. He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Children’s Services Council from 1999-2003.
Parker earned a BA in Organizational Management from Warner University and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is married, has four children and one grandchild.
AUTHOR NOTE: These views are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Brevard Public Schools, Eastern Florida State College, or Valencia College.
You can follow Parker on Twitter @cparker_scd