Candidate questionnaire: Geri C. Kinton

info@islandpacket.comOctober 22, 2012 

Name: Geri C. Kinton

Age: 49

Office: Beaufort County Board of Education, District 5

Number of years living in the area you seek to represent: 8-plus years

Family: Husband Colin; two daughters, Maggie, 10 and Samantha, 8

Education: Bachelor's degree from the University of Florida; master's degree from the University of North Carolina

Current occupation/employer: Office manager, BMH/Coastal CareMD

Employment, military and volunteer history: 20-plus years in marketing and administration, predominately in nonprofits; board member, Riverview Charter School; bell choir and children's worship, First Presbyterian Church; classroom aide and Alphabet Junction, Lady's Island Elementary

Please list all public offices to which you've been elected, when and where: none

Please list any unsuccessful candidacies for public office and when: write-in candidate for Beaufort County School Board, District 8, 2010

Other prior political and government experience: none

Key endorsements you've received: none

Contributions: $400 as of Oct. 23

Expenditures: $270 as of Oct. 23

Highest contributor: Beaufort County Republican Party, $300; DJ and Ryan Christian, $50; Diane Voge and John and Michelle Chase, $25 each

Why should people vote for you?

I am a mother of two current Beaufort County School District students (second and fifth grades) and thus have a perspective that is currently missing on the school board. I have recent personal experience opening a school and serving on its board of directors (Riverview Charter School). I believe you should serve the entire county as a school board representative, and that requires an active interest and understanding in all districts, not just the district that elects you. I will ask tough questions required for informed decision making.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected? How?

  • Improved student outcomes: This ranges from graduation rates to kindergarten readiness for all subgroups. Teachers must be given back the opportunity and resources to teach and connect with families. This would require changes to minimize burdensome paperwork/reporting by teachers. Outcomes should be measured by more than just test scores alone. Partnerships with outside agencies must be utilized to their fullest.

  • Better transparency and accountability: If processes are in place for the school board and administration which guarantee transparency and accountability, then issues that arise will have a better probability of being resolved appropriately. Meeting packets provided to board members should be made readily available to the general public attending meetings. Availability of documents and information should be made more accessible/user-friendly on the district's website.

  • Fiscal responsibility: The board and administration need to determine methods of achieving results while spending less. Larger budgets will not resolve our dilemmas. Thinking outside the box, studying other districts and putting aside personal agendas will all help achieve more responsible spending.

  • What other issues do you see as important?

  • Parent choice

  • Planning for growth

  • Parental and community involvement

  • What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?

    I believe the school board should govern by committees that include community members. Committees should be charged with researching topics, hearing recommendations from administration, challenging administration recommendations when appropriate and making final recommendations to the full school board. Board committees will provide more opportunities for parents, citizens and stakeholders to become engaged, informed and involved in the process of educating our children.

    Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give the details.

    No

    Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

    No

    Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

    Open-minded: I am always interested in learning all points of view on a topic.

    Devil's advocate: I naturally gravitate to serving in this role.

    Independent decision-maker: I will research topics myself, ask relevant questions, vote what's best for the whole.

    Consensus-builder: I'm often told my demeanor and genuineness allows people to engage without becoming defensive. I'm able to rationally discuss matters without alienating those with opposing viewpoints.

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