Candidate questionnaire: Fred S. Washington Jr.

info@islandpacket.comOctober 22, 2012 

Name: Fred S. Washington Jr.

Age: 66

Office: Beaufort County Board of Education, District 3

Number of years living in the area you seek to represent: I have lived in a portion of this newly redistricted area since 1973.

Family: Married to Barbara Morgan, three daughters, one granddaughter

Education: Graduated from Robert Smalls High School and Boston University

Current occupation/employer: Retired as director of the Beaufort County Department of Social Services

Employment, military and volunteer history: Worked for four years in the Residence Life Division of Boston University; VISTA volunteer and later supervisor-director of a community center in Roxbury, Mass.; manpower director of Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health; pupil personnel services director for the Beaufort County School District; director of the Beaufort County Department of Social Services (a state agency) for more than 27 years. My volunteer/civic history includes serving on the Beaufort Joint Planning Commission, Lowcountry Council of Governments, Beaufort County United Way Allocation Committee, S.C. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Boys & Girls Club board, Beaufort Marine Institute board, Beaufort Housing Authority board, charter member of Beaufort County First Steps Partnership board, and chair of the Beaufort Fund Advisory Committee of the Coastal Community Foundation. I have also moderated several forums for the now inactive League of Women Voters of Northern Beaufort County.

Please list all public offices to which you've been elected, when and where: Beaufort City Council, July 1979 to July 1993; Beaufort County Board of Education (elected chairman by the board all years served), 2006-present.

Please list any unsuccessful runs for public office and when: None to date.

Key endorsements you've received: None to date.

Contributions: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Expenditures: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Highest contributor: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Why should people vote for you?

I have a history of effectively working with people to promote the "common good" and improved results. I am able to bring together differing viewpoints and create agreement on the path forward. I see opportunity rather than obstacles; I work toward collaboration, not conflict.

I will continue to work to put needed policies and resources in place that ensure that every district school is a place where all students can thrive academically and socially. I have and will continue to work for practical reforms in public education in our state, including the state (with existing resources) taking steps to ensure all children are prepared to enter kindergarten. You accomplish this through coordination/collaboration between several specific state agencies and community partners to promote parental responsibility and good parenting practices, of which the importance of learning is fundamental. Teacher and staff compensation should be determined more by improved results and less on credentials alone -- we must also make certain we hire and assign educators who can meet the needs of our diverse student population; continue to work for more equitable state funding for Beaufort County.

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

  • The selection of an experienced, reform-oriented superintendent. We need a leader/manager who can work effectively with a diverse population of students, staff (and communities) and significantly close the "achievement gap" among them. Qualities include more individualized instruction for students; teacher and staff compensation that is weighted heavily on targeted student growth; more meaningful opportunities for parental and community involvement in our schools.

  • Practical state/local public education reform steps. The state requires agencies that address at-risk family needs to collaborate and tweak their message to include research-based good-parenting practices that enhance early brain and behavioral development. Focus on ages 0 to 3. Grant local districts relief from outdated regulations that stifle improvements in learning or inflate the cost of doing business. I support performance-based compensation for educators and staff of the district. There needs to be a change in state funding that does not penalize Beaufort County.

  • Establishing/maintaining more mutually beneficial relationships with County Council, other local and state elected officials, the business community, as well as the retirement and military communities. The board will go back to more standing committees as opposed to the present committee of the whole or ad hoc structure. Board members need to be assigned to or sit on key community boards or committees of the Chamber of Commerce, county and municipal planning groups and economic development entities.

  • What other issues do you see as important?

    Race and color. As a community we have not adequately addressed these issues and not doing so will prevent Beaufort County from being what we have the capacity to achieve. Many have heard me say this before. When I work with/for someone your race is "human." We all share that distinction and as such we have much in common. That is the basis of my initial interactions. The color is green. Green for the strong viable economic base from which prosperity and quality of life hinges to a great extent. Green also reminds us that we must respect and take care of our environment, which is a factor in our economic well-being.

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

    I will continue to advocate the expansion of the authority/responsibility of mandated School Improvement Councils to have a meaningful voice in the operation of our individual schools; have planned/coordinated board/community meetings as outlined in our policy change during the past year; work to improve the "Transparency Ranking" of the district's website from its present B-plus to an A; try to ensure that we do not intentionally violate the letter or spirit of the Freedom of Information Act; and I would like the see the district have the capacity to televise its quarterly work sessions and committee meetings.

    Have you ever been convicted of a crime, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?


    Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes?

    I have never filed for bankruptcy, but have sought and been granted an extension to file my returns.

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

    A belief. I believe strongly in the value and power of education -- particularly public education.

    My parents' rearing (with support from other community members and institutions) and years of experience working with people in my former field of employment has led me to believe that most people who are in poverty or receive public assistance don't really want to be in that situation, but they did not receive the educational foundation to be more successful in today's world. Education is the key. That has driven me to seek election and re-election to the Beaufort County Board of Education.

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