Editor’s note: Candidate’s written responses were provided to The Island Packet over email and appear as submitted.
Name: Susan C Gordon
Office: Beaufort County Board of Education, District 6
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Number of years living in the area to represent: 11 years
Education: Doctor of Philosophy, Education, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN 1994; Master of Science, Education, Jersey City State College, Jersey City, NJ 1977; Bachelor of Science, Education, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 1972
Current Occupation: Retired Teacher
Please list all public offices to which you’ve been elected, when and where: None
Other prior political and government experiences: I was a teacher mentor for a federal government program in Jasper County, SC. To promote and exchange knowledge about different school systems, The GA Department of Education and the Friendship Force selected me as an ambassador to St. Petersburg, Russia and Uppsala, Sweden. I studied their educational system and told them about our educational system. I also taught a year in London, England.
Employment, military and volunteer history: I taught school for over 36 years. I am on the board of Heroes of the Lowcountry and Backpack Buddies. I read to pre-school students and plan to do some tutoring this year. I was a Board Member of: The Dekalb Council for the Arts, Several Dancers Core and Adventure in Education. Adult Literacy Program – taught adults how to read. First Step – counseled new mothers to prevent child abuse
Key endorsement you’ve received: none
Highest Contributor: Susan Gordon
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of Superintendent Jeff Moss’ performance in his first four years?
The Beaufort County District has made progress over the past four years. The graduation rate has increased, student achievement has progressed, and more pre-school intervention screenings are being conducted. Many new innovative programs have been established like school choice and placing computers in the hands of every student in grades K-12. The community should be able to trust that the Beaufort County School District is spending their tax money appropriately. Therefore, the superintendent must be encouraged to be transparent. When there is a problem concerning money, he needs to get out in front of the situation explaining to the public what is going on and why. The superintendent needs to hold monthly community meetings where he can speak to the citizens’ concerns and they can have their questions answered.
What are the three most important issues you would address if elected? How?
As a Board member my goals will be to concentrate on three critical issues: Innovation, Equity and Accountability. I will use these goals to close the achievement gap, raise the test scores, lower the rate of discipline referrals, lower the dropout rate, increase the graduation rate, and encourage technical-vocational programs that will prepare students for tomorrow’s challenging careers.The following steps should be considered as ways to close the achievement gap: using different educational and instructional teaching methods, providing additional financial resources, incorporating innovative programs that have been successfully used in other school districts and providing additional training for teacher.
Financial oversight, particularly of the district’s credit spending, has been in the spotlight in recent months. Would you have supported a more extensive audit of district spending? Why or why not?
The board has agreed to a one-year audit which will review the credit card spending. I would have not supported a more extensive audit. The district has a financial department which creates, directs and monitors the county’s budget. Because tax payer’s money is involved the department is audited on a regular schedule. To support a more extensive audit would be duplicating what others have already done and spending money that could be going towards programs for students. The credit card issue exists because many unfounded rumors were allowed to fester. The facts were not clearly articulated. The superintendent must be more transparent. If there is an issue he needs to get out in front of the situation and let the public know exactly what is going on. I also would suggest the superintendent hold monthly community meetings at different schools. He then would be able to inform the public first-hand about the county’s programs and answer questions.
How many Beaufort County Board of Education meeting have you attended in the past two years? What meeting did you last attend?
I have attended approximately six board meetings in the past two years. The last board meeting I attended was on September 5, 2017.
Have you been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give the details.
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give details.
I had to file bankruptcy about 10 years ago on two rental properties I owned. My tenants were unable to pay their rent and I was unable to sell the properties.
Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?
I was an under-served, low-income student, so I know how it feels to be an underachiever. I believe that this experience has made me more sensitive to the needs of these students. When I was a struggling student, someone gave me a helping hand, and now that I am successful, it is my responsibility to continue to serve my community in a way that balances the learning scales, thereby benefiting all students.
Election Day for Beaufort County District 6 Seat
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Precinct information for each community:
▪ Sun City, Pinckney Hall, 114 Sun City Lane
▪ Chechessee 2, Church of the Palms, 1425 Okatie Highway
▪ Bluffton 2D, Pritchardville Elementary, 9447 Evan Way
▪ Bluffton 4A, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 351 Buckwalter Parkway
▪ Rose Hill, Colleton Point Club House, 1 Pavilion Point Drive
Unsure of which precinct you live in?
▪ You can also vote at the Beaufort Elections and Registration Office, 15 John Galt Road, or at the Bluffton Elections and Registration Office at 61B Ulmer Road.
▪ For more information, contact the Beaufort Elections and Registration Office at 843-255-6900 or the Bluffton Elections and Registration Office at 843-255-6940.