A former educator with more than three decades of experience in the classroom will run for the Beaufort County Board of Education’s District 6 seat on a platform focused on improving test scores, boosting graduation rates and encouraging technical-vocational programs.
Susan Gordon, a 67-year-old Sun City Hilton Head resident, will campaign for the Okatie and Sun City Hilton Head seat, which became vacant in late June after the resignation of board member Patricia Felton-Montgomery. The special election will be held Oct. 17.
She filed paperwork with the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County, making her the second candidate in the race. John Dowling, another Sun City Hilton Head resident, announced his candidacy in early August.
Gordon has never served as an elected official, she said, so she sees running for school board as “the next step in my evolution of working for students.”
She spent 15 years as a classroom teacher in New Jersey and Georgia school districts. She spent another 15 years as a reading intervention teacher in two Georgia school systems, according to her announcement papers.
After moving to Beaufort County in 2007, she taught adult education classes for a year before receiving a promotion to be the program’s site director. She served in that role for two years until 2012.
Gordon is currently retired. She is vice president of Heroes of the Lowcountry and also on the board of Backpack Buddies, an organization that supplies students with food for the weekends.
“I was an under-served, low-income student, so I know how it feels to be an underachiever,” Gordon wrote in her announcement papers. “I believe that this experience has made me more sensitive to the needs of these students.”
She said she also sees a rebuilding of public trust as a cornerstone of her campaign.
“Be transparent and let (parents) know what we’re doing” Gordon said, suggesting a parent survey on school start times, a divisive issue she heard come up several times in the handful of meetings she said she has attended in the past few months.
Gordon’s resume, according to her announcement papers, includes a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in health science from Jersey City State College and a doctoral degree in education from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minn.