Harris seeks level playing field|Meet the candidate

Published 10:39 pm Thursday, October 14, 2010

Managing Editor

As a coach, Ray Harris knows that an even playing field is important for victory. As a Beaufort County Board of Education candidate, Harris would like to even the educational playing field to produce winning students.
“I think that the No. 1 issue that I see with the Beaufort County schools is the inconsistency amongst the three high schools,” Harris said. “That inconsistency flows through curriculum, through the monies received at each school. One thing that I would like to see is, starting with curriculum, there be an even playing field. I would like to see that a child attending Northside or Southside, that the same opportunities are afforded to them class-wise as a Washington High School student.”
Harris is challenging incumbent Cindy Winstead in the Nov. 2 nonpartisan election to represent District 8 on the Beaufort County Board of Education. Teacher recruitment and retention also figure significantly into his campaign platform.
“It seems that we are having an issue with attracting teachers into Beaufort County,” Harris said. “The current Board of Education is restricted in some means. When you look at Pitt, Craven and the surrounding area, there are a lot of things offered to teachers to attract them that we seem to be missing the boat in Beaufort County.
“One of the big issues the last election was school uniforms. I told people the issues facing the teachers and administrators are so much larger than school uniforms.”
As a parent with two children in Beaufort County schools, Harris believes a parental voice of reason on the board is crucial.
“I don’t have any gripes or complaints with the current school board,” Harris said. “As a parent, I want to take a more active role in the decision-making process. That is my main reason for running for the board. It just seems the folks making the decisions, a lot of folks on the school board, don’t even have a child in the school system. But I think sometimes they don’t think about some of the decisions and how they affect the children as well as the teachers and administration. The right thing is not always the popular thing.”
Harris conceded that his run for office was not a personal attack on his opponent, the incumbent Winstead.
“I don’t have any gripes or complaints with the job Cindy (Winstead) is doing,” Harris said. “It’s not by any means any type of vendetta or personal issue. I just decided the time was right and I wanted to run, and it’s no reflection on Cindy.
“My focus is to provide a safe environment and the ability for the child to excel to the best of their ability, and it ties back into being able to attract top-notch teachers into Beaufort County.”
NAME: Ray Harris
AGE: 39
ADDRESS: 4985 N. Boyd Road, Pinetown.
OCCUPATION: Outside salesperson for Municipal Emergency Services in Charlotte.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Washington High School in 1989.
FAMILY: Wife, Jeanne; two sons.
BEAUFORT COUNTY RESIDENT: Has lived in Beaufort County 39 years; Pinetown resident for 18 years.
LAST BOOK READ: ”Our Boys” by Joe Drape.
OTHER RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Involved with booster clubs at Bath Elementary School and Northside High School; assistant coach and parent volunteer.