Walker: empower teachers, students

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, November 3, 2012

It is understandable that Carolyn Walker has waited several years to throw her hat into the ring for a seat on the Beaufort County Board of Education. She has had a busy schedule.
“It is something that I have thought about for years,” Walker said in explaining why she waited to run. “While my children were in the school system as students, I always felt like that could be a conflict in being involved on both sides of the fence. As a parent and as a PTA board member, you didn’t also need to be on the school board.”
Now that her children are grown, Walker decided the time was right to advance to the next level. She will face Bill Sprenkle for the District 7 seat on the Beaufort County Board of Education in Tuesday’s general election.
Walker, who is not one to complain without taking action, hopes to empower teachers, parents and students for the betterment of all.
“I think they need another board member that will advocate for teachers and empower them as well as empower the students,” Walker said. “I’m very disappointed in where Beaufort County stacks up in education compared to some other counties in the state. I’m not somebody to sit back and complain. If you’re going to complain, then you need to do something.”
Walker believes that you cannot improve the educational process without the support of parents.
“One of the big issues to me is parent involvement or the lack of parent involvement,” Walker said. “We’ve got some great, great parents in Beaufort County who work tirelessly to make their community schools the best they can be. But we also have some parents that appear to be very uninvolved and detached from what’s going on in the school until something goes wrong.”
According to Walker, the secret to school success is communication. She has been evaluating how other effective school systems in the state address the issue and most have a solid foundation anchored in community involvement.
“I’m all for studying how other schools are doing it,” Walker said. “I’ve been doing a lot of research, since I decided to run, on school systems that are really in the upper echelon of, not just testing, but in overall involvement and how a community really rallies behind their school system. I think our community can do better. It’s not just about what your child is doing in school, but it’s important to Beaufort County that all the kids are doing well in school, and so Beaufort County needs to get involved. Those are the things that I’m going to push. I think we’ve got to communicate more, I think we have to empower our teachers, I think we have to empower the students.”
One initiative on Walker’s agenda involves the backing of the business community. She would like local businesses to allow employees three hours a month of personal time to volunteer in the schools, an idea that worked with Read Across America.
“I strongly believe that we also have to solicit from some of our businesses in town to encourage their employees to volunteer. You’re going to know a lot more of what’s going on in your child’s class if you actually visit that class.”
With her personal background, Walker brings an extraordinary level of enthusiasm for Beaufort County Schools.
“I’m so eager to learn and I’m so eager to try to make a difference in Beaufort County,” Walker said. “I began my career in Beaufort County Schools as a cheerleader for the Washington Pam Pack and I feel like I’ve been cheering ever since.”