The BFT has sent a questionnaire to all prospective BOE candidates. Here is Chris Wilson’s response. Responses from other candidates will be posted upon receipt.
1) What background or prior life experience qualifies you for a position on the Board of Education? What inspired you to run for a position on the BOE at this particular time?
I had a few impactful relationships with teachers and coaches growing up. I grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family situation and those teachers made a difference. Additionally I was able to obtain some post high school education which helped me understand the importance of education. I observed what was going on in town on the Board of education for many years and thought I could help with my business background and my experiences of raising 3 children in Bristol Schools. I have been involved in many organizations such as Bristol Rotary, United Way, McCabe Waters LL, The family Center Board of Directors, West Cemetery Board of Directors, Bristol Day Care Board of Directors and Bingham PTO. I believe all these life experiences have prepared me well to serve on Bristol BOE.
2) If elected, what would be your immediate priorities?
To make sure we have the policies and procedures in place that provide an education with breadth and depth to each of the 8400 student who enter our doors. I want to advocate for the resources necessary to provide a rigorous and comprehensive education. As our mission statement indicates I want each and every child to have an opportunity to go to some post secondary education. I know education is one of the only means to break the cycle of poverty. As a board member I want to be a catalyst for a quality educational system. I want our test scores to be improved so our students can come to realize they can compete with students from anywhere. Furthermore, I want to help the community realize we need to raise our collective expectations. We need to all accept the need to strive for excellence!
3) What is the role of parents and teachers in educational decision making? How will you seek out the input of each and maintain communication?
Both teachers and parents have an important collaborative role in the decision making. We must move beyond “them against us” mentality. We must work together and embrace what each has to offer. I will continue to network with those that I know and come in contact. I will possess an open mind and solicit input but at the end of the day I am going to make decisions which I believe are for the greater good of all students and our system in general. Even when we disagree with one another we must continue to have dialogue.
4) What are the dividing lines between parents, teachers, and administrators when it comes to accountability for student progress?
I don’t believe there are any dividing lines. While all have different divisions of responsibility, all are accountable. There is no paradigm that is a panacea. If there was, all school systems would adopt and implement. We must continue explore excellent new teaching strategies and curriculum advances as well as undergirding the tried and true methodologies. But even more importantly, we must find ways to engage students and their families. We need to sell the idea that education is critical to the student’s success. We must all acknowledge that teaching is an extremely difficult profession.
5) What is your opinion of the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) act and its legacy?
I believe the accountability underscored in the act has been positive. However the dogmatic approach towards the punitive sanctions imbedded within the act becomes necessarily counterproductive. I believe an adaptation to some kind of growth model would be much more beneficial. However the analysis and data which we now have is much better in helping is develop educational strategies to improve educational outcomes. One of the down sides of the act is that it has taken much of the local and state control away from local boards of education. I guess with $ comes control so I am not optimistic that the next generation of NCLB will provide much relief just different measuring sticks.
6) What else would you like our members to know about your candidacy?
I have the utmost respect and admiration for the tasks of the classroom teacher. When I was in college I did some student teaching. I have also worked with Junior Achievement at BCHS many years ago. Both experiences left me with the conclusion that a teacher has to sell to their students what they have to say is worth listening. I recognize the very difficult and challenging task. I will be as supportive as I can in developing policies and an environment whereby our teachers can become successful.