More than 80 people attended the Friday evening forum hosted by the Payson School Board for a chance to interact with all five candidates for superintendent.
Principals Donna Haught, Will Dunman, Kathe Ketchem and Tonto Basin’s Superintendent Mary Lou Weatherly sat in the audience with teachers, parents and concerned residents to hear each candidate’s response to 10 questions asked by the community of the five superintendent hopefuls.
When asked how their policies had improved a school district’s extra-curricular activities —particularly sports, Ron Hitchcock spoke of creating sports foundations to raise money for initiating track, football and golf teams. Kathy Egolf from Indiana didn’t want to take credit for her school’s basketball team going to state finals the second year of her term, but she said she did hire the coach.
Candidates were then asked to explain their vision on technology in the classroom. All candidates agreed technology is part of our children’s future — how to pay for it is another matter. Tim Creal from Custer, S.D. said his district has one-on-one computing because of grants. Karin Ward, from the Deer Creek School District, wanted to find a way to use the technology kids already bring to school to teach technology.
“Kids are using it anyway — let’s get our kids to use what they have,” said Ward.
When asked how they would integrate the new federally mandated common core standards, Paul Roads, a superintendent who came to the job after specializing in special education, said, “The government has high expectations but doesn’t have the funding to implement the program.” The other candidates consistently agreed that integrating the state educational requirements with common core standards would cost money and time.
The other questions included sharing a brief history, how the candidate felt about gifted and talented education, how they would boost morale and improve the strengths of staff, how their staff would candidly describe them, their vision on educating the whole child, and why they wanted to be Payson’s superintendent when the district faces such challenges.
All of the candidates expressed their gratitude for the interest the community shows in its schools.
“To approve a 10 percent override on taxes to help the schools says a lot,” said Creal.