Davie Board of Education GOP Candidates: Lori Sluder Smith

Published 4:12 pm Monday, April 23, 2018

Why did you decide to seek public office?

Smith: I am running for a seat on the Board of Education because of my passion for education. I believe a strong school system is the cornerstone of a healthy and thriving community, now and in the future. I have volunteered in Davie County schools for the past 10 years. Davie County has a strong school system and I want to continue a tradition of excellence by being an advocate for public education, teachers, and students. I would like to maintain the good working relationship between the school board and county commissioners to ensure that the schools are adequately funded so that students throughout the county have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential and teachers feel appreciated and valued for the important work they do. Working with the current board members, we will continue to provide a great educational foundation for all students in the county.

What is the No. 1 issue facing the Davie County School System and what is your plan to handle this issue?

Smith: I believe the number one issue for all schools, including Davie County, is the lack of state funding and teacher retention. It is hard to attract new teachers and keep existing teachers when they are underpaid, feel unappreciated and not provided the resources needed to teach. Unfortunately, the legislature continues to decrease educational funding, which affects the classroom, teachers, and students. I will advocate for appropriate funding from state and local representatives. I want to be a part of the solution that helps address this and other issues our school system faces.

Should costs of extra security be paid by the school system or the county?

Smith: The safety of our schools is a community-wide issue, not just a school-system issue. It will take resources and funding from various sources to ensure the safest environment for our students. The schools want to be a welcoming place for parents and visitors, but most importantly, a safe learning environment. We are fortunate to live in a community that cares so deeply about the students and I believe the school system and county can work together to find a solution that ensures the safety of our youngest citizens.

As a parent with students currently in Davie county schools, I am pleased that some new safety measures are already being implemented. Recently, a Safe Schools Task Force was created that consisted of the Superintendent, school principals, parents, school board members, law enforcement officers, and a school nurse. Based on recommendations from the task force group, the school board has authorized the installation of new safety equipment and procedures. Each school now has a Buzz In system. All exterior doors are locked and visitors must now be buzzed in by school staff before entering the school. The board also agreed to support the hiring of two additional School Resource Officers. The school system applied for a state grant that could help fund the salaries and training of two School Resources Officers

The county has an anonymous hotline for reporting suspicious persons or activity. This service has been in place for several years and is paid for by the Davie County Sherriff’s Department. Students are encouraged to report any suspicious activity they see in school or amongst peers.

As they say, it takes a village to raise children. I think it is true in this case. It will take funding, along with resources, communication, expertise, and collaboration from all departments – the school system, law enforcement, EMS and local officials to keep our students and schools safe.

So, the costs of extra security for our schools should be funded not only by school system, but by all local agencies. It is one of the most important issues we currently have in the schools and everyone needs to work together to ensure the safety of our students.

Other Issues

Smith: I am a native of Davie County. I grew up here and attended Davie County schools from elementary to high school. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1997. After living in Greensboro a few years, my husband and I decided to move back to Davie county to raise our two girls because of the great public school system.

I am actively involved in the community and have volunteered in the schools for the past 10 years. I serve on parent advisory councils for both Ellis Middle and Davie High School.

I also serve on the Board for Davie County GoFar, which is a running program offered to 2nd-8th grade students at most schools throughout the county. I have been a coach at Ellis middle and Shady Grove elementary schools for the past 8 years. I am a runner and really enjoy coaching and inspiring these young students. It is so great to see them set goals, work hard, and accomplish them.

This past year, I have become actively involved in the Hunger Fighers’ food assistance program at the high school. I volunteer several times a month delivering food to the school’s food pantry. I have organized neighborhood food drives, helped promote the program and raise awareness of the needs in our county. I am very passionate about helping meet these students’ basic needs of food, shelter and clothes.

My work experience, 20 years in the financial services industry, has provided me with insight and knowledge of budgeting and making wise investment decisions. I plan to use my financial background to make good financial decisions, while also strongly advocating for financial support from local and state representatives.

I want to continue being an advocate for students and to support our great school system by being on the Board of Education. I would greatly appreciate your vote!