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Board of Education Candidates: W.G. “Dub’ Potts

The Candidate

Name

W.G. “Dub” Potts

Age

71

Address

Homer Potts Road, Mocksville

Family

Wife, Diana; daughter, Brooke Preslar; son, David Potts

Education

Appalachian State University, Ed.S., 1988; NC A&T State University, master’s in school administration, 1984; Appalachian State University, bachelor’s degree, 1972; Davidson County Community College, 1968 until transfer to Appalachian

Occupation

Superintendent, Davie County Schools 2001-2006; Executive Director of Operations, DCS, 1996-2001; principal at William R. Davie, North Davie Junior High, Davie County High, 1985-1996; teacher-coach, Thomasville High, 1972-1984

In the Community

• Past chair and current board member, Smart Start of Davie

• Elder and member of committees, Hillsdale Baptist Church

• Member N.C. School Board Association, board of directors

• Davie County Board of Education

• State Employees Credit Union Advisory Board

• Active member Davie-Mocksville Gideons

Why did you decide to seek public office?

Potts: I want to give back to a community that has given so very much to me, as I was fortunate to spend 25 years in Davie County Schools as a school administrator.  I have truly enjoyed being a part of the Board of Education the past four years. We are fortunate to be recognized as one of the best public schools system in North Carolina. Public school education has been a priority with me since I first entered the education career 40+ years ago. I experienced integration, student accountability, changes in principal leadership, improvement in teacher education programs, virtual school instruction, and a wide range of other program impacts, and want to be sure we continue to stay at the top in our opportunities for all students and staff.  I want to be a part of a .system that is working to offer every child a sound basic education while we continue to offer more broad opportunities on how we deliver the product of education

What do you think are the most significant challenges facing the school system, and how do you intend to address those challenges?

Potts: Public schools are a reflection of our society.   To say there is a number one issue to deal with over the next four years is practically impossible.  Today it’s Covid 19 and public unrest but we are making so much progress that once a vaccine is developed, Covid-19 may not be the major concern.  Civil unrest is also a society problem but effects are always felt in local schools.  My role is modeling appropriate behavior, treating others with respect, and working with the administration to develop academic plans that addresses the issues.

We must NEVER forget the broader issues of safety and protection of our most valuable resource, our children!    We are blessed in Davie County but we must never take this for granted and keep school safety in every decision.  As a Board member I will continue to support funding for staff and student safety needs and developing protocol (example locked doors, buzz-in systems, visitor sign in and out procedures, Covid-19 procedures, etc. etc.) for all of us to follow.  Although sometimes inconvenienced, when it comes to student protection it is expected by all to meet the procedural requirements.

One of the most pressing issues in all North Carolina school systems over the next four years is meeting the demand for quality teachers.  Teacher retirements, lack of college students choosing teaching as a profession, shortage of men entering the profession, the shortage of and cost of child care in Davie County, and lack of financial incentives to enter the profession are but a few of the obstacles we face.  As a Board member, I would love to have the opportunity to be a part of developing and expanding an affordable Five-Star, quality child care center for preschool children.  The work that currently takes place at each pre-K facility is outstanding and more is needed.  Those children who attend the best child care facilities are often ahead of their peers when they enter kindergarten.

An ongoing challenge is increasing the number of students who are prepared to enter the community college. While we have an excellent academic program for those who will be seeking a four year degree, preparation for the community college may be the best way for students to prepare for entrance into the job market. Local businesses and DCCC have demonstrated the willingness to work with DCS to develop pathways for students to be ready to enter the work force once the high school and community college education is completed. I anticipate that trend will expand.

As a Board of Education member, I will work with leaders, both in the private sector and elected governmental oficials, to find ways to keep teachers in the classroom.  We are fortunate in Davie County because one consistent goal among our current Board is “let’s do what‘s right for children”, even with a limited supply of funds.   We must continue to build on the recent growth in positive working relationships between the Davie County Commissioners and the Davie County Board of Education.

What are the next major construction needs for the schools?

Potts: The citizens of Davie County spoke loudly and clearly when the high school construction bond was passed. Part of that message by Board members who were serving during that time was to convert the former media/cultural arts building, located at 1200 Salisbury Road in Mocksville, to a central office facility. That move will reduce the operational costs of utility and maintenance and allow the county to close the current Cherry Street facility and many parts of the Central Davie Campus. As we are now operating, the departments are spread over multiple locations which could be combined and operate more efficiently and economically. The current superintendent’s office is not located in the Board of Education meeting facility.   

There are other needs that could be met with some renovations. An example is Davie County does not have enough facilities for child care. We have parents who would love to work outside the home (once Covid -19 is not our driving force) but have no affordable child care opportunities. Additionally, with the aforementioned teacher recruiting difficulties, it could be a huge drawing card for young teachers, who are also parents, to remain with DCS if their child had access to a well-staffed, five star child care facility.  Our largest employers in the county frequently struggle with getting employees because there are no child care facilities with openings.

Other construction needs are primarily renovations and ongoing facility capital maintenance. The use of virtual instruction requires on-going capital cost. We have been fortunate to have modern, up to date, clean facilities and we must not allow the facilities to become out dated. Two of our middle schools were opened 40+ years ago and have been well maintained but just as with our personal house, major retrofits and updates are required every 20-25 years.  We must be proactive and keep our facilities up to date so we can provide the best education for our children.   

Other Issues

Potts: I am honored to get the opportunity to continue to be a part of public schools which has had my devotion for nearly forty years.  I have been fortunate to have experienced many roles in the public education sector.  I was a classroom teacher and high school coach for twelve years prior to going into school administration.  After returning to the area where I grew up, Davie County, I have served in many positions which have given me a full glimpse of the Davie County Schools’ system.  I served at the school level as an assistant principal and as principal of William R. Davie, North Davie and Davie County High School.  In the DCS central administration I served in many capacities from Director through the Superintendent.  After retirement, I consulted in other school systems on a part time basis and have stayed abreast of the issues in public education.  I volunteer at Cornatzer Elementary School on a daily basis.

Since I retired in 2010 have been involved in numerous leadership positions and programs.  Among the non-school positions I have served are Smart Start of Davie County Board of Directors, United Way, Davie Soil and Water Conservation Board, SECU Advisory Board,  the North Carolina School Board Association Board of Directors,  and I have held numerous positions of leadership in my church.  I have operated a family farm since 2011 so I see feel the economic influence that Covid-19 has on a small business.  As a former Mocksville Rotarian, I have seen how Davie County leaders volunteer their time and resources to the betterment of public schools.  I continue to be an active member of the Mocksville-Davie Gideon Camp.

Now that we have a high school facility that we all can be proud of, we must not think there are no needs for the next several years.    Our schools and central office staffs are very service oriented.   I will be honored to work with staffs, service organizations, parents and students to make sure every child has a safe, caring, properly equipped place to learn.  Our kids are our future.  Each graduation class will produce some CEO’s, lawyers, doctors, teachers, technicians, and hundreds of other positions that haven’t been created yet. I want to be a small part toward helping prepare them with a solid foundation to contribute to the best nation in the world. This generation is as deserving of the opportunities provided by a solid public education as I received.   As a candidate on the Republican Party ticket, I need and appreciate all citizen’s vote.  I encourage each of you to know your candidate and know which Board of Education candidates might be an appropriate role model for your child, your grand-children, nieces, nephews, etc.  The elected Board members will be establishing local policy and direction for the next four years.  Your vote will help me to fill that role.