Byrd said she would be a voice for parents, teachers

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — Alisha Byrd said it was her passion for youth and children that prompted her to run for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education’s Seat 5.

Byrd cited her work in human resources — both for Livingstone College and as an analyst for the City of Salisbury — as well as her work with Gemstones Academy, as skills she could bring to the board.

“I think I could make a vital difference,” she said.

During her work with Gemstones, Byrd said she heard the worries and concerns of parents and students alike — and said that many felt like their voices weren’t being heard.

“I want to be the voice of the unheard students, teachers and parents . . . because everyone has a valid opinion, care and concern,” she said.

When it comes to issues, Byrd said a major one is finding a way to construct a curriculum that meets students’ individual needs and keeps them engaged and encourages parental interaction.

“We live in a very diverse community where the needs of every student must be met,” Byrd said.

When it comes to something like test results, Byrd said she understands the importance of standardized tests, but disagrees with the measures. Byrd said that a lot of students may feel uncomfortable if they’re forced to deal with information that hasn’t been discussed or taught in class.

“To me, it defines a child as a success or a failure and adds too much stress on children at the end of the school year. Standardized testing does not take into account a student’s capabilities and academic achievements; therefore, students should be evaluated before and throughout the school year in order to measure what they have learned,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Ensuring that students are properly prepared and comprehend the material would be imperative to student success.

As for dealing with teachers, Byrd said that she believes teachers should receive proper monetary compensation for the work they do.

And the hot-button consolidation issue?

“I don’t believe in it,” she said.

If old buildings need upkeep, Byrd said she’s sure that there are creative ways to improve them that don’t involve consolidation.

Byrd also referenced the current board’s push to update the system’s policy manual. She said she felt like her experience could contribute to the effort.

It wasn’t so long ago that Byrd was graduating from Salisbury High School herself. The Rowan County native attended Isenberg Elementary and Knox Middle, as well. All three schools are served by Seat 5, and Byrd said it would “mean a lot” to be able to serve the same schools she attended.

Byrd currently serves on the committee for Leadership Rowan, of which she is a graduate, and the board of trustees for Dorsett Chapel United Church of Christ in Spencer.

If elected, Byrd said it would be her prerogative to make sure that the voices of parents, students and teachers are heard, and that decisions are just and fair for all.

“We have to remember that all students are equally important,” she said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.