School board candidate Dean Hunter hopes to expand early college, vocational studies

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2018

SALISBURY — This election cycle, incumbent Dean Hunter is running unopposed for Seat 2 on the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.

Hunter, 44, a graduate of South Rowan High School and a Kannapolis native, is seeking his second term on the board.

Hunter said he ran four years ago because he thought the board needed a conservative, Christian voice — something he still feels is needed.

Over the next four years, he hopes to champion improved career and technical education programs and to put a dent in the district’s capital needs.

“I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress,” Hunter said of his time on the board.

But there’s still plenty of work to be done. In addition to expanding vocational programs, Hunter said he’d like to expand the early college program.

One of his biggest concerns is the district’s capital-needs issues. Aging facilities mean lots of repairs and high maintenance bills — something the school system can no longer afford, he said.

“I realize there’s a lot to do, and we need to find some ways to address those issues,” he said.

When it comes to Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ opportunity as the state’s first renewal district, Hunter said he’s hedging his bets.

“I was skeptical at first,” he said.

When state officials announced they were offering the district charter-like flexibilities, Hunter said he wondered why they wanted Rowan-Salisbury to be the guinea pig. As time passed, he has become cautiously optimistic.

“I think it’s an opportunity for our system to prove themselves,” he said.

RSS finally received the flexibilities it’s been asking for, and now it’s time to see if they’ll produce positive results. But fleshing out the nuts and bolts of district renewal is going to be a lot of work, Hunter said.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge to set parameters for schools, individual schools, so that everyone’s on our same page,” he said.

While schools now have individual freedom to design policies such as the calendar, Hunter said he’d like to see some consistency within school communities.

Hunter also plans to put his energy into ensuring that school resource officers — whether full or part time — are placed in all 20 of the district’s elementary schools.

Seat 2 represents the South district of Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

Hunter serves as senior pastor at Central Baptist Church in Kannapolis. He earned his undergraduate degree from Liberty University, where he also attended seminary. He lives in Landis with his wife of 10 years, Laura Jane, and their two children.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.