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Local nurse challenging longtime incumbent for southeast area school board seat

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Jennifer Studer first decided to run for the southeast area seat on the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board because her son will be attending kindergarten on Thursday.

Studer made her campaign official late in the filing period — on Thursday, the day before the filing period ended. Studer, 43, is a nurse at the W.G. “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center and has been a nurse for more than 20 years. She earned a master’s degree in nursing education from East Carolina University in 2018.

She is a Rowan County native who graduated from South Rowan High School and is challenging incumbent and retired educator Susan Cox for the seat.

Photo submitted – Jennifer Studer with her son Stellan. Stellan will begin attending kindergarten on Thursday.

Studer said she is interested in the current and future education of students in the community and wants people to be proud of the school system. She wants to improve the overall quality of education in the district and support everyone connected to the district.

Like Cox, Studer said she is interested in competency-based education the district has been working to integrate since it obtained renewal status. She supports renewal and thinks local control is a good thing. She wants to improve teacher retention as well.

“Residents tend to know what’s best for the community,” Studer said.

Studer said her nursing career has has taught her about education modalities, compassion, integrity, critical thinking and assessment skills. She embraces change if it is for the better and thinks her perspective as a healthcare professional could be valuable amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nurses are constantly thinking and trying to improve situations around them,” Studer said.

On the whole, Studer said she thinks the district is heading in the right direction and wants creative discussion around redistricting and for the district to come to reasonable conclusions on facility issues.

COVID-19 makes her cautious as a parent, but she is not fearful and thinks the district has done a respectable job opening under plan B. Studer said she believes a virtual option for classes should exist but that in-person instruction is important for many students.

Her son is now entering kindergarten, but she saw her nieces struggle when schools shut down in March and they had to take on virtual learning. As an essential worker and a parent, she says she feels like she is not equipped to provide her son the curriculum amid the pandemic.

Studer said she believes in local public education and feels like it is valuable to children, providing socialization, activities and sports opportunities for students.

“I would like to be a voice for Rowan County children,” Studer said.

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