My Turn, Susan Cox: Studer is school board member community needs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 11, 2020

By Susan Cox

I was elected to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education in 2012. It has been a very rewarding experience and a highlight of my life. I taught school for many years; so, serving on the school board was another way to serve students. It also gave me an opportunity to give back to the community that I have come to love. Thank you to all those that elected and supported me.

I have been very conflicted in my decision to seek another term on the school board. I feel that our district is making a monumental move in the direction of much-needed change in education. Rowan-Salisbury was given the opportunity to be the only renewal school district in North Carolina; thus, we have the same flexibility as charter schools. This flexibility allows the system to allocate monies where the system deems necessary instead of the state determining allocation. This kind of change has been important to me since I first ran for the board.

Also, Rowan-Salisbury is adopting a competency-based grading system for which I have advocated for 30-plus years. This will allow all students to pursue their education in a timeframe that gives them optimum opportunity. For students that need a more challenging pace, that is provided. For students that need a slower pace, their needs are met also. This type grading allows more individual instruction. I have been extremely excited and privileged to be a part of that.

I also need to commend Dr. Lynn Moody for her unfailing efforts to provide a change in our system as superintendent. She and her staff have worked tirelessly to develop a directional system and accountability system that is a model for all school systems.

When I learned that Ms. Jennifer Studer had filed for seat No. 7, I began to rethink a re-election. I was reluctant to contact her because that move would be very unconventional. However, she graciously agreed to meet with me.

When I met with Ms. Studer, I was convinced that she would move our system in the direction we need to go. She supports competency-based grading and, as her platform shows, she has a knowledgeable concept of that type of grading. She understands that grades do not reflect mastery of a concept, and that application of the concept is true mastery. Ms. Studer realizes the flexibility this type grading gives to the student and the benefit to the student.

She will move the school system forward as a renewal district. She sees the gift that has been given to students through this change in flexibility granted by the state. Renewal granted the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education the decision-making power in areas of money allocation, calendar and employment. Ms. Studer recognizes the ability to meet individual school needs by allocating money according to each school’s needs. She sees how renewal and the directional system will develop academic and interpersonal skills of students. 

I see no reason for both of us to compete for seat No. 7. I have confidence that Ms. Studer will be the board member that this community needs.

I have very much appreciated having the honor to serve the county and the school system in my terms on the board. Eight years is long enough. I have had the opportunity to serve. Now that opportunity needs to be given to Ms. Studer. I am no longer seeking seat No. 7 on the school board. I am supporting Ms. Studer for the seat. I ask all of you to do the same.

Again, my heartfelt thanks to all of you in the Rowan community that have supported me throughout my tenure on the school board.

Susan Cox is a member of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education, representing the southeast area. She is conceding her re-election bid and endorsing her opponent.