By Joyce Lavene
More than 50 people turned out for an event billed as an education conversation on Monday night. Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers and Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor hosted the event at the Matthews Town Hall. All of the Mint Hill Board of Commissioners came out as well as most of the Matthews Town Council.
The idea was to provide a forum for residents in both towns to meet and talk with new District Six school board member Amelia Stinson-Wesley who was appointed to the board last month. The vice chair and chair of CMS were also in attendance to answer questions.
Mayor Taylor began the forum by saying that everyone in the room had a vested interest in the educational needs of the area. He also proclaimed that CMS schools, and District Six schools in particular, were among the best in the country.
Stinson-Wesley had already met with both mayors and has spent her first month on the job talking with educators and parents about how best to serve the district.
Taylor said she will be the district’s voice on the board now that she has taken over that position. This seat was previously filled by Tim Morgan who became an at-large member of the board. He was in Washington, DC and could not attend the event.
Stinson-Wesley said she has been “eating, sleeping and breathing school board” for the past month. She said board members have been very welcoming and she felt blessed to be there. She urged residents to send her e-mails with their questions or concerns. She also has a Facebook page ‘Amelia Stinson-Wesley CMS Board of Education District 6 Rep’ where she will leave messages about things that are going on and residents can reach her.
Stinson-Wesley updated things going on with the board. A superintendent profile and ad are ready to go out in the search for a new superintendent to take the place of Dr. Peter Gorman. The application deadline will be March 8 for that position. She said the board also approved a contract for the replacement school at Bain.
Stinson-Wesley asked questions of the group and handed out index cards for questions they might want to ask of her. Some of the good things about district schools that were brought up by the group included good teachers, parental involvement and not many discipline problems. The group was also enthusiastic about the new schools in the area.
Stinson-Wesley said the towns in her district, including Pineville where she is from, have been underrepresented as a whole on the school board. She said that was one of the reasons she decided to fill the district seat.
The idea of Pre K through eight schools was brought up by Stinson-Wesley who said the board is looking at the model as a way to save money and relieve overcrowding.