Editor’s note: Each of the 12 candidates running for a seat on the Brick Township Board of Education were sent a questionnaire by Brick Shorebeat. Their answers to our questions will be published on our site verbatim. We have disabled comments on profile articles to ensure the candidates’ statements speak for themselves and readers can decide, without additional, potentially anonymous commentary, their view on those running for office.
Full Name: Lois Turner
Current Age: 58
Business Administration Degree – Montclair State University
Production Control Certification – Bloomfield College
Do you currently receive any public salary compensation? If so, from what public agency?
Do not have any public salary compensation.
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
Have never held an elected office.
As it presently stands, the administration of the Brick school district remains in flux. What should the academic priorities of our administrators be over the next three years?
The academic priorities of our administrators, at all levels should be providing the best educational environment for all students allowing them to thrive. This should include availability of technology appropriate to the grade level, a comfortable environment within their classrooms and buildings and an effort by administrators and staff to continue to find ways to engage the parents and encourage more involvement.
At its core, a public school district will always be judged based on the achievement of its students. Though Brick’s performance has improved in some areas in recent years based on state data, that same data has repeatedly shown that the Brick district lags in the category of college and career readiness. In a competitive state like New Jersey, what specific initiatives should be put into place to ensure that Brick students will be able to compete in both college and the marketplace with their peers who reside in the state’s highest-performing districts?
One way to improve our academic performance would be to create academies within our high schools. The two academies offered by the Ocean County Vocational Schools are in Lakehurst and Manahawkin. Academies would serve two purposes, they would keep some of our best and brightest within our school district and they would also make our district more attractive to potential tuition paying students.
Most Board of Education meetings are extremely lightly attended. On some occasions, concern has been expressed that not enough parents are engaged in the academic aspects of the school experience. What specific ways can the district better engage parents and members of the community with the aim of bringing them into discussions on academic achievement?
It is very difficult for parents to attend board meetings as most families now have two working parents. As Board meetings are usually lengthy, it is not feasible for parents with younger children to attend. I have found that when an agenda item directly affects any one group, they will attend in large numbers. I feel that the schools are the better avenue for engaging parents in discussions of academic achievement. I would suggest that these meetings be held during convenient times for parents and that Board of Education members be invited to offer input or field questions and concerns. People who want to comment at Board meetings have to wait until the very end of the meeting. Perhaps changing up the agenda to allow comments at the beginning would encourage higher attendance and more discourse between the community and the board.
In recent years, some long-sought facilities improvements have been completed in various school buildings. With the condition and age of the district’s facilities continuing to be a chief concern among Brick residents, which improvements and/or upgrades would you prioritize, and which funding mechanism would you favor to finance those projects?
I would always prioritize improvements on a safety first basis. Anything that potentially could harm our students or staff should be first order of business. I would next look to improve overall comfort within our buildings. When the temperature within the classroom is extremely hot or cold, it is not conducive to productivity. As for financing, I would always look within our budget for items that could be reduced or cut without reducing services. Increasing taxes would always be a last resort.