Steven Gatlin
PA-PAC Questionnaire for Durham Public School
Board of Education 2014
Candidate Name: Steven Gatlin
4. How should students be assessed? What role should standardized tests play in evaluating
students? Multiple measures o...
and “I want my child to appreciate diversity.” In order to address these concerns, DPS
should waste no time defending wh...
Steven Gatlin
2512 Yorkdale Ct. Durham, NC 27707 919-428-5548 steven.gatlin4@gmail.com
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Steven Gatlin 2014 PA-PAC Questionnaire


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Steven Gatlin, candidate for Durham School Board of Education District 3, 2014 People's Alliance PAC Questionnaire

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Steven Gatlin 2014 PA-PAC Questionnaire

  1. 1. 1 Steven Gatlin PA-PAC Questionnaire for Durham Public School Board of Education 2014 Candidate Name: Steven Gatlin Address: 2512 Yorkdale Ct. Durham, NC 27707 E-mail address steven.gatlin4@gmail.com Phone: 919-428-5548 School Board 1. Why do you want to serve on the Durham Public School Board of Education? What is the role of a board member? I want to serve on the School Board because the service would marry my professional passion for education with my desire to contribute to Durham’s greatness. The role of a board member is to oversee the care and instruction of Durham’s most precious resource and investment – the students. All actions of the board and its members should be made with the interest of the students in mind. 2. The board will be involved in the hiring of a new superintendent. What should the search process look like? What qualities should the successful candidate possess? The process should be open, transparent, and should involve input from all stakeholders. I would like to see advising committees of parents, teachers, and community leaders created to recommend and advice the board before potential interviews. The new superintendent should have experience as a classroom teacher and administrative experience. His/Her main qualities should include: leadership, collaboration, communication, innovation, and vision. 3. How should teachers and administrators be evaluated? Are the current state standards effective? I would like to see a state-wide overhaul in the area of evaluation because the current state standards are ineffective. Research has concluded that using test scores alone, or relying too heavily on low frequency observations are ineffective methods for evaluating teachers. I believe that evaluations should be based on multiple measures of data, many of which should be created by individual schools according to the local populations, needs, and goals. National standardized tests can be used, but on even ground with the other measures. States and local districts do themselves a detriment when they create standardized tests for evaluation purposes alone. Teacher observations have to be consistent, multiple, and grounded in genuine feedback and growth potential. The ultimate goal of teacher evaluations cannot be to rank a school’s teachers from best to worst, but instead to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for professional growth and then asses that growth. Another research validated, but untapped resource concerning evaluations is student surveys. What students think and how they feel about schools, teachers, and instruction should be included in all systems of evaluation.
  2. 2. 2 4. How should students be assessed? What role should standardized tests play in evaluating students? Multiple measures of data should be used. When it comes to assessing student learning individual growth is the best factor for assessing students. National standardized tests are valid for ranking students across the nation, but should fall below growth data when used to evaluate individual students. As far as day-to-day assessment, teachers should be empowered to assess their students as they see fit. No one knows students better than their teachers. Teachers are the professional in the classroom concerning assessment and should be trusted as such. 5. In spite of the introduction of magnet schools, it appears that Durham Public Schools have become increasingly segregated by socioeconomic status and race. What are your thoughts on this situation? Magnet schools are great laboratories for innovation and creation, but are one of the elements perpetuating segregation. To address this, professionals at the school level must engage in the type of dialogue about race and poverty that leads to respect and inclusion. From an administrative perspective, we must make sure that we close the achievement gap and guarantee that all students have equal opportunity for academic excellence. 6. Does DPS need to make changes to its school suspension policy? If so, what changes would you work for as a Board Member? Yes, but this issue runs deeper than the current policy. This is an issue of school culture and climate that must be addressed before an actual “suspendable” behavior has occurred. As a board member I would like to encourage each school to establish restorative justice programs as an alternative to automatic suspension. These programs could be formed at the school level and then improved year to year through research and collaboration amongst schools. 7. What is your opinion about the Charter School movement? I am highly cautious and skeptical towards for-profit charter schools. However, I support the progressive public- charter school movement. Parents and students deserve to have alternate choices in districts they deem inefficient. Charter schools are many parents’ choice because they operate free of the central office bureaucratic entanglement that suffocates the efforts and intentions of teachers at traditional public schools. Charter schools and traditional schools can work collaboratively for the students of Durham. 8. What is your opinion about school vouchers? I do not want to see public tax dollars moved into the hands of private schools. I believe the voucher program to be unconstitutional. The current public charter options guarantee all students the access to a quality education without the need for vouchers. 9. As a board member how would you lead the decisions addressing the needs of the students who are at risk for low achievement and dropping out? I would recognize, highlight, and celebrate the efforts already made on this issue by teachers and schools across the district. Through those examples I would encourage a replication of successful practices based on research and collaboration. Teachers desire and are capable of addressing this issue but they must be empowered to do so first. 10. Why do you think that parents choose to take their children out of the public schools in Durham or don’t choose them at all? How would you address this issue? I have asked many parents this question, and their answers are varied but include: “safety,” “lack of attention to my child,” “not the best option for my child,” “I prefer smaller class sizes,” “trust,”
  3. 3. 3 and “I want my child to appreciate diversity.” In order to address these concerns, DPS should waste no time defending whether or not these concerns are valid but instead accept perception as reality and tackle these issues head on at the individual school level. 11. If you could do three things to improve Durham Public Schools, what would they be? 1.) Teacher empowerment. I would create collaborative teacher led committees across the district to research, advise, recommend, and enact policies that address student needs. 2.) Central Office Leadership and financial audit. I would audit the leadership structure and hierarchy of the central office with intent to restructure downtown in an effort to maximize student achievement and financial resources. 3.) I would make sure every student has a computer for the school day and at home. Personal Information 12. Please describe your educational background, noting any degrees and honors you have earned. (skip if resume included) resume attached in email 13. Do you have children? Where do they or did they attend school? I have a 5 month old, Greyson. 14. Please describe your adult employment history (skip if resume included) resume attached in email
  4. 4. Steven Gatlin 2512 Yorkdale Ct. Durham, NC 27707 919-428-5548 steven.gatlin4@gmail.com CERTIFIED SECONDARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER (6-12) I am a dedicated high school teacher and coach interested in career opportunities that will allow me to further develop as a professional. I offer a proven track record of commended performance teaching students in grades 9- 12. My core philosophy involves optimizing student success by building and fostering meaningful relationships. Core Competencies Classroom Management Creative Lesson Planning Curriculum Development Research Driven Student Empowerment Teacher-Team Collaboration Vertical and Horizontal Alignment Special Needs Students/IEPs Teaching Experience Voyager Academy High School Social Studies Teacher 8/11 to present Curriculum Specialist 8/12 to present DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS Social Studies Teacher (9-12), 1/06 to 6/11 Substitute Teacher (9-12), 9/05 to 12/05 I moved to North Carolina and was hired as a full-time sub in September of 2005 at Jordan H.S. In the spring semester I took a job at Northern and have worked there ever since. While at Northern I have taught honors, standard, and repeater-level World History. I also created and taught two sections a year of Philosophy. Key Contributions: In 2007 I developed and submitted the philosophy curriculum to the central office for course addition. The course: “Introduction to Western Philosophy” has been taught by myself at Northern H.S. ever since. I have been on the forefront of Northern’s conversion to a Professional Learning Community. I served on the initial transition committee, attended a national training workshop, and logged 30+ hours of professional development. I have served as the World History Team Leader for 3 consecutive years. From 2008 to 2011 I voluntarily taught the “not true freshman” World History course. I attempted to unify the other NTF teachers into a horizontal team of common accountability and practices. Consistently commended for ability to redirect students exhibiting behavior problems by replacing disruptive, unproductive patterns with positive behaviors. I was frequently referenced as a mentor to beginning teachers for classroom management. Served on various school committees and taskforces focused on curriculum development, textbook review, and professional development. My greatest effort s were spent serving on the Struggling Students Committee. I coached both football and baseball at Northern. Education UNNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI — Oxford, MS M. Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction, 2005 UNNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI – Hattiesburg, MS BA in History Education, 2003 “…Mr. Gatlin has a great knowledge of his curriculum. He has a good rapport with his students and the students feel comfortable asking him questions and interacting in class.” “…Mr. Gatlin has created a positive, fostering classroom environment where it is clear students feel they can succeed.” J. Colclough Former Principal Northern High School “Mr. Gatlin uses instruction strategies that accommodate diverse learners. Students were encouraged to be responsible for their own learning and to be actively engaged in class. J. Dennis Former Assistant Principal Northern H.S. “Coach Gatlin’s classes are crowded, yet the delivery of instruction allows the students to learn in a seemingly small and intimate setting.” K. Bonner Former Principal Northern H.S.