WSFCS Board of Education Candidate Responses, Steve Wood, District 2

Published 12:10 am Thursday, November 3, 2022

Steve Wood, District 2, Republican

1) Describe any experience you have in a public school environment, whether that be as a teacher, administrator, coach, staff member, current member of the school board, substitute teacher, PTA involvement, etc.

I grew up in Forsyth County. I attended Old Richmond Elementary School and North Forsyth High School. One of my first jobs — off the farm — was as a student school bus driver back in the day. Not only did I learn a lot about responsibility and discipline in that job, but I also gained an understanding of student transportation dynamics. I also drove a school bus in my college years. My children attended WSFC public schools and we have two grandchildren in the system currently. My first job out of college was as an education aid at RJ Reynolds High School. I am the youngest of 10 children, so over the years many of my family members have been, are now retired from, and are still working in the system as teachers, administrators and staff members.

2) What do you feel are the biggest issues facing students, teachers and staff at schools currently and within your authority as a member of the BOE, how would you work to fix them?

There are so many challenges facing our schools — safety, teacher recruitment and retention, discipline, student achievement, post-pandemic adjustment and many more. During the last seven months of campaigning, safety of their children is the biggest issue parents have expressed. I am grateful to the teachers and staff for all they do to monitor and keep our schools safe. A safe and welcoming, learning environment is critical for effective education. A collaborative and layered approach is critical to maintaining a safe school environment and should include: Specially trained School Resource Officers (SRO) posted in every school; campus access and control, single door entry; aggressive screening of all visitors; internal campus safety should include a rigorously implemented student code of conduct that discourages and punishes disruptive student behavior where students are safe from violence, harassment, bullying and the influence of substance abuse; and zero tolerance for gang influence.

3) What would you do as a member of the BOE to establish relationships with the schools and students outside of being present for all meetings?

I want to affirm transparency and accountability to the parents, taxpayers and all stakeholders in the education enterprise. If there is a $16 million “mistake” in the budget (even a $750 million budget), taxpayers have a right to know the who, what, where, when, how and why of it — even if the media is incurious about it. If I am elected, I would like to organize and activate something like a districtwide Parents and Citizen Advisory Council which could advise and consult with me on issues of concern. I hope the board will work collaboratively to maximize public input into board decisions. I would like for board members to have access to an office space accommodation to facilitate meeting with constituents. I would like to see the board consider requesting the Legislative Delegation for a redistricting plan to establish single member districts (with perhaps 2-3 at-large members) for board election. Single member districts would enhance accountability of board members and bring citizens closer to the elected board.