Challengers in Wilkes School Board race – Elkin Jonesville Tribune


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Wilkes County incumbent school board members Randall “Rudy” Holbrook and Sharron Nichols Huffman are facing several challengers in the upcoming election.
The May 17 primary will serve as the election for the Wilkes County Board of Education, a non-partisan race, and those elected will take office in June, ahead of the start of the 2022-23 school year.
Joining incumbents on the ballot are newcomers Jammie Y. Jolly, Teresa B. Ray, Tammy Stanley and Susan Marie Rochette.
Each candidate shared why they are seeking a seat on the Wilkes County Board of Education.
Sharron Huffman — “My name is Sharron Nichols Huffman and I am seeking re-election to the Wilkes County Board of Education. Currently, I am the only K-12 Teacher on the Board and am running for re-election because I feel it is important for students, teachers, and other school personnel to be represented by people who have walked in their shoes. I was a classroom teacher for 34 years, 32 years at North Wilkes High School, so I certainly understand much of what our students, teachers, and school personnel face each day.
I hope to continue the projects of school construction we are currently starting to work on. As always, our work to improve instruction and learning, thus improving test scores, will continue. We will continue to work on improving communication between all stakeholders in our school system. We will continue to make the safety of our students and school personnel a high priority. But as always, my main point of concern will be our students, to always put their welfare in all areas first in every decision I make.”

Rudy Holbrook — “I am seeking re-election to the Wilkes County School Board because I want to keep our schools on the conservative side. The most important thing to me is to keep our kids safe. I will work to keep our schools safe and free from all controversial issues such as the Critical Race Theory and 1619 curriculum that is being put out there.”

Jammie Jolly — “My name is Jammie Yarboro Jolly, and I am running for Wilkes County School Board this spring. I am 51 years old and have lived in Wilkes County my entire life.
For those who do not know me, let me tell you more about myself. First, I am a Christian who is saved by grace. I am the wife of Mark Jolly and mother of 2 adult children, Will Jolly and Tess Jolly Hartley, both of whom graduated from East Wilkes High School and attended Ronda Clingman Elementary and East Wilkes Middle School. I am a member of Macedonia Baptist Church in Ronda, NC where I have taught Sunday School for many years. I am also a breast cancer survivor! While I was in my fight with cancer, I decided that I wanted to leave a positive legacy. Most of my life has been spent in school. I have dedicated many hours to working with students, teachers and families trying to make a difference. I was raised to believe that we should always leave a place or situation better than we found it. So, what better way to do so than serve my community on the school board. As I have done for so many years, I will continue to put the time and effort to make Wilkes County Schools the best it can be.
I grew up in eastern Wilkes County on a small tobacco farm. I was raised to value hard work. I am the oldest of 2 children. My mom retired from Wilkes County Schools serving as a custodian at East Wilkes Middle School, her name is Mary Yarboro, (Mammy) and my dad retired from Rainbow Farm Center and his name is Bobby Yarboro. My brother’s name is Jeremy Yarboro. He and his wife have two sons who are students at East Wilkes High School.
Like both my children, I attended Ronda Clingman before graduating from East Wilkes High School in 1989. After high school I attended Surry Community College for two years, all the while working to save money to transfer to Appalachian State University. I graduated from Appalachian State University with a K-6 Elementary Education Degree in 1993. I graduated from East Carolina with a master’s degree in Library Science in 2012.
After graduating from Appalachian, I accepted a job in Wilkes County schools working as a Teacher Assistant at Fairplains Elementary School. In 1994 I accepted a job teaching 1st grade at my alma mater, Ronda Clingman Elementary. I served 18 years in the classroom teaching a variety of grade levels K-5. In 2012, I decided to step out of the classroom and serve Wilkes County Schools as an Instructional Specialist.
I worked in Wilkes County schools for a total of 28 years. During the last 8 years of working in Wilkes County, I was an assistant basketball coach at East Wilkes High School.
In 2021 I accepted the job of School Improvement Director at Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools where I currently work.
My entire adult life has been dedicated to children. I have learned so much and continue to learn daily. I have experienced public education from the student’s point of view, the parent’s point of view, the teacher assistant’s point of view, the teacher’s point of view and finally a central office point of view. I believe in public education and I have worked with some of the best around. I want us all to be the best we can be. I am a very hard worker, and I am a good listener. I approach each day with the mindset of being a problem solver, and not a finger pointer. My goal is to listen to all sides and make decisions based on what is best for the student.
These roles have taught me many things. One fact that I know to be true is; all kids can learn when given the opportunity in a safe environment. If elected, I promise my number one goal will be to make sure EVERY child is given the opportunity to learn and grow in a clean and safe environment. The student will always come first in any decision I am asked to make. I am a teacher at heart, but I am also a parent. I know that for teachers to meet the educational needs of their students, they need to have their needs met as well. They are on the front lines of public education and should be treated professionally and with respect. With that respect and professionalism comes accountability, of which I also believe to be very important.
My goals if elected:
● ensure the best possible education for ALL students
● ensure that ALL facilities are safe, clean and accessible to all students
● transparency between central office employees, teachers, students and parents
● accountability of all stakeholders
● be accessible to all school employees and parents
● build relationships with teachers, staff, parents, administrators and the community to make sure that we are ALL on the same page and that students are the center of everything we do.”

Teresa Ray — “Hello, I am Teresa Ray. I am running for Wilkes County Schools Board of Education. I am a Christian and Conservative. I want to be a new voice for our students, teachers, schools and community. I will guard against radical and immoral doctrine that tries to infiltrate our schools.
Please consider voting “Ray for Board of Education.
There are groups with massive money constantly pushing their agenda to indoctrinate and radicalize our younger generation. They rename and rebrand these studies until piece by piece they are in your schools. I do my research and try to keep abreast of the issues. I attended the NC Values Coalition School Board Training in Mooresville which was very worthwhile and informative. I feel God is leading me down this path and will do my best if elected.
The biggest fight at the moment is Social and Emotional Learning in all schools in N.C. is a good site to learn about this. We must get rid of this atrocity. Teachers need to teach, not be therapists. This curriculum is a stepping stone to Critical Race Theory. It’s also about slowly removing your parental rights. Parents wake up.”

Susan Rochette — “My name is Susan Marie Rochette and I turned 69 years of age before Christmas, 2021. I am a retired tenured Associate Professor from the University of Northern Iowa where I taught English Language and Literature in the classroom from 1994 until 2007. I have never sought nor held public office until now.
I am running for an open seat on the Wilkes County Board of Education because, with 2 open seats and as a two-time Covid-19 surviving elder with a wealth of experience in both private and public educational venues and a deep concern for the founding principles of American public education—to raise an informed and knowledgeable citizenry—I am interested in ‘bringing the horses back into the barn,’ so to speak. I would like to use my vast range of experience and knowledge to work closely with local educators, administrators and families to support and govern the educational needs of our children.
Does anything ever really qualify a person to embark on a journey into uncharted waters? We all are embarking, today, on a journey of education that doubtlessly will involve turbulent and tempestuous conditions but with the goal of reaching mutually safe and protected shores. As for formal qualifications, I have advanced degrees from several major and distinguished American universities and colleges. I have attended both public and private primary and secondary schools and support both. And, I have a strong love of knowledge and the educational tools needed to access it.
As I say, my main concern at this point is to ‘bring the horses back into the barn’ after these long years of disruption, confusion and division. I am not sure there are single issues of more importance one greater than the other. I would be hope to be both a listening member of the school board and a sounding board to communicate the issues and concerns of teachers, administrator parents and students.”

Tammy Stanley — “This is my way of being a voice for the Parents, Students, and staff of Wilkes County Schools. My biggest concern is that parents feel their voice doesn’t matter. Parents want someone they can relate to and voice their concerns knowing they will be taken seriously. Parents have a right to know what information schools plan to use (and by what means) to provide quality education to their children. They deserve full transparency on curricula, teaching materials, and any assigned readings and videos. Many families are choosing private schools or homeschooling for their children. I would like to see Wilkes County Schools as the first choice for parents and students in our community. If elected, I will implement committees at each school within Wilkes County (staff, parents, and board members) to help identify the most critical issues within our schools. This information will be brought to the attention of board members as needed and discussed to solve issues within our school system. I will make myself available to parents or staff members with any concerns they have pertaining to Wilkes County Schools.”
Editor’s note: Reponses above from candidates have not been edited for style, content or grammar and are being printed in their entirety as submitted by the respective candidate.

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