Stephanie Henry, a mother of five and political newcomer, is running as a Republican for Cobb School Board post 5, which includes Pope and Lassiter high schools. She is challenging incumbent David Banks and another newcomer, Lisa Hanson, in the GOP primary on July 31.
No Democrats qualified to run for the seat, so whoever wins the primary will likely be the one taking office in January.
On the issues, Henry said there are pros and cons to the various school start dates, and she promised not to raise taxes during a recession. She also said she will vote for the charter-school amendment that will be on ballots statewide on Nov. 6.
Henry, 46, and her husband, Shawn, have three children in Cobb schools and two children in college.
She said the Aug. 15 start date has worked best for her family.
“The 20-plus years of data collecting and research … has shown that there is little academic difference one to the next,” she said of the start dates.
But she is no fan of the controversial Teach for America program recommended by Cobb Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa and board vice chair David Morgan.
“It is a leadership model, not a knowledge-based model,” she said. “In all my research on excellence in education, the common thread has been three things: knowledge, passion and commitment,” she said. “From the research that I have done, I do not like it.”
Additionally, Henry said because of her dislike for Teach For America, she wouldn’t support using a portion of the $25 million in Race to the Top funds that the district is seeking to be used for TFA’s costs.
Since announcing her candidacy the last week in May, Henry said she’s discovered a newfound respect for anyone who campaigns for public office.
“It is definitely very challenging,” she said. “It takes a lot of energy to talk as much as you end up talking.”
The former retail manager said she’s been knocking on doors and attending various events to promote her campaign.
“I’ve been hitting different neighborhoods, doing some small meetings with friends and their friends by the pool for the summer,” she said. “It is a challenge because it is summertime and so many people are out of town.”
When speaking to parents throughout the northwest area, she’s shared ideas about what she would do if elected.
“I think the shortest (conversation) lasted about two hours and the longest about five,” she said.
Henry also said that she hasn’t focused on fund-raising. She has not filed a campaign financial disclosure report with the state.
“It may be very naive of me to think that I could get the message out on a shoe-string budget, but that’s what I’m trying to do,” she said.
(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, July 12, 2012. Written by Lindsay Field. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – School board candidate Henry says she will vote for charter amendment)