By Pam Dudding, Contributing Writer
On Tuesday, September 14, at the monthly School Board meeting, CCPS had the task of filling the empty seat of Craig Creek representative seat, from the resignation of Susan Crenshaw in July.
Two outstanding candidates spoke for the position, Shari Winebarger and Kevin Altizer.
Winebarger had to skype her interview, as she was out of town, responding for the School Board opening.
“I’d like to give back to the community that Craig County has given so much of itself to my family over the years,” Winebarger said. “I love this community.”
She and her family have lived in Craig for 16 years.
Winebarger shared, “I’ve been a member on the Special Education Advisory committee and have in depth understanding of that area and feel I can add some insight on the issues in Special Education. I’ve been substituting in all three schools which has given me a well-rounded knowledge of what is going around in the school. I am a mother of five and have three grandchildren.”
She has worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter which she feels has given her more of the business-side of knowledge. Also, she was financial secretary at a Baptist Church for several years.
“I’d like to help in bringing the school board, school, parents and teachers together especially in this crazy time of unrest. I feel it is important to bring school, community and parents together,” she said. “I’d like to see the school systems keep the small county traditional values that we hold and into the future. Once they walk down the aisle, they are in a competitive arena. Also, I’d like to see parents to become more active in the school.”
In addressing the Board, she said, “I appreciate you all.”
Member Faye Powers did ask her if she was willing to give up her sub-teacher pay for the $200 she would be making on the School Board, as she would not be able to be a paid employee of the school. Winebarger stated she understood that and was taking that into consideration but would also like to be able to continue in doing volunteer work if possible. Bellassai added that volunteer work would be approved.
Altizer stood before the Board, sharing that he believes he is qualified to be on the School Board because of his sense of community.
“I believe we should all strive to make our communities and our world a better place to live. That is something that has been instilled in me and I believe it is something that needs to be instilled into our children,” he said. “I believe that the education of our children is of utmost importance, and I believe we are to teach our children how to think and not what to think. I think it is important to instill these things into our young men and women who are coming up in our school system.”
Altizer has been in a leadership role most of his life, explaining that it is because he has been trusted to get the task at hand done and to do it efficiently and in a polite way.
“I have been involved in budget planning in business and also in churches for many years in making the best and doing the best we can. I believe the only way to make a difference is not to complain about everything but to do something,” he said. “It reminds me of a quote I heard many years ago, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.””
“I know there are a lot of things coming down the pipe and pushed on our school systems and believe there are freedoms that have been taken away and believe we should stand up for the freedoms and not give them up,” Altizer continued. “I am a person who will stand for what is right. No matter what, you should do the right thing. No matter the pressure I believe it is right to do the right thing on behalf of our children, our community and our school board.”
He added that he would be an asset to the Board because he is a “rational thinker guided by truth”.
“Also, I can respect someone who does not have the same opinion as I do,” he said. “I will strive to work together for the betterment of our school system. I love living in this place. I have been here for almost 10 years now and I am as excited today to be a part of Craig County as I was the first time I came here. I have invested my life in this community. I strive to make a difference and have an impact for good and I have made many friendships as the people are friendly, loving and care about things and their children. I want to be any help I can. At the end of the day, if I vote my conscious on a matter, I have fulfilled my responsibility for this district and the people I represent.”
The School Board went into closed session but did not have an action when the meeting was reconvened. Instead, they met on Wednesday September 22, in a special session, voting Kevin Altizer as the new Board Member for Craigs Creek.
Bellassai stated, “We were blessed to have two very qualified candidates seek to fill the position for the Craig’s Creek District Representative. This made our decision difficult, as I believe both parties interested would do a great job. We made the decision we believe will most benefit our students, our parents, and our system. We are very happy to welcome Kevin Altizer to the Board.”
Afterwards, Altizer shared, “The reason I decided to fill the vacancy was because there was a need for someone to step up and help. I love our county and want only the best for it, and if this is a way I can give back, I am more than happy to do so.”
He added that he believes he can have a positive impact on whatever areas that is required, including financial, administrative, educational, or moral decisions.
“I would like the students to know, I will always have their best interest at heart. I would never do anything to hold them back or harm them,” Altizer said. “My decisions will be based upon all areas of our students lives not just one particular part. The whole person, not just one part of persons life. Our young people need to know how to think and not be told what to think. Everything in life is connected, not just to the present but also to the future. The decisions we make today will have a positive or negative influence on our tomorrow.”
He noted that he wished to share with the community that his decision to fill the vacancy came from a sense of duty to my fellowman and a desire to make a difference.
“My number one goal as a school board member will be to please the Lord in all that I do. I encourage and appreciate input from the citizens in the Craig’s Creeks district,” he added. “I would also like to add, that I humbly ask our community to be praying for the school board to make the right decisions. God Bless America!”