Candidate Survey: Vicki Kelly for Charles County Board of Education
Victoria “Vicki” Talley Kelly
MBA, Management Consulting and Marketing (University of Maryland College Park), Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a Minor in Spanish (Towson University), A.S. Business Administration (College of Southern Maryland)
Program Analyst/ Management Consultant
I’ve served one term as a Board of Education Member. I’m the product of Charles County Public Schools, the daughter of an educator in CCPS, and I send all three of my children through CCPS. The Education Association of Charles County (our teacher’s union) endorsed me in our last election, and I am participating in their endorsement process currently.
I’m serving my first term on the Board of Education, and I also serve on my Town’s Parks and Recreation Commission.
Social Media Accounts
Victoria “Vicki” Talley Kelly for Board of Education on Facebook; and @CCBOE_Kelly on Twitter
Why are you running for office?
To continue making a difference in the lives of our students, and to bring my expertise in management consulting and budgeting, as well as policy development, to the Board’s work so we can make the best decisions and choices for the 27,000+ students we serve every day. Public education provided me with a great start in my college and career journeys and I want to ensure that that mission continues to future generations.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
My political role model would probably be Abraham Lincoln, because he failed so many times at so many things, but kept moving forward, continuing to do what he thought was right. He wasn’t afraid to try something new, and failure never stopped him. Doing the right thing and never giving up: inspiring actions, especially in the face of all that he encountered in life.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
I’m currently reading “Deception Point” by Dan Brown. While it’s a fictional novel, the plot involves a discovery that could affect US space policy and a presidential election. I’ve enjoyed Dan Brown’s works in the past, as many of his books intertwine history, government, art, science, politics, symbolism, and religion in a way to tell a story that captivates a reader. I have limited time to read for enjoyment, so when I do, I enjoy Brown’s works.
What is your favorite book about education, and why?
‘Move Your Bus’ by Ron Clark is my favorite education book (so far) because Clark describes how he made a vision of what “could be” for a school system a reality. He asked A LOT from his teachers, but he was able to get support for his initiatives and make great things happen for his students. Seeing the commitment to students, including at risk students, and the results is inspiring.
What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
I’d like to expand our reach to garner more parental and community involvement to help us get more of our students reading on grade level by the end of third grade and move to a STEAM mindset, including the fine and performing arts, instead of limiting ourselves to a STEM mindset.
What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
There are more than one: Overcrowding at the elementary school level, discipline, and teacher retention.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
Funding, lack of support from legislators, safety in our schools.
Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
No, I haven’t sat and read it in the Central Office, but I see it come home through my children’s homework and class work every day. I like the emphasis on foreign language, though I wish there was more emphasis on enhanced writing, and on fine and performing arts. I like the emphasis on STEM, but would love to see us commit to a STEAM program to get those arts classes included.
What is your position on school spending?
I see Education dollars as an investment in our future. Spending money today on the education of our children should reap huge rewards in the future. Investing $1 in a student today for the K-12 years is far cheaper than not investing it, and then having to spend $6 per that same student for ages 18 and up for the life of that student to be on a government assistance program because they didn’t learn what they needed to become a successful contributor to our workforce, or $14 per that same student for life if he or she were to end up in the prison system. We must have the funding we need to do our job, and at the same time, be good stewards of our taxpayer dollars. If we are requesting more money than MOE, I want to see the impact not only on the bottom line, but in the finished product, i.e. what did this investment in our children result in? Our school system needs to be held accountable for that investment.
Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
Arts Programs, Security, Teacher Pay
What is your position on teacher tenure?
No position on length it takes to get tenure, but once tenure is achieved, that’s not a safety net for an underperforming teacher. They must still be held accountable.
What is your position on standardized testing?
It’s good to help us have a gauge on how well we’re doing, but it should not be the focus of our job. And the anxiety buildup in the days before the test needs to stop. For teachers, for students, and for parents.
What is your position on classroom size?
Preferably classes of 25 or less to allow for optimal instruction. But no more than 30. This is an educational institution—not a factory where we churn out the highest number of products for the lowest price. Higher class sizes mean more opportunities for kids to fall through the cracks, or not have a chance to make a connection with a teacher and feel valued.
Do you believe the Board of Education should have taxation authority?
I think the Board should work with the community to garner support for the budget that the Board of Education submits to the County Commissioners, who tax for that purpose.