Candidate for Hoke County Board of Education 2020
1. Please tell voters a little about yourself, your background, and experiences.
My name is Rosa McAllister, I am the Director of Student Service Operations and Personal Counselor for SCC – Sandhills Community College. I have been employed with SCC for approximately twenty-six years. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, a Master of Arts Degree in Professional Counseling, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Executive Leadership. I have been serving the Hoke County School System since 2004. Additionally, I am a Nationally Certified Counselor, Distance Credentialed Counselor, and a North Carolina License Mental Health Clinical Counselor since 2004. Further, I am a member of both the National School Board Association and the North Carolina School Board Association. These associations have allowed me to obtain a Certificate of Honor Award, which indicates that I have acquired over 500 training hours in school board educational leadership. Equally, as the Principal Designated School Official for International Students at SCC, I am responsible for ensuring that international students have a smooth transition into the United Stated and the post-secondary education arena, relating to SCC. Thus, my experience extends to a diverse population of students.
2. Why are you running for the school board?
My desire is to see the Hoke County School System continue to move forward. There is no doubt that we have initiated a plethora of educational programs, so that upon graduation a student could be college, career, and life ready; however, there is more work to be done. I understand that “Rome was not built in a day; thus, I would like to see our system move from a conservative philosophy in education system, that is an essentialism assumption – to a multicultural educational approach. By 2023, the US public school system will experience a 55 percent increase of ethnic minorities – kindergarten through twelfth grade students (Yoon & Martin, 2019). Similarly, if the Hoke County School System is going to continue to move forward, as administrator, teachers and certainly school board members we must embrace and understand that pluralism must be a significant factor in our school district. As educators, we expect to have a diverse population of students, but pluralism describes a society in which diversity is accepted and supported (Koppelman, 2017). When there is a diverse school system that is committed to pluralism, schoolteachers teach about all groups within the society – in this case the classroom – it is an effective approach. I believe our school system is moving forward toward a pluralistic system. One of our goals is to build a high school for the School of Engineering and my hope is that we target and enroll students of color and female students.
On another note, the Career Technical Education program at Hoke High School offers an abundance of certificate programs and employability skills, such as Agriculture, Business, Finance, & Marketing, Career Development, Computer Science & Information Technology, Family and Consumer Science and Information Technology, Health Science, and Trade, Technology, Engineering and Industrial classes. These programs will not only propel a student for advance education, it will also prepare them for employment opportunities and productive lives. For example: a high school graduate procuring their Industrial Maintenance Technician Certification, can acquire a secure job at Unilever, with a $40,000 salary to start. Hoke High School is privileged to retain such programs. This is the work of the current Hoke County School Board. But there is more work to be done. As a board member, my desire is to continue to approve these efforts.
3. If elected for an upcoming four-year term, what are some of the things you hope to accomplish?
Again, I would like to accomplish building the School of Engineering High School, the additional building at Hoke High for CTE (Career Technical Education) programs and my immediate goal are eventually getting students back into school on a regular schedule – however, safety is first. Additionally, I would like to work on training for all teachers and administers in multicultural education, so they can prepare students for a diverse, democratic society. A cultural -competent school district would positively impact all school district’s stakeholders particularly, the underrepresented and marginalized student populations – it would be a positive win for everyone. The right people on the bus would drive the school district forward continuously. If we are to embrace the theme “One Team One Goal, then it will take every member of the school district, from the board members to the school custodians (and everyone in between) to understand what a servant leader is and how we serve the entire school community. In the book “Good to Great” Jim Collins, talks about a level five leader and how they lead with the intentions of people following the “cause” instead of the leader. It is imperative that everybody speaks the same language when it comes to education – that includes: diversity, disability, underrepresented students, and students of color. We need to prepare, the day is not coming, it is here that we have these students in our populations, we must be skilled to work with this type populations. I must admit that the Hoke County School System is moving forward in this endeavor.
4. As a school board member, what will you do going forward to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on students and education?
The current members of the board understand how important education is for our society. Additionally, I understand if students are not in the classrooms, especially elementary school aged students, they seem to not be focused. The public-school system is just now moving to an online system, and this was because of the pandemic it will take a while for adaptation. By nature, we are not homeschoolers. So, even being online for public school is uncharted waters. The advantage that Hoke County School System had over some LEA’s or school districts was that our middle schoolers and high schoolers already had Chromebooks for homework purposes and emailing the instructors – along with other objective. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the school district to be creative in how to educate the students. That said, I feel that we have done an excellent job with our re-entry endeavors of getting our school district back to as normal as we can be. We are attempting to meet the demands of those students that struggle in subject areas by implementing a tutorial service from the district – that started this October. So, although we have certainly been impacted and we were pushed around a bit, we got up fighting, and we are stable, working hard – trying to stay safe, and educating our students.
5. Would you support building a new high school? What about other school facilities?
Yes, I would support building a new high school, in fact, we are in the process of building a School of Engineering High School. However, this will be a specialized school. We are really hoping that students that are interested in the STEM Programs take advantage of this opportunity. My desire is that females and students of color enroll in this school. This high school program will be connected to Sandhills Community College and my hope is that students move directly into SCC Engineering programs, and eventually get into the engineering programs at one of the top engineering four-year institutions. The key is, that student would have initiated their engineering career with our school. If I am not mistaken, the school of engineering will be funded by grant funds. These funds are specifically for the school of engineering – a specialized school. Furthermore, yes, I will support other school facilities – we are in the process of hopefully getting another building for the Career Technical Education Program at Hoke County High School.
Now, to build a regular high school, it will cost at least Sixty-five million dollars for a “no frills” high school. That means no paint on the walls, no furniture, no technology, no programs, no teachers, no principals – basically just an empty building. Add the paint on the walls, the furniture, the technology, the teachers, principals, and programs, and that will cost another 40 million dollars. A grant cannot fund a regular high school, the county (who gives us our funds to build the buildings) cannot afford it at this time. So, at this time, I cannot (in good conscience) support a new regular high school. Although a feasibility study has not been completed, without the feasibility study ( and it may reach different conclusions) I – personally, do not think it is feasible at this time. Certainly, we will not be able to mimic the plethora of programs that we have at Hoke High. And lastly, we operate under “school of choice.” A few years ago, we actually polled the students at Hoke High and asked them would they be willing to attend a new school, if given the opportunity. Based on that poll ( the survey), we did not get anyone who said they would attend. This means, we would have to move from school of choice to school districting – this means, if students did not want to attend the new high school, they would have no choice. We pride ourselves in school of choice.
6. What do you consider to be “student success” and what are some ways to improve it in Hoke County Schools?
Background information will help the reader to follow the response. The state has this grading system that gives schools “A’s, “B’s, “C’s” “D’s” and “F’s”. The schools are graded on an 80/20 percentile. That means 80 percent performance and 20 percent growth. The schools obtain these grades by the student’s performance and the growth. So, student’s EOG (end of grade testing) or EOC (end of course testing) has number factors (e.g., 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s). To me, if a student moves from a 1 to a 2, that is growth, however, the state will not consider that being growth because the student did not receive at a 3 or higher. When students retain and understand concepts, that is growth, when they can explain the concept, that’s growth. For example, when a student receives a 75 on a test and once was receiving grades like a 65 that is student success. We must understand the small achievements. Equally, ways to improve student success in Hoke County Schools is to improve parental involvement, establishing a culturally competent school community, teacher/student positive relationship, clean schools, and continued teacher’s professional development (which is at 93 percent satisfaction rate). These objectives will help.
7. Is there anything particular you would like to change about Hoke County Schools?
With the leadership of Dr. Freddie Williamson and his staff, the school system has made tremendous strides, I would like to continue moving forward. Since Dr. Williamson’s reign as Superintendent, in 2006, the graduation rate at Hoke County Schools has increased from 47.1 percent in 2006 to 87.7 percent in 2020. It takes much work to get a percentage like 87.7 percent, currently we are equal to the State of North Carolina rate. Continuing this momentum is my desire. If so, by 2024 we could be looking at a 100 percent graduation rate.
8. Is there anything else you would like for voters to know about your views and goals?
The school board has accomplished and achieved many goals during the years that I have served. We know, “at the end of the day”, it is all about the students – obtaining equal opportunity and equitable education. I feel that I am called to help students achieve their goals – directly and indirectly. I would like to continue on this board, and I ask that you vote for me (Rosa McAllister-McRae) this election year – 2020.
9. If you have one, please provide a link to your campaign website or Facebook page that we can share with voters.
Campaign Facebook Page Rosa McAllister-McRae