Huntsville City Council interviews candidates for vacant school board spot

Five candidates sat down on Friday with the council to answer questions on what they'll bring to the table if appointed.

Posted: Jun 14, 2019 5:40 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2019 6:45 PM

The Huntsville City Council is deciding who will fill the vacant spot on the school board.

In May, Pam Hill resigned from her position more than a year before her term was up.

"I'm looking at how people make decisions. I'm looking at their ability to interact with other board members. I'm looking at people who can agree to disagree, and I'm looking at people who have a vision for our school system," Will Culver, the city councilman for district five, said.

The Huntsville City Council held interviews throughout the day on Friday asking a variety of questions to each of the candidates who were selected as finalists. Each said why they think they're the best person for the job.

The first candidate to be interviewed was Carlos Mathews. He's a businessman in Huntsville who's run for the school board twice before, but hasn't been elected.

"It's very important for the community at large and the business community as well to make sure that we have a population of students that are capable of taking us to the future, and that starts with Huntsville City Schools," Mathews said.

Zara Broadenax was the second candidate interviewed. She said her kids attend school in District 5, and as a parent, she's noticed firsthand what problems need to be addressed.

"I've seen the bus problems, I've seen that the food doesn't look that great," Broadenax said. "I know that the teachers are in there and some of them have more concern or more resources than others," she said. "I think we all should be on the same playing field, and in order to do that, we have to make our voices known."

The third candidate was Angie Sandwritter, a local entrepreneur. She said she doesn't have any kids, but is passionate about childhood education and studied it in school. She said she would focus on overcrowding as District 5 continues to grow.

"I think we have an opportunity right now to change," Sandwritter said. "Businesses are moving into District 5, the schools are becoming more and more overcrowded, so I would love the opportunity to make this a strong educational district."

Joann Perez was the fourth candidate to be interviewed. She told the city council during her interview that she comes with a law background, something she said would be helpful when the board reviews contract. She said her kids are grown, so she said she would advocate what's best for every child.

"I believe we should all contribute to the world's work in the community where we are placed. This is my community," Perez said. "I feel now I'm in a really good position to advocate for all children of Huntsville City Schools."

The last candidate to be interviewed was Chaundra Jones. She shared with the council that she was the chairwoman for the first Desegregation Advisory Committee, and she has multiple kids who currently attend school in the district.

She said her background in social work, along with being a mother, gives her an understanding of how the school system currently operates.

"I have been committed to this community for over 30 years, and I'm not afraid of hard work or making hard decisions, but wanting to see the potential in every child and making sure that their potential is a reality," Jones said

The Huntsville City Council said it'll announce the pick for the school board position at a meeting on June 27th. All of the candidates, except Chaundra Jones, told the council that if chosen, they would definitely run for the position the next time it's on the ballot.

Since Pam Hill vacated her position before the end of her term, the person picked would only fill the seat until it's back on the ballot. The city council said the school board spot is up for election in 2020.

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