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New Board of Education members sworn in

Union County Board of Education members take a moment for a picture after being sworn in at the Dec. 2, 2008, board meeting. Pictured from left, are returning board members John Crowder from District 1, Carolyn Lowder from District 2; new board members (both serving At-Large) David Scholl and Laura Minsk; and returning board member John Collins from District 5.

Five Union County Public School board members were sworn in during the Dec. 2, 2008, board meeting held at Shiloh Elementary School. Returning board members are John Crowder from District 1, Carolyn Lowder from District 2, and John Collins from District 5.

Dean Arp from District 3 was elected again as chairman of the board by board members, while Collins was again chosen as vice chairman.
There are also two new faces on the board, both serving At-Large — David Scholl and Laura Minsk. Scholl and Minsk are occupying seats vacated by board members Dr. Sharon Gallagher and Kim Rogers. The following are interviews with the new board members:

Laura Minsk

Laura Minsk has a passion for education. She is not only a product of the public school system, but has also been a classroom teacher, having taught chemistry on an interim basis at Weddington and Porter Ridge High Schools. She’s also taught adult education and pre-K programs. Her experience in the classroom has led her to be an advocate for teachers.

Minsk said closing the achievement gap and improving graduation rates will be two areas of focus while a board member. “We have some excellent test scores and graduation rates, especially compared with the rest of North Carolina, but we still need to do better,” she said.
Keeping up with growth continues to be a challenge for the school system, Minsk said. “We’re getting somewhat caught up, however with the current problems with the economy and funding difficulties in the county, it’s going to remain a challenge because we still have some schools we need to build.”

"It appears we may have to postpone some of the building and that concerns me," she added. "Porter Ridge is overcrowded. We lived through Weddington being overcrowded as a family and I know what that’s like."

Continued renovations/replacement of some of the older UCPS school buildings is also an area of concern. "I hope we’ll be able to find the funding to proceed with some of those projects in the next four years,” she said.

Serving as a school board member has been a goal for several years. To keep on top of issues facing the school board, Minsk has been a familiar face at school board meetings and Board of Education committee meetings for the past couple of years.

Recently, Minsk served on the Monroe Middle School Task Force and the Union County Education Foundation Steering Committee.
“I may not be a native of Union County, but I feel as if I can relate to a lot of the different groups and communities in the county because of my background and roots in agriculture as a former extension agent," she said.

"I live in the western part of Union County so I understand a lot of the issues involving growth and overcrowded schools and redistricting. I also have a lot of friends in Monroe, as well as attend church in Monroe."

Community involvement for her includes church work, Boy Scouts of America, being an Odyssey of the Mind coach for Central Academy of Technology and Arts (CATA), a PTSO newsletter editor at CATA, a foster family for the Humane Society of Union County, and a member of DAR Monroe's John Foster Chapter.

Minsk, her husband, David, and their three sons make their home in Waxhaw. Her children attend UCPS schools.

For more information about Minsk, visit her website at http://www.electlauraminsk.com/

David Scholl

David Scholl, who also feels passionate about K-12 school issues, said he will have a focus on raising the bar for students, raising the graduation level, and recruiting and retaining high quality staff.

“I know the path we’re on is a good one and I want to make sure we continue on a good path,” he said. “I feel like I will be a good addition to the board.”

Scholl has worked in various capacities with the Union County Public Schools, both in volunteer and paid capacities, for the past seven or eight years.

He was a member of the Monroe Middle School Task Force, the Union County Education Foundation, a member of the Porter Ridge High School site-base committee and a past site-base committee member at Piedmont High School.

He has served as the treasurer for Porter Ridge Academic Boosters, webmaster for five UCPS schools, technology facilitator at Piedmont Middle School, a long-term substitute teacher at Piedmont Middle School, a golf coach at Porter Ridge Middle School, a golf coach at Piedmont Middle School, an assistant tennis coach at Piedmont High School, and an assistant basketball coach at Hemby Bridge Athletic Association.

By serving on the board of education, Scholl feels he can have more impact system wide. “I feel I can have the most positive impact, over a broader range of issues, at the school board level, than I can at any one position at any one school,” he said. 

Scholl expects the most difficult part of his job as a school board member will be “getting used to the fact that I won’t be able to please 100 percent of the people all of the time. Decisions will be made in the best interest of the students, but somebody is going to disagree somewhere along the line with some of those decisions. That’s going to be hard. I’m not used to that.”

Having a calm demeanor, he said, should serve him well as a board member.

David Scholl, senior consultant with Business Technology Integration in Matthews, has been married to wife, Brenda, for 27 years. They make their home in Stallings. The two have two college-aged daughters, both attending UNC-Chapel Hill: Bridgette, 19, who graduated from Porter Ridge High School in 2007, and Stephanie, 21, who graduated from Piedmont High School in 2005.

The Scholl girls aren't the only ones attending college in the Scholl household. In 2007, Scholl received a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from East Carolina University and a graduate certificate in performance improvement.

Visit Scholl’s website at www.scholl4schools.com

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, Publications Coordinator
Posted: Dec 04, 2008 by Deb Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator

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