02/21/08 — McCullen seeking at-large commission berth

View Archive

McCullen seeking at-large commission berth

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 21, 2008 1:45 PM

Stepping into an already crowded race for the Democratic nomination for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners at-large seat, Sandra McCullen, county school associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, is focused on more than just education -- though it is one of her top priorities.

"I am interested in joining the efforts of the many Wayne County people and organizations that are promoting Wayne County as a great place to live, work and play," she said. "I have had a lot of people calling me and encouraging me to do this -- to help lead the county.

"I've always enjoyed looking at the political process and how it can make a difference in people's lives, and I feel like I have some experience that might help bring unity to the county."

Along with her 34 years in the county school system as a teacher at Brogden Middle; bus driver, volunteer instruction program coordinator, counselor and industry education coordinator at Southern Wayne High; counselor at Grantham; principal at Greenwood Middle; and vocational director and middle schools director for the county, Mrs. McCullen also served on the 1997 Wayne County Strategic Plan Steering Committee, and has seen first-hand the operations of both farms and small businesses.

"I have an understanding of the major issues that the public has identified as needs to be addressed by the commissioners," she said. "I think have a good feeling for what the people want in Wayne County."

And, she continued, what people want are education, workforce training, economic development, land use planning, growth management, farmland preservation, water and sewer utilities, transportation, health care, services for seniors, youth and other special populations, public safety, environmental quality and support of Seymour Johnson Air Force -- all of which are still the county's priorities.

"Many of the recommendations have been and are currently being addressed, while other recommendations have not. I believe all of those concerns are intertwined and that it is time for action," Mrs. McCullen said. "It all needs to be addressed as best we can.

"We must look forward to the future so that Wayne County will be perceived as a county with a global perspective with a first-class workforce, first-class school system and a thriving economy, prepared to meet the challenges of the world in the 21st century.

In order to do that, though, she continued, there needs to be better communication and community relations, not only between the commissioners and the school board, but also between the commissioners and the various city councils, community organizations and residents.

"I think the main thing is to have more openness and a constant dialogue in the county," she said. "We need to work together and see each other as a team."

Ultimately, the Dudley resident continued, that's why she's running for the at-large seat -- to help improve all of Wayne County.

"I've always admired Atlas (Price) and what he's done, so since he's not running again, I just thought this would be a good time," Mrs. McCullen, 57, said. "I think there are issues in every district, and in my position, I have the experience to see the bigger picture.

"I've lived here all my life. I'm proud to be from Wayne County and I want Wayne County to be seen in a positive light."

And, according to county attorney Borden Parker, there would be no conflict of interest between sitting on the county commission and working for the school board -- good news for Mrs. McCullen who plans to continue to work even if elected.

Also filed for the seat are Democrats Darrell Horne and Chris Gurley, and Republicans Jeff Jennings and Hal Keck.