02/15/10 — Pridgen will seek re-election to board

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Pridgen will seek re-election to board

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 15, 2010 1:46 PM

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Rick Pridgen

Rick Pridgen has filed to seek re-election for his District 6 seat on the Board of Education.

The current board chairman said he has several goals he would like to work toward in his third term.

"Wayne County schools have seen a good academic year, and I would love to see us continue to improve in this area," he said. "I am proud to have served on the board seeing us climb to some of the highest scores recently in our region and across the state. There are areas that I feel we need to continue to work on."

Citing the need for improvement in areas such as the graduation rates and dropout rates, Pridgen said there are efforts that can be made to increase the number of graduates and lessen the number of dropouts.

"I would like to continue to encourage our students and make available to them scholarship opportunities for rising seniors (who are facing college tuitions that) continues to rise," he said.

He said he is interested in implementing high school academies and specialty programs and continuing to foster the "school within a school" concept introduced at Goldsboro High School to diversify student population and enhance curriculum and educational opportunities.

Pridgen said he also plans to promote efforts to recruit and to retain highly qualified teachers, encouraging them to become Bational Board certified and to work in the district's most-needed areas.

Teachers and staff are one of the district's most valuable assets, he said.

"These individuals are the foundation of our success," he said. "I am dedicated to support more teacher incentives to attract and retain more quality staff and personnel."

Facilities and school construction projects are other areas that require attention. Between the economy and other slowdowns, it's time to get back on track with the district needs, he said.

"Spending much time involved in the planning process of our facilities plan, I would like to help this plan continue to move forward at a timely pace," he said.

In terms of programs, Pridgen said he has long been passionate about introducing a "strings and arts program" to schools in the central area to offer new opportunities and to attract talented students to pursue them.

"It is a proven fact that students who participate in these areas of learning generally excel academically," he said.

In the plus column, Pridgen said he has appreciated the developing relationships fostered by the school board in recent years. He said he would like to see the collaborative efforts continue with the county commissioners, business partners, Wayne Community College and the Chamber of Commerce.