02/27/12 — At-large member files for re-election

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At-large member files for re-election

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 27, 2012 1:46 PM

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Eddie Radford

Eddie Radford, current school board chairman, has filed to run for a second term in the at-large seat.

The 35-year education veteran -- teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal with Wayne County Public Schools as well as a stint as headmaster at Wayne Country Day School -- is also a familiar face at Wilber's Barbecue, where he has worked since 1964.

"Education is special to me," he said. "It's been part of my life and I don't go into the classroom, I'm not a principal anymore but I feel like I have got some contributions to make because of my knowledge of schools."

His reasons for seeking re-election include a desire for getting and supporting good teachers, ensuring discipline and safety in the schools and maintaining facilities.

"I'm real positive over the school system, positive about things we have got going," he said. "We have got to make some changes. With the board members we have got, we see that."

Economics, however, will dictate a lot of what can be done, he said. Rising costs of things like fuel and food are among things that could potentially impact services in the school system.

"The facilities program is certainly something in need," he added. "With the money crunch, we have got to really make sure we're in line with getting the schools that we need. Some of the people that deserve a school are still waiting and they're being very patient. Our facilities plan has not changed. I think we're going to get the plans in place.

"We would like to see new schools everywhere. I think we're moving in the right direction with that."

He is also concerned about teachers being overburdened by such constraints as paperwork and the pressures surrounding end-of-grade tests. In his experience, he said the majority of educators are dedicated and work hard to prepare students to make good grades.

"I have never liked the way we test these kids," he said. "We stuff them full of information and bam, it's gone. They say you teach to the test. I always feel like we take some of the good teachers out of the loop and students haven't necessarily learned.

"Where does accountability start? We make it possible for that kid to learn every day -- he's got a seat, we keep him warm, keep him cool."

Truth is, the district has much to be proud of, he said, while there are also improvements that could be made.

"I have not (heard) a lot of negative things from people," Radford said. "I think that I'm hoping anyhow that parents and kids realize that we have a good system and we're trying to continuously improve on it."

"We do have a strong curriculum. I still believe in strong discipline policies. We have got to make sure that our schools are safe and it starts in the school, to make sure that all of our kids have an education without a lot of turmoil inside as well as outside. I believe that every kid deserves an education regardless."

Schools across the country have come under fire even more in recent years, Radford said, and there's no "easy fix" but he said he still adheres to "the old things" that have been fundamental to a quality education.

"I just think that the school itself is the best environment for our kids -- a good strong curriculum, discipline, good teachers," he said. "I'm a strong believer in athletics. Being a coach, it is good for the students as well as the community."

Radford, 66, said he hadn't envisioned being on the school board at this juncture in his life, but received a lot of support to run and believes his time in "the trenches" may be advantageous.

"I have always enjoyed just being around schools and I want to see continued growth not only in our classrooms but in our facilities," he said. "I just hope that we can become a great academic school system.

"I think that we have got a superintendent that works very hard to do that."

Married to wife, Phyllis, since 1971, Radford has one daughter and a granddaughter, Hanna, 11, a fifth-grader at Tommy's Road Elementary School.