Foster runs for school board unopposedPublished 8:43pm Saturday, October 20, 2012
Diane Foster is unopposed in her bid for a second term to represent the newly aligned Sleepy Hole borough on the School Board, but she has a new platform this year from her inaugural attempt.
“The main reason I’m running this time is to be a voice for teachers,” she said. “I feel like there’s a lot coming down the pipeline, and teachers need someone on that board who can voice their concerns.”
Foster began teaching relatively late in life, when she was in her mid-40s. She started out as a pre-kindergarten teacher in Portsmouth Public Schools. After receiving her master’s degree, she went to work for the South Eastern Cooperative Educational Programs (SECEP). Then she was the regional literacy specialist for Head Start, and now she works on a grant-funded literacy program in Norfolk Public Schools.
Her three children graduated from Suffolk Public Schools, including the youngest one this past June, after attending since kindergarten.
“I’ve been involved with the schools in some way for many, many years now,” she said.
In her 2008 campaign, Foster stumped on the importance of early education and literacy interventions. But this time around, with a new teacher evaluation system, budget shortfalls and other issues at hand, she says she wants to be a voice for the teachers.
“I think the budget continues to be a challenge,” she said. “We have to work with City Council so we can continue to give the teachers a cost-of-living raise and make their pay competitive with other cities.”
Foster said building new schools will be important in coming years, as well.
“As the economy starts to improve, as I believe it is, I think we’re going to see another growth spurt,” Foster said. “We’re really going to have to start building some new schools.”
New middle and elementary schools for the northern end of the city are especially needed, Foster said, because schools there are already over capacity.
“There’s no breathing room,” she said. “We’ve got to stay on top of the growth.”
Foster said there is room for improvement in some areas but that the school division is headed in the right direction.
“I think they’ve done a very good job working toward improving the graduation rate, but we still have a little bit of work to do there,” she said.
“I’m running for re-election, because I think there’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’ve made a lot of progress.”