Byrum makes re-election bid

Published 1:14 am Sunday, October 7, 2012

Each Sunday through Oct. 28, the Suffolk News-Herald will introduce you to the candidates for local School Board offices. Today, we feature candidates for the Whaleyville borough. Incumbent Phyllis Byrum faces a challenge from Marion Flood. On Oct. 14, we will feature Nansemond borough candidates. Sleepy Hole borough candidates will be featured on Oct. 21.

Retired teacher Phyllis Byrum is seeking election to her second term on the School Board on Nov. 6.

Byrum has lived in Whaleyville for more than 50 years. She graduated from Suffolk Public Schools and taught in them for 30 years.

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“When you have been a teacher, you have your foot into it a lot,” she said. “You see more and more what needs to be done.”

Byrum said her priorities are academic achievement, encouraging parental and community involvement, advancing early interventions and providing more career education for students who aren’t on a college path.

“I still believe the key is to educating people about community and parental involvement,” she said. “I’ve really tried to stress how important that is. I want to keep people abreast of what’s going on.”

On the subject of academic attainment, Byrum said the schools are moving in the right direction.

“I want us to move forward academically,” she said. “We have a couple of schools that are not fully accredited, but we’re moving in the right direction. A lot is expected of public education, and we’ve got to figure out a way to meet those expectations.”

Byrum said more career and technical educational options need to be available.

“Not everyone can go to college, and we need to provide for every person,” she said, adding that more industrial and technical programs would be the key to providing enough options for students.

Byrum added that what she calls the “trickle-up effect” — educating students well in earlier grades so they are better prepared to succeed later — also is key.

“I’m really interested in early interventions,” she said.

Support for teachers also is important, she said.

“We try to support them in any way we can,” she said. “In doing that, we will support the children.”

Byrum can be reached at 986-4054.