Leavell: ‘A difference-maker’

Published 8:13 pm Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sleepy Hole Borough School Board candidates

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Suffolk News-Herald has invited candidates for all of the city’s contested offices to submit 400-word columns soliciting the votes of Suffolk citizens on Election Day. A different race will be highlighted on this page each day through Thursday. All of the candidates were notified of the opportunity at the same time via email, and follow-up telephone calls were made to verify receipt of the emails. Today’s page features the School Board special election in the Sleepy Hole Borough, which pits incumbent James Perkinson against challengers Charles Leavell and David Mitnick. All three candidates’ columns appear below. Tomorrow’s installment will include columns from each of the candidates for the City Council seat from the Suffolk Borough.

By Charles Leavell

To the current City Council, School Board, city government, every person involved with the educating of our children, the Suffolk News-Herald and residents of Sleepy Hole, thank you. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.


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However, the next chapters of the forward progress of Suffolk have other authors waiting to script the future. I’m one of the authors ready to write the role our schools will play in making Suffolk the best city in Virginia regarding education.

You’ve heard of the issues between City Council and the School Board. You’ve heard about our accreditation issues. We have problems with teacher retention and busing. The population boom in Northern Suffolk leaves us with overcrowding in our schools and classrooms.

How can I or anyone propose to have solutions to fix everything just like that? If it were that easy, they would already be fixed. These problems will take time and hard work to fix. I promised some 400 people signing my petitions I would work tirelessly to fix the things concerning them about the schools in the Sleepy Hole Borough.

In my marathon walks through the communities, I encountered bus drivers, teachers, school employees and parents wanting someone willing to make sure their voices were heard. I’m unable to address all the concerns given to me in this column but I have a plan to help our schools excel on the tests our schools are measured by: the SOLs.

First, to the teachers who passionately spoke at the School Board regarding things needed to equip our students for success on their tests, I HEAR YOU. Let’s put your plans to paper and implement them.

I’m confident our teachers know how to prepare our students for success given the tools. To assist, we have to use the “it takes a village to raise a child” theory.

I have studied a program in Dallas where area churches collaborate to “adopt a school.” The results dramatically increased the graduation rates and significantly improved test averages, while reducing disciplinary issues. Graduating students became contributors to their communities, while crime decreased.

I can coordinate such a program which helps our students, schools, communities and city, being a pastor.

To David and James, I appreciate your friendship. You have shown great character during this campaign. May the best man win.

Citizens of Sleepy Hole, throughout my life I have been a difference-maker. I am the best man.