‘I want to be their voice’

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Karen Jenkins is a candidate for Suffolk’s School Board, and she is running for a seat in the Cypress Borough.

Jenkins felt pulled to run for a seat on the School Board because of her love and compassion for children.

“For years, since I could, I’ve been working with kids,” Jenkins said. “I have a passion for kids and I want them to be the best person they can be.”


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She believes the experience she has will serve her well. Jenkins has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in marriage, family and community counseling.

Her experience includes being the chief executive officer of Nansemond Credit Union and a grant coordinator at Norfolk State University. Currently, she is a behavior therapist in the Suffolk public schools who is employed by the Western Tidewater Community Services Board.

This has given her plenty of insight into budgeting and finances as well as a live look within the Suffolk Public School system.

One of her major platforms is safety. She is passionate about improving safety not only from outside threats but also within the schools.

“When I’m talking about safety, I’m not only protecting it from people coming in, but I’m also talking about safety within the school,” Jenkins said. “There are violent things within the school. Teachers are getting assaulted by students, so we need to protect both inside and outside.”

Jenkins has some ideas to help improve safety, including heavier parental involvement and more security roaming the halls and individual classrooms.

The candidate plans to use her financial background to help the school’s budget, and she believes her detail-oriented nature will help her examine each line of the budget to learn about what it’s for and whether it’s appropriate. Jenkins wants to help fund things like higher teacher salaries to help keep teachers within the division.

“We need to look at the budget line by line and find places where we can take funds from and put them in other areas,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins hopes the residents of the Cypress community vote for her, because she believes she is the best-qualified candidate.

“My education and my heart to serve to prove that I am the best qualified for this position,” Jenkins said. “I want to serve. I want to be their voice.”