Jamey Lewchanin is running for the Caroline County School Board for the Reedy Church District. He has 15 years of experience working with children, lives in the community, and has worked as a mentor and child advocate from a young age. He has a driven personality, expertise, is business and technology savvy, and is a very outspoken advocate for the community he represents. He has been on the Board of Directors for the Caroline Pines Property Owners Association (CPPOA) and has served as the CPPOA President for the past 3 years with much success and community praise. Four areas in which Lewchanin will advocate if elected are students, raising money, teacher advocacy, and better communications with community members and quality improvement in the school district.
First and foremost, Lewchanin states, “the students are the number one priority. We need to be able to give students as much as we possibly can in the time we are given by doing the following things to create a better learning environment for our children: teacher advocacy, raising money for the schools, and enhancing communications for better quality improvement.”
Lewchanin prides himself on his ability to raise money with out of the box ideas. He has had much success raising money for the Physical Education program at Salem Elementary School in Spotsylvania County, where he currently leads the P.E. program. He raised money through grant writing and community outreach to purchase and install a state-of-the-art rock wall in the Salem Elementary School gym, as well as purchase much needed equipment for the P.E. program.
Lewchanin believes that we “should be able to use capitalism to help fund some programs in the schools by allowing advertising in the schools, such as on teacher notepads, in the teachers’ lounge, at sporting events, on the fence at baseball games, selling ads on cinder blocks in the gym…we need to let capitalism work for us and not against us.” Mr. Lewchanin understands the need to allow the schools to review and approve each of the ads to avoid any materials that may be deemed inappropriate. By having companies pay for advertising, the funds can help Caroline County Schools by providing advertising.
Through community outreach and fundraising, local companies that have vested interest in the school, such as dentist and doctors who donated money to help his program, would be willing to donate money to help the local school system. Lewchanin went to private companies and asked them to donate money, which was used to purchase much needed equipment that would have otherwise been impossible.
Lewchanin believes that “teachers are the second best asset after the children, who are the number one priority. You can have a school board, technology, books, chalk boards, and kids, but if you don’t have a teacher, you don’t have school.” He believes that seniority and tenure is important to secure quality teaching staff. Lewchanin would like to create a combination of merit pay and tenure to retain good teachers. He says, “The problem with just merit pay and no tenure is that if you have a teacher who works for 20 years with excellent merit, but the board is looking to cut money in the budget, it is too easy for them to be dismissed in order to hire someone who is willing to work for less.” The solution he offers is a baseline merit pay and tenure system combination to work together.
A related area that Lewchanin would advocate for is the use of sick days by teachers. He believes that teachers “shouldn’t be looked down upon because they take a sick day. Sick time is part of compensation and teachers should be allowed to use the time that they have earned.” He would like to initiate a program that would allow teachers to file a complaint if they are not able to use their allotted time. Sick days allow an employee time to recover and decrease the spread of illness to students and others. Allowing time to recover from an illness allows a teacher to perform at his or her best.
Enhanced Communications and Quality Improvement in Schools
One of the first things Lewchanin would like to do if elected would be “to send out a survey to parents and teachers and ask them what they think the five biggest concerns are with the school district. Then look at the concerns, see which ones are trending as big issues, and find ways to correct them.” This improved communication would allow board members to quickly pinpoint areas of concern and opportunity for improvement. In addition, he would review the current budget and look for ways to use money more effectively.
Through advocating for students, raising money, teacher advocacy, and better communications with community members in the school district, Jamey Lewchanin feels that he can bring quality improvement to Caroline County. Lewchanin urges everyone in Caroline County to VOTE on November 8, 2011.