Beaufort County School Board District 3: Meet the candidates: Michael Rivers

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Editor’s Note: These are the articles that the candidates originally submitted to the Lady’s Island Business Professionals Association’s newsletter introducing themselves and setting forth their position on issues of their choice. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Michael Rivers

By Michael Rivers, Present District 3 School Board Representative and Seeking Re-election

People over politics; I believe all children can learn. Our children must attain the best education possible and to do this we must recognize our differences as our strengths. While we celebrate our differences we must all work towards the education that meets the needs of all the children.

I am a 1976 Beaufort High School graduate. I am an United States Air Force veteran where I worked in general accounting; managing hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. I have three children; Monica, Michelle and Michael Jr. I am also the proud grandfather of twin grandsons: Jeremiah and Jeremy. I am an ordained minister. Honors graduate; Magna Cum Laude from Claflin University in Organizational Management. I graduated from Technical College of the Low Country in Computer Assisted Design and Drafting. I am also a graduate from DeVry Institute of Technology: electronics. I have also studied Business Management at the Community College of the Air Force, Community College of Philadelphia, Dekalb Community College, University of South Carolina and TCL. I served as a Board Member on Beaufort County Recreation Commission and Parks and Leisure Services; a public servant.

I believe that we must prepare our children for the world of tomorrow including being fluent in multiple languages and technology literate. The rapidly changing demographics and constant technology changes will continue to have an impact as well as becoming a stimulant that should help us to prepare all children for success in a global society. Board members must understand that need for technology literacy and acknowledging the shifting demographics, requires an educational approach that will allow all children the ability to compete for the jobs of the future.

Education is the most important issue facing our country today. Education should be viewed not as an expense but seen as an investment: A national security issue. Without access for all children to good quality education, our ability to compete as a nation in a global economy will be limited. Fiscal responsibility should be a priority. However, Beaufort County School District also has a responsibility to provide those resources and method(s) of delivery needed to address academic achievement for a diverse student population. Parental involvement and community participation are equally important. There needs to be effective communication between parents, teachers and schools. BCSD must accept responsibility and accountability for all children education outcomes; effective leadership.

I am about children, not politics, not any persons or groups’ agenda, or vengeance, or self-serving motives. I am independent of any external groups or philosophies and fully committed to all children. They are our future.

I believe that the board will continue to face challenges, so the Board members must be able to cope with complex and diverse issues. I will continue to bring to the table insights that are designed to increase and broaden the discussion on complex issues. Issues include debate over high stakes testing, federal requirements, state requirements, governance, Board’s role in education, finance models, alternate educational options, choice plans, etc.

I believe that we must begin to educate our children as early as possible. I believe in early childhood education and I was a driving force in establishing the Early Learning Center of St. Helena. All children should have the opportunity to maximize their potential. Currently, 25% of BCSD students are not doing well academically. We must not give up on any child. I have a history as being an advocate not only for poor and minority students but for all children. All children can learn.

I believe that the Board of Education must set measurable goals, employ the best teachers and administrators, and help them through policy meet the goals of the Board and community. It must have a Strategic Plan, academic achievement goals and get away from micromanagement. It must also define policy and hold district accountable.

I believe some of the major issues for the new Board of Education include hiring the next Superintendent, continuing to support ways of improving student achievement, expand early childhood education, meeting the challenges of predicted growth, examine school funding options, and improving the public image of the board.

The next superintendent must understand how diverse and complex we are as a District and lead the way toward establishing a system that will be successful in solving some of our problems. He/she must have experience with managing growth, managing cultural differences, and building a solid leadership team. He/she must also understand how the effects of isolation and poverty may be overcome with high expectations, effective leadership and attention to the basic needs of all children.

As a member of the Board I will continue work to ensure that all voices are heard and that decisions are made in the best interest of all children. I bring personal as well as professional experiences that provide a contemporary approach that allows all children the opportunity to maximize their education potential.
I support accountability. I believe we must not only have accountability for fiscal resources but also for academics and the development of the whole child.

Thank you for your prayers and support. People over politics; all children can learn.

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