NC Policy Watch is talking with new appointees to the State Board of Education to give our readers a sense of their backgrounds and philosophies on education policy in the state of North Carolina.
Three open slots on the State Board of Education were slated to be filled under Governor Perdue back in 2011. Her nominees were ignored by state lawmakers until the end of her term, and the nominees we had in January were Governor McCrory’s picks. Three additional slots, also nominated by Gov. McCrory, opened up in late March. All six were confirmed to the Board in April.
Name: Marcella Ramirez-Savage
Occupation: Marketing Director for Chick-Fil-A and Vice-Chairman for the Union County Board of Education
Education and training: “I am a product of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, and then attended Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL and University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL. I studied Human Environmental Sciences – Consumer Sciences with a concentration on Consumer Affairs. I am also a Fellow of the State having attended the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership.”
Current residence: Waxhaw, NC
From: “I’m from Charlotte and was raised between Mecklenburg County and Lake Wylie, SC in York County.”
Family: Savage is married and has two high school-aged boys and a daughter in fourth grade.
Hobbies: “We live for high school and college football in our house. I also have a huge love for food—I am very much a foodie.”
Why are you interested in serving on the State Board of Education? “I am a firm believer in the concept that my superintendent has for education and that is– “My size fits me.” Everyone learns differently and ultimately chooses which path they will take with their education. I believe that my experiences with Union County Schools can help bring that to the other 114 school districts.”
What do you see are the major issues facing public education in general? Money and safety are huge concerns, in addition to what our kids come out of school having learned. Savage is particularly excited to share on a statewide level how Union County’s learning academies are working for students.
What is your position on:
- Online virtual charter schools: “I know that some people think charter schools is a dirty word. I believe in parental choice. Just as some may choose a Christian-based program, private, or home school, others may feel that a charter school works well for their children. My two sons have taken classes via the NC Virtual Public School site and I truly see the benefits of learning being able to take place on line at any time of the day. I just do not know enough about a virtual charter yet.”
- Vouchers and education tax credits: “This is not an issue in Union County, so I haven’t had to truly study about it until now. I am not sure that I know enough to give an answer.”
- Current funding for public schools: “We all know that there is not enough funding for our schools within the state. I would like to see more adequate funding to help us retain quality teachers and ensure that each child sitting at a desk is being properly funded.”
- Merit pay for teachers: “I am extremely grateful for what our teachers do. Their day does not end once the dismissal bell sounds, nor on a Friday. I believe that if a teacher is confident in their teaching and successful in the classroom, their hard work should be recognized.”
- A-F grading system for schools: “Being a board member not only on the state but local level comes with a huge learning curve. This is one that I am learning about right now and can see the value in it provided that it is fair and balanced.”
How do you describe your politics? “I am a Catholic, southern conservative. “
Something about you most people don’t know: “I’m a first generation American, and the fourth generation in my family to be involved in politics. I’m also the first Hispanic elected official in Mecklenburg County and the first Hispanic woman elected to the State Board of Education.”