As Warren County residents prepare for early voting for the March Primary Election, The Warren Record provided an opportunity for candidates for local contested offices to address a number of issues affecting the community.

Early voting begins Thursday, Feb. 13, and continues through Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Warren County Board of Elections in Warrenton, 309 N. Main St., Warrenton, in the John Graham annex building.

Hours will be 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Candidates for register of deeds, board of county commissioners and board of education address, in a question-and-answer format, a number of issues which will impact the Warren County community as follows:

Warren County Board of Commissioners District 1

Stanley C. Jones, Jr. and Jennifer Jordan Pierce seek this office.

STANLEY C. JONES, JR.

Warren County native, married with two children, 2007 graduate of Warren County High School; attended N.C. Central University; currently enrolled at Fayetteville Technical Community College studying funeral service education; employed by Boyd and Royster Funeral Service; deacon and member at Cooks Chapel Missionary Baptist Church; co-chairman of the Warren County Emancipation Proclamation Committee, president of the Warren County MLK Committee, former member Warren County Advisory Council Commission Board, former chairman Warren County Young Adult Missionary Department

Why are you seeking election?

So that I can continue to improve the quality for every citizen here in Warren County. What motivated me is that I always heard my grandmother say that back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, this Main Street boomed, in her words, so the question to me was how could we, with less resources, make a little a lot, and now we have a lot of resources, and unfortunately, we’re not doing as well as we were back then. So I think it’s time for a new voice, a new vision and new value put here in Warren County. I appreciate everything that’s been done, but I think every now and then there’s time for newness.

What are your thoughts on the employee classification study being conducted and addressing employee pay raises?

I think we need to remain competitive. What I have seen is that we’ve been the training ground. I’ve seen a lot of people come in and get their knowledge from Warren County and go 10 miles up the road with the same job title but you’re getting paid (more), so it’s imperative that we do remain competitive and, if they’re doing the job, we need to compensate them accordingly. That’s one main thing we can do to ensure we keep the people here in Warren County. Doing that, we’ll continue to have a plan of growth here if we continue to treat them right as they treat us right. I would be in favor of doing the study not just now, but every so often so we can remain in line with all the surrounding counties.

What are your thoughts about economic development?

I see economic development as a help for property owners. If we can get businesses in here, we can alleviate the burden of the tax rate of being just on those who own homes. Without industries, we’re going to continue, in time, to burden each and every taxpayer. It’s no way around it. We can keep the tax rate the same for years, but at some point, you have to increase it. The only way to balance it is, you have to get something that’s an advantage here in Warren County. It’s a must. We have to put that as a priority, because it’s a priority to the Warren County citizens. We have to be vigilant that growth does not pass us by. You have to be attentive to wherever the growth is coming and be receptive to that growth. The main thing is being vigilant, embracing the growth and being ready to deal with the growth when the growth comes.

What are your thoughts on the Frontier Warren project?

It’s a great opportunity to collaborate with the RTP and make the opportunity to expand the growth and possibly the economic development that could come out of people using these spaces as a start-up for their businesses. We’re in a good opportunity with Frontier Warren, and I hope people take advantage of it as a building block.

What are your thoughts on parks and recreation?

I go back to a new vision, a new voice, a new value. I think we need to expand beyond softball, basketball, and start incorporating arts and theater and include dance, which becomes a family affair versus a young engagement. We have seniors who would love dance and theater, a whole lot of personalities with acting here in Warren County. We need to add those adventures along with sporting activities. We need to put a new vision and chart a new course with the leadership there is now, and I think you’ll get a good response on those expansions. Within time, we do need to look at (constructing the new indoor facility proposed in the comprehensive master plan) to incorporate the dancing, theater and the indoor swimming pool for the youth, adults who do water aerobics. I would surely be in favor of looking at that and acting accordingly.

Other comments

The excitement of broadband is a wonderful opportunity, and it really helps every citizen from students to seniors to homeowners because without internet now, you’re in a lost land. It’s a 21st century necessity, and it will also appeal to those that may be considering Warren County for business, for coming to be a resident, because it’s a necessity. You can’t do too much now without the ability to access the internet. I’ll be happy when we get through the bid process.

JENNIFER JORDAN PIERCE

Warren County native, educated in the Warren County school system; graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in English and a minor in business; moved back in 2001; elected as a county commissioner in 2008 and re-elected 2012 and 2016; is a wife, mother and concerned citizen; commuted to RTP for work for the better part of 10 years; has worked as a substitute in the local school system, where she recognized some of the hardships of not only students, but also the teachers; being a commissioner made her feel the need to do more; as a county commissioner, serves on the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments Board of Directors, Kerr Area Rural Transportation Authority, Kerr-Tar Rural Transportation Planning Committee, Resource Conservation and Development Council and Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees Warren County liaison

Why are you seeking re-election?

Warren County still has a lot of coals in the fire. To start vetting somebody new to come in I wouldn’t say is the best choice. You need somebody who’s seen the back and forth of Warren County and understands our struggles and our challenges. You need someone who wants the best for Warren County and also recognizes those challenges. When I came in, I was naïve. I said, ‘I want everything new. I want everything shiny. I want recreation. I want everything.’ Then reality sets in, and you already have someone who understands the cost associated with everything shiny and everything new, and then you have to focus in on what’s most important. You already have somebody in office who recognizes that, so I wouldn’t say now’s the best time to change, especially with the upcoming budget that may change the way that Warren County does business. (Being re-elected twice) I’ve seen Warren County when growth was not as pronounced, but things have kind of changed for us and things are on the uptick, but there are challenges, and we have to recognize that.

What are your thoughts on the employee classification study being conducted and addressing employee pay raises?

It’s well needed. Hopefully, it will bring us inline with neighboring counties, but then again, we don’t have the tax base that some of our neighboring counties have. So we may not give our employees everything, but at least we’ll be able to recognize and start taking steps so we can make Warren County truly that employer of choice, where we are competitive, where we are no longer that stepping stone for people to get their foundation and then they move on to other counties that have higher salaries. It’s always been a challenge. At least with this new salary study we’ll be able to say to the taxpayers we’re not competitive, we’re not being able to recruit or retain, so this is what’s necessary and have justification behind it.

What are your thoughts about economic development?

There are prospects on the line, so that keeps me hopeful. It’s just us being able to land big deals. And even in regard to some of those prospects, people are upset about the loss of the grocery store in Warrenton, and I’m upset about it, too. So if we’re able to attract businesses here, I don’t think it’s going to be the industries we’ve long dreamed of, it’s going to be in the form of small businesses. And I think between our economic developer as well as our county manager, all parties being on the same page and in the conversation, it’ll happen, as long as it’s very transparent and that transparency is made to the commissioners and also given to the citizens. It’s about letting people know this is where we are, this is what is up and coming or may be happening in Warren County, making people aware of what could be, letting people know we’re striving to do more than what’s been done. Economic development is very important, but education ties in with it. Everything comes full circle. One relies on the other. It’s everybody’s buy-in with that, especially with the Census coming up. Everybody needs to be counted.

What are your thoughts on the Frontier Warren project?

I’m not sure about the Frontier Warren project. It sounds good, conceptually. I’m just not necessarily sure what all it brings to Warren County. It’s an interesting concept, and maybe it really works for the RTP because they have a greater population, it’s more dense, it’s truly a hub. Warren County, it may work well as a satellite site, but one of the things they were strongly advocating for was STEM, but we have STEM programs here, so I’m  not sure that model is one that Warren County should be pursuing, but I definitely think it’s something that needs to be on the table for consideration.

What are your thoughts on parks and recreation?

I can’t wait to see it explode and grow, I really can’t. I am excited we were able to see the comprehensive master plan done (last year) and people were able to buy in with what they wanted to see with parks and recreation. It’s going to help us get more grant funding. I wanted to see the Taj Mahal recreational indoor facilities, but it looked like something that we couldn’t support, but we know our citizens want it. Now we have a blueprint of what our citizens want to see, which is critical. This isn’t just something that the commissioners asked for; this is what the citizens said they wanted to see here. So I’m definitely looking forward to where we’re going next with parks and recreation.

Other comments

I have truly enjoyed serving the citizens on the board and look forward to where we can take it.

Warren County Board of Commissioners District 5

Al Cooper, Jr. and Walter E. Powell seek this office.

AL COOPER, JR.

Born in Nashville, moved to Warren County at age 6; attended the Haliwa School in grades one through eight and graduated from John Graham High School; worked for the Warrenton Police Department as a radio dispatcher and for Winn Dixie grocery store in Rocky Mount; joined the U.S. Army in 1972 working in the intelligence field; in 1976, married his wife Evelyn, a Warren County native and longtime Warren County employee, who retired last year from the county’s finance department; they have three children and two granddaughters; from 1981-2014 worked for headquarters of the Army National Guard; previously served on the Warren County Board of Education; is pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Hollister

Why are you seeking election?

This is home. You always want to see home improved or made better. I’m looking at quality of life for all of our citizens. I want to figure out why we don’t have a grocery store in Warrenton anymore. I would love to see, in support of seniors and children, more recreation opportunities out in the county, as in each district, i.e. playgrounds, basketball courts, softball fields, something like that. Our county is very large, land-wise. I would love to see economic development, so that not all of our people would have to go out of the county or out of the state to find work. I would like to work closely with the board of education to make our schools what they can be.

What are your thoughts on the employee classification study being conducted and addressing employee pay raises?

It’s very necessary. We lose a lot of good employees because of the pay. People would rather work here in Warren County, but they’ll go (elsewhere) to make more money, even though it’s costing them part of their life traveling every day, it’s just gotten to that point it’s that much of a difference in a person’s career, and I’m sure they look at it over the long-term, and not just the short-term. And I think you have to give people something to look forward to (moving up in pay over a period of years), and let people know what they need to do to get to that point.

What are your thoughts about economic development?

I don’t feel we’re ever going to get manufacturing back here to give 200 people jobs at one time, but I always look at what can we do to find a company that might hire 50 people at a decent wage and something that would look long-term. I often look at some of these things the state has done, incentives, and I realize that it sometimes doesn’t add up, and I know it’s a balancing thing, but you’ve got to keep trying. And I believe when the four-laning of 401 is complete, Louisburg is going to jump, and people are going to be looking for land and housing and where to stay even more so coming this way. If we’re going to be a bedroom community, let’s be the best bedroom community in the state.

What are your thoughts on the Frontier Warren project?

I would love to see that because a lot of people have great ideas, they just don’t have the resources to go to RTP to take advantage of something like this or wherever it might be. Suppose we get 50 people or 100 people on their feet to establish a business here in the county.

All of us as citizens, we ought to be cheerleaders for our county. This is home, and everywhere we go and people we talk to, and I often say this, and I’ve been told I shouldn’t say this, but basically we’re a poor county, when you look at the whole county, and I know there are people that do well, but for the most part I would love to see our standards come up. And I think that’s possible, and you have to have a plan, and you have to take some chances, and you have to let people know we’re here and we’re going to come along together.

What are your thoughts on parks and recreation?

I attended the meeting last year about the (comprehensive master plan for recreation), and (I would like to see) walking and biking trails, things to get people outside to give kids activities and adults. I see so many people having to go other places for recreation. (Construction of the multi-purpose indoor facility with indoor pool) would be great. Of course, the thing which everyone says is how are we going to pay for it. But when we feel strong enough about something, we find ways to do it, and that’s one thing I would say, be purposeful. I know we can’t do everything all at once, none of us can. Most of us have to plan for something.

I’d also like to see us bring some types of events to the county, like tournaments. That might help our situation some.

Other comments

I’d like to see us, as much as possible, support our teachers, to recruit teachers and keep them here for the long term. (For example) with some of our Teach for America teachers, help them to become Warren County citizens.

WALTER E. POWELL

Warren County native from Macon, graduated in 1968 from North Warren High School; earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, then attended State University of New York at Stony Brook and earned a master’s degree in liberal studies; worked 12 years as a clerk with stocks and bonds with Morgan Guarantee Trust Co. and was in law enforcement for 19 years in New York City; served in the U.S. Navy for six years; returned to Warren County following retirement; has served as a school mentor and is a member of Warrenton Rural Vol. Fire Department; as a county commissioner, serves on the county Finance Committee, Historic Preservation Commission, Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Kerr-Tar HUB Triangle North board of directors, Kerr-Tar Rural Transportation Planning Committee, Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments Board of Directors and Local Foods Council.

Why are you seeking re-election?

I’m seeking re-election to continue with certain changes and things that are in process that I want to be a part of like broadband and parks and recreation and hopefully, we can do something for the veterans.

What are your thoughts on the employee classification study being conducted and addressing employee pay raises?

I feel highly that the county should really look at employee pay. The employees are doing a fine job here, and I feel that over a couple of years they should be rewarded for the job they have done and are doing, and most enjoy what they’re doing, and we should look at this. It will be a start to look into what we need to address right away, compared to down the road (possibly a multi-year plan for bringing salaries up to where they should be).

What are your thoughts about economic development?

I would like to see the county work on bringing low-income, affordable housing. With the land available, see what type of housing could be built so the new teachers (and other new employees to the county) would have somewhere to stay that is affordable, instead of having to hire people to work here who live outside the county.

What are your thoughts on the Frontier Warren project?

It’s a great need for the whole community and all the citizens and a benefit for everyone and for small business growth for the county.

What are your thoughts on parks and recreation?

I would like to see the county look into giving parks and rec a multi-purpose indoor gym and maybe a swimming pool, and space for arts and crafts, and dancing, and get the kids involved on a regular basis. Everybody’s not into sports. The ones who aren’t involved in sports, what do they have to do? The older people, if they don’t go to the Senior Center, they may not go anywhere and share ideas with one another. I would like to see more out-of-town trips for seniors, day trips or overnight trips. I really think parks and rec could provide this, (for example) take them to athletic programs.

Other comments

I would like to see the veterans have a place where they can socialize and relax and talk about war stories and communicate with one another, instead of being outside, a meeting place. And also, I would like to see the Veterans Services office move out of the courthouse. I know myself, I feel the courthouse is for court matters, not for veterans to go and fill out papers. They’re intimidated about going there.

Also, the county and board of education should really work closely together. We should be working hand-in-hand with each other and share ideas on how we can bring the school system up to par. It’s leaning toward improvement, but there’s a lot of work to do. I think we’re on the right track now.

Also, I feel highly that the county, Warrenton and Norlina should come together as partners to work on almost all issues because what affects one, affects all. We’ve got a lot going on, and we’ve got some good commissioners (on all the boards), and if we’re partners in everything, we can all get together and make it happen.

Warren County Board of Education

District 3

Joyce Brothers Long and Roberta S. Scott seek this office.

JOYCE BROTHERS LONG

Warren County native and graduate of Norlina High School; earned Bachelor of Science degree in Math Education from Elizabeth City State University and master’s degree in School Administration and Leadership from North Carolina State University; Educational career of more than 31 years with Warren County Schools before retiring in 2008; includes service as math and science teacher at North Warren and Norlina Middle School, Algebra I and eighth-grade math teacher at Warren County Middle School; curriculum specialist, assistant principal and principal at Mariam Boyd Elementary School; and principal at Warren County High School

Served as a lead teacher with the Roanoke River Valley Consortium representing Warren County Schools working with math and science teachers at all grade levels and, later, master teacher through the consortium, coordinating summer programs for Warren County Middle School eighth-graders and Warren County High School sophomores and rising seniors; after retirement with Warren County Schools, taught math at Parkview Middle School with the Mecklenburg County, Va., school system and at Vance County STEM School, and taught science at Henderson Middle School; currently serves as a part-time math coach at Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School in Hollister

Is a member of Ridgeway Missionary Baptist Church, serving as financial secretary, member of the Usher Board and president of the Gospel Choir; has served on the Warren County Board of Elections, State Employees’ Credit Union Board and Warren County Senior Center Board; member of the Martin Luther King Choir, serving as president; was named Warren County Schools’ Principal of the Year in 2005 and 2006; honored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Mariam Boyd Parent Teacher Association during a Salute to African-American Women with an award for excellence and professionalism

What makes you the better candidate?

I have served in education over 40 years in some aspect. I know what it takes to have a strong, high-performing school. As a board member, I can help explore innovative options that will positively impact the school environment, students and the economic growth of the community.

I’m data driven. Results are my primary interest because I feel like what we put in it is what we get out. I feel like extreme efforts must be implemented in our current process so that we can accomplish a great outcome that yields positive results.

What should be done to increase parental and community involvement in the schools?

The community and the school system should work together, meeting with the community to get their ideas about what would best impact the schools.

I think we should definitely meet with the parents and let them have input in the rules and regulations of the school system, and they should know the expectations of the school system and individual schools. I feel the rules should be clear and consistent.

How can the school system recruit and retain good teachers?

We need to support our teachers. A lot of good teachers are leaving. Have a strong support system within the school system and community for new and existing teachers, and create the right environment for the teachers to teach.

Look at increasing the pay of teachers in areas that are hard to fill, such as Math and Exceptional Children. Reach out to former Warren County students who completed college in certain areas to encourage them to return to the county.

Consistency is good. You have to form a relationship with the students so you can easily determine what their needs are.

All entities should work together in the community. If a family wants to move to Warren County, the first thing they look at is the school system. If you attract the people, you can attract industries.

What can Warren County Schools do to stop losing students to other school systems?

They need to know why students are leaving. Meet with these parents and see why they are leaving Warren County Schools. A lot has to do with discipline. It might have to do with how they are accepted. It might have to do with the curriculum. It might deal with the teacher turnover rate. It might have to do with how parents are treated. We have to pinpoint the cause and come up with innovative ways to solve the problem.

The needs of the students are very important. We need to create pathways of success for students of different needs and interests with courses and activities that meet their interests, such as art, band and chorus.

Also by being supportive of the students by letting them have some input in the rules and regulations to make them feel a part of the school.

Encourage students and be positive in the classroom and school. Encourage them to never stop, never give up. Some may be slow learners, but encourage them to never stop. Talk to kids in a way that makes them feel better, like they have accomplished something.

Teachers and principals shouldn’t be afraid to be creative and strive for their goals for the school. We don’t have to do the same thing in the same old way. Don’t use losing students as an excuse. Work with the ones you have and help them be successful. When you have good state report cards and students are happy to come to schools, the students will come back.

Create an inviting environment that is uplifting and encouraging to students to the point that they feel comfortable and safe, and that you really care. If students feel like you really care for them, they will do their best. I realize it will take time to implement a lot of these ideas.

If you hire a principal, expect the principal to be competent in managing the school. Don’t micromanage. It is the same with teachers. Principals shouldn’t have to manage a teacher’s class

ROBERTA S. SCOTT

Undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a minor in English from D.C. Teacher’s College (the University of the District of Columbia); graduate studies at Boston University with graduate degree in Linguistics and English as a Second Language from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Teaching career of almost 38 years with service as reading/English teacher for U.S. military personnel and teacher with U.S. Department of Defense schools for 18 years; retired from Warren County Schools after teaching from 1981-1985 and 1989-2000

Has served as Adult High School Program coordinator at Vance-Granville Community College; has served on the Warren County Board of Education since 2000 with service as its chairwoman and vice chairwoman

Has served as president of the North Carolina School Boards Association and as ex officio advisor to the state board of education; has served on several working groups with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, currently serving on the N.C. Accountability Working Group; has served on the Warren County Memorial Library Board of Trustees, Warren County Coordinating Council for Senior Citizens and Healthy Carolinians of Warren County Board; member of Chapel Hill Baptist Church; serves as church musician at a number of local churches

What makes you the better candidate?

I don’t think of myself as being better than anyone else. I think of myself as more prepared because I have served, studied and trained in a number of capacities since being on the board of education that have allowed me to network at the local, state and national levels. One thing I try to do as a member of a team, the board of education, it is important for all of us to collaborate and communicate. I have commitment. I also feel like I am a civil person. As team members, we have to be civil. We need consistency. I feel I have consistency and give all I have to give. I have given all I have to give to provide the best education and help children be the best they can be as children and grow into successful adults. I am here to serve.

What should be done to increase parental and community involvement in the schools?

 We should, as much as possible, have activities and events at the schools at other times besides the school day so that parents can attend. We need to give parents a voice, a buy-in so that they can be involved in the planning and preparation. It is important for parents to be part of the successes of their children as well as the successes of the schools.

We realize that our schools are the largest facilities in the county for holding events. We want the community to feel welcome to utilize the facilities while maintaining safety and remaining within safety policy.

We want the community to feel comfortable to volunteer in the schools as it is convenient for them. We want the community to feel like the schools belong to them.

How can the school system recruit and retain good teachers?

What we have been doing is to support any students from our school system who would like to become teachers with a financial stipend. We would love to be able to grow our own and get them to come back. We have a strong new teachers program to support new teachers. We have in place financial support for housing-related expenses.

We need more community support and encouragement for our new teachers to feel like they are part of Warren County. The school system partners with college education programs, but has found that fewer students want to enter the education field.

It is difficult to compete with counties that have higher teacher supplements and more community events to offer. We need a united effort of the school system, county government and community to work together to bring development and social activities.

What can Warren County Schools do to stop losing students to other school systems?

We have tried to offer schools of choice to allow students to choose the school they want to attend, with academies, STEM schools, early college and project-based learning, but this is not unique to Warren County. We want our students back. State evaluations of schools do not make it clear and concise enough that the proficiency grade is not the only component used to determine the school grade. The test score may not present a full picture of the quality of the school.

We definitely need to get aesthetics, music and art, back into the schools. We need to emphasize more our athletic component. Students need to be job ready and have life skills when they leave high school. Not every student will go to college, but they need to be prepared for life.

 

Barbara O. Brayboy and Jennifer D. Sims seek this office.

BARBARA O. BRAYBOY

Graduate of Haliwa High School, Bachelor of Science degree in Elem-entary Education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (formerly Pembroke State College), master’s degree in Elementary Education from North Carolina Central University and Educational Leadership/Principal’s Certification from East Carolina University

Retired after 43 years in education, serving as teacher, curriculum specialist, assistant principal and principal in Warren and Halifax counties, and Kennett Square, Pa.

Has served several terms on the Warren County Board of Education: 1988-92, 2000-04 and 2012-present, including service as board chairwoman and vice chairwoman; has served on the North Carolina School Boards Association’s Legislative Committee, North Carolina School Boards Trust and state Juvenile Crime Prevention Council committee.

Serves as a member of the Warren County Memorial Library Board of Trustees, board member of the Warren County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, board of directors of the Warren County Senior Citizens Advisory Council, Halifax Electric Membership Corporation and Warren County Community Foundation, member of the Warren County NAACP and Haliwa-Saponi Senior Citizens Organization and volunteer with Warren County Schools.

Member of Walnut Grove Baptist Church, serving as church clerk, youth Sunday school teacher, choir member and missions director

What makes you the better candidate?

My background as a teacher and mentor and the skills and knowledge I gained through education and training. I have received extensive training (as a school board member) from the North Carolina School Boards Association and National School Boards Association of more than 900 hours.

I have a passion for education. I want all children to be successful.

I am a retired teacher of 43 years with many learning experiences. I have helped make informed decisions having an impact on the education of our children.

I have a vested interest in our schools, community and our county. My focus is to help provide opportunities for a sound, basic education

What should be done to increase parental and community involvement?

We need open communication. I feel parents should be able to call and visit schools and talk to the principals and teachers. I would like to see more partnerships to have more parental and community involvement.

I want parents to feel welcome and not threatened when there is a visit to school to talk to teachers and school staff. Schools should communicate with parents and guardians not just when there is a problem, but for good things, whenever there is something at school. Parents should be celebrated. I would like to see a parental talking circle with teachers to talk about concerns and what they want to be done. I encourage PTA involvement and for parents to volunteer in the schools.

Parents and guardians need to know they are appreciated. Once they know they are appreciated, it opens the door to build good relationships.

If there is a problem, I want parents to feel comfortable when they talk to principals and school staff. Parents need to know they are not only wanted, but needed to be part of their child’s education. They are their child’s first teachers.

Businesses and the faith community can adopt schools and volunteer in the schools. I want to see the superintendent’s advisory committees with students, parents, faith-based community, businesses and other members of the community continue. When all stakeholders work together for the benefit of our children, we will have successful students.

How can the school system recruit and retain good teachers?

More than anything, provide the support they need: mentors, professional development and the resources they need, such as technology, books, teaching feedback and constructive feedback.

We need to continue new teacher orientation with support from community organizations and businesses. We need to continue the local salary supplement, having teachers recognized with celebrations, the mentor program and professional development, relocation and utility reimbursements, sign-on bonuses, tuition reimbursement and (participation in the state) teacher loan forgiveness program.

What can Warren County Schools do to stop losing students to other school settings?

We offer school choice at the middle and high school levels.

I think adding more course offerings could be an important factor in bringing students back to the county schools. This may be a way to again partner with Vance-Granville Community College.

We can develop a partnership with charter schools, private schools and parents who home school their children. If there are classes they don’t feel comfortable teaching or if students want to participate in extracurricular activities or sports, we can build a partnership and offer dual enrollment.

We should build a good working relationship and see the common bond, something we or they are doing that can benefit children. The superintendent has begun the process of communicating with charter school administrators. I am sure that there are things we can share that could benefit both (traditional public schools and other educational settings). We need to figure out a way to work together to benefit all children.

We also need a new branding for our school system. We need more communication on what the county school system is doing effectively.

JENNIFER D. SIMS

Warren County native and graduate of Warren County High School, Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising and Textiles, and graduate work in Education and Special Education from N.C. A&T State University

Currently in her 31st year of her career in Education; has taught at North Warren Elementary School and reading and English at Warren County Middle School in Warren County; taught Food and Nutrition at Southeast Halifax High School in Halifax County; served as countywide transition coordinator for Career and Technical Education at the Halifax County Central Office.

Has served as statewide educational consultant for the Exceptional Children Division with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction for the past 11 years.

Has served as registration chairwoman for the NC DPI Collaborative Conference on Student Achievement, and trainer for teachers and administrators for the North Carolina Exceptional Children Conference.

Serves as treasurer of the Warren County Emancipation Proclamation Committee and is a member of Greenwood Baptist Church, where she serves as secretary for the Trustee Board, and chairwoman of the Youth and Education Ministry and the Hospitality Committee.

What makes you the better candidate?

Other than being from Warren County, I have served in several educational capacities. I have been PTA president at Mariam Boyd and Northside, served on the superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee and the GEAR-Up Executive Committee.

I have been a part of education in Warren County for many years and have seen changes. I think of my background working for the state and in many aspects of my career. I bring a different aspect of change to the county. I’m involved in a lot of different things in the community. Between my education, experience and involvement in the community, I am the better candidate.

What should be done to increase parental and community involvement in the schools?

We’ve got to try to reach parents where they are. We need to have forums and listen to the concerns of parents and students, and address them, not just have a forum, but address the concerns of the community. From talking to parents, parents often feel they don’t have communication with the administration and are told what to do, and don’t have an active role (in their child’s education). We need to see their concerns. One of their concerns is school uniforms. We haven’t listened to parents’ concerns.

How can the school system recruit and retain good teachers?

To retain teachers, we need to allow them to do their jobs. In Warren County, I’ve often heard teachers talking about being micro-managed. We need to allow principals and building-level administrators to run their building, to allow teachers to teach and not tell them what to do. Teachers have pacing guides. The problem is being told what to do in everything. They often feel they have no say-so in what they are doing.

To recruit teachers, we need to showcase the good qualities of life in the area. We are close to the Raleigh area and the lake area. There are a lot of positive things in Warren County to attract teachers. Once they are here, we need to show we are appreciative of their good work in Warren County, not just take them for granted.

We need to set up a program for students who leave Warren County to get their degrees to bring them back to the county. We need to set up a mentorship program or sponsor some students in getting their degrees, something like Teach for America for home-grown teachers. We would help pay for their education and let them come home and work in Warren County.

What can Warren County Schools do to stop losing students to other school settings?

Talking to parents who have taken students out of Warren County, (I have found) there are a lot of parents who live in Warren County and make arrangements for their children to go to other schools. We need to take time to talk to parents to find out why they took them away, what they were doing at the other school that was not done in Warren County and what we could do better.

It is not necessarily about bringing students back. We want to stop losing students. Many times when parents take students out, they have made up their minds. We need to find out why they left. Also for home-schooled students, we need to find out the problem and what we can do differently.

Warren County Register of Deeds

Yvonne Alston and Emily Y. Newell seek this office.

YVONNE ALSTON

Warren County native and graduate of John R. Hawkins High School

Studied Business at Vance-Granville Com-munity College; ongoing register of deeds classes and conferences

Worked at Vance-Warren Comprehensive Health Plan for 21 years, including as a patient service supervisor

Began working at the Warren County Register of Deeds office in 2003 as a deputy register of deeds, later became assistant register of deeds and interim register of deeds

In 2011, was appointed as register of deeds to complete an unexpired term; was first elected register of deeds in 2012 and reelected in 2016

Previously served as a mentor in the community

Member of Unity Prayer House of Faith, where she serves as financial secretary and as a member of other committees

Has served with a mentor organization working with youth

What makes you the better candidate?

I feel that the reason I am the better candidate is because I enjoy helping the citizens of Warren County and surrounding counties. I have been working at the register of deeds office for 17 years with nine years as register of deeds. During that time, I have gained a lot of knowledge that will help the citizens of Warren County and surrounding counties. I have exposure to the day-to-day responsibilities of the register of deeds office. With my experience and knowledge working in the office and enjoyment of helping the citizens, I feel that that makes me more qualified.

Why is the position of register of deeds important?

It is important because of the fact that the register of deeds is the office for recording and securing real estate documents such as deeds, deeds of trust and maps. We issue marriage licenses, we file marriage licenses, and we file death certificates (for deaths) that took place in Warren County. We issue certified copies of marriage licenses, birth certificates and death certificates, and we do a lot more. We file military discharges for the veterans of Warren County. We also do notary oaths. These are the things that we do along with daily routine work.

What improvements have you made as register of deeds?

In the office, we have scanned real estate deeds from 1860 to the present. We have scanned vital records, which are available by computer in the office. Deeds from 1860-1989 are available by computer in the office. Deeds from 1989 to present are on the register of deeds website for the public to access.

We have scanned all maps in the office, and they are on the website for the public.

We hope to be able to scan deeds from the 1700s as the budget allows.

Why should voters put their trust in you?

I feel like they can put their trust in me because I believe in doing the right thing, running the office as it should be run and making sure that the day-to-day work is carried out as it should be. Also because I’m honest, I’m reliable, and I believe in doing what’s right.

EMILY Y. NEWELL

Warren County native and graduate of Warren County High School

Associate degree in Business from Louisburg College and certification in Real Estate from Vance-Granville Com-munity College

Worked as a legal secretary/paralegal for almost 17 years; currently works as processing assistant with Warren County Environmental Health

Member of Macon Baptist Church: choir member and involved with youth and children

Serves the community wherever needed

What makes you the better candidate?

I worked at the Warren County Register of Deeds office for three years. I am very familiar with the register of deeds and confident in being able to perform the job.

I love helping people. My background definitely gives me an advantage in having the knowledge to run the register of deeds.

Why is the position of register of deeds important?

Because there is a plethora of information that people don’t know exists. I have had people ask me what the office is, what’s the position, what do you do, and the answer is the office holds very important documents, everything from marriage licenses to deeds. We’re talking about land transfers. Once they are recorded, they become public record and will always be a part of history.

The position is important to me because history is important.

All of these public records are part of someone’s life, and that’s important.

What improvements would you make as register of deeds?

Promoting the office in the aspect of letting people know what is in there and how much information they can find and gather, and just how knowledgeable the staff is in the office.

The office can offer marriage licenses and the old documents in the vault that people need for researching family history.

High school students might want to come in and research the history contained in the books.

I have to answer questions about what the register of deeds is. I tell people that it is more than just a position. It’s helping people and preserving history.

Why should voters put their trust in you?

Because I am confident in my ability to do the job. I know how to do the job, and I’m trustworthy and dependable.

I believe in Warren County 100 percent. There is a lot of potential for the county to continue in the right direction (technology, economic development and jobs), and promoting our county offices and all that they contain and have is very important.