Ms. Carolyn Hawkins Wolfe – Boone Co. Schools (D1), KY

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Ms. Carolyn Hawkins Wolfe is running for School Board in District 1 of Boone Co. Schools, KY.

Carolyn can be reached through email at:
or on Facebook at her campaign website:
(For more detail on the exact questions asked, see the Survey Guide)



MOTIVATION: Over the last 8 years I have had a front row seat to the end users of our counties policies and procedures. Teachers have been met with more regulations and mandatory to-do list items. These same teachers have been refused resources to help them accomplish these requirements. Their pay has not been increased to a level that is acceptable for what they are required to do.
Schools are seeing curriculum stripped for things such as reading programs. When schools seek funding for said programs, they have been refused. Meanwhile, programs like Portrait of a Graduate are taking a priority. A program that nobody can clearly define or understand. Currently, my kids own school does NOT have a reading curriculum. This is an elementary school, which makes it even more alarming. The priorities are not in the correct place. A poster on the wall or repackaging of something we were already doing, and paying a lot of money for it and then denying schools access to things they NEED shows that the current powers that be are out of touch with the end users. I am also seeing school administrators that lack accountability. Schools in our district have teachers afraid of retaliation if they speak up or out about things they want to see fixed or if they want to express an opinion that is contrary to their principal. Teachers do not feel they have anywhere to go. They do not feel supported by anyone right now. This includes school administration, the school district, board of education and even their own union.
Parents are feeling walled off from a connection with their kids schools. COVID bred a fortress school culture through the county that is dangerous. Parent involvement is critical to the success of a student and their school. Shut out the parents and your school stops thriving. School administrators in many schools in the county, especially middle and high school level, only want parents involved if they are bringing money or making money for the school. Anything beyond that is considered an inconvenience. Schools in our county also have some inconsistencies in areas that should not be inconsistent, such as the grading system and communication strategies.
All of the above are the main issues that drove me to run for this office. Being a person that is considered a problem solver and a bulldog I was asked to run by many in my community. I think I can do a lot to help with these issues and any others. Not because I know best, but because I will listen to the people that do know the best.
ROLE OF EDUCATION:  Public Education was an important priority of our founding fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson. The thought was, if the right to vote is going to be so widely given then the people that will vote should be able to understand the issues before them. It was also believed that the best place for information to be preserved is with people in general, and why everyone knowing how to read along with a free press is so such an important element to our society.
A well-rounded and effective public education is critical to the survival of our Republic for those basic reason and why investing heavily in public education is so important. As far as elements that should be handled by schools vs. parents, I find this a hard question to answer because I believe that all elements of education should have a parental element. Parents should be involved. School should encourage that.
CURRENT DISTRICT ASSESSMENT:  Currently the Boone County School District is struggling with things like teacher retention and recruitment, not funding programs the schools need and request, and communication strategies.
To help improve it I would develop 2 separate monthly round tables. One for teachers and one for school administrators. I would not select people; it would be an open door. I would try to diagnose the issues from their perspective and then see what can be done from my end to help solve their problems or at least address them. I would also have an open-door confidential policy for employees that wanted to discuss an issue or an idea. Even if it is not the role of the school board to fix that issue, I may be able to help get it on the school districts radar or get them to the right place or put them in touch with the right resources.
I would visit schools and ask to see programs they have developed out of necessity. I would also like to see the things that work and the things that do not from their perspective. No 2 schools are the same. However, some of their ideas can be used by other schools that may have the same needs and lack of resources. They may also have ideas that the district can expand on and put more resources towards.
As far as what they are doing right. The physical safety of our children improves a little more every year. The partnership with the sheriff’s department has been strong. That needs to be maintained and continually strengthened.
Technology access has grown and adapted since my oldest started school. I watched the technology plan adapt to get a Chromebook into the hands of every student in the district. This can be sustained or improved upon by more focus on privacy and more creative ways to educate parents on the ways they can keep their kids safe. There also needs to be more transparency and better communication on what happens when kids use certain programs, or any data is collected. Where does it go and how is it used?
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE:  This is where a healthy relationship with our end users is critical. Honestly, there is a lot that would go into answering this question. Too much to unpackage here.
However, test scores should not be the focus of a student’s education. I would work to pull us away from that mentality. If we are really serious about improving students academically our focus would be more on trying to meet the needs of all learning styles, which can honestly be simply addressed by giving teachers more control in their classrooms.
We would also look more closely at why socioeconomics plays more into student success than resources. This means that even schools getting more title one funding are not seeing any significant improvement.
TAXING & SPENDING:  I think the school system does some things well and some things no so well in terms of spending money. Example: we need to build more schools, but we do not need to build schools that look like they belong in Architectural Digest. The money spent on the not so little extras could be used to replace outdated technology in other schools. It needs to be needs over wants.
As far as tax increases, it depends on what that looks like. What are we taxing? If we legalized cannabis and taxed that to benefit public schools, I would be all for that. Increasing taxes on things that people are required to use to live, such as electricity or water is something I would not be for. Taxes that impact mostly homeowners are unfair, especially to middle class families. Taxes for luxury and taxes for simply living are 2 different animals.
Every budget has room to for trimming.
CHARTER SCHOOLS:  Anytime a school is publicly funded it should be held accountable by an elected school board. If there is no accountability to the public then there should be no public funds given. And the accountability MUST be local.
I do not feel that the school district should take time to promote them since there will be no accountability to them. Why should the district promote something they have no control over?
SEL & DEI:  I do feel that Social-Emotional Learning and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are 2 different animals.
In the world of SEL, you are dealing with an issue of what is and what is not the responsibility of the school. In my opinion, SEL is something teachers have been doing since the dawn of time. And SEL is something that should be natural in nearly every human interaction, in and outside of school. Every interaction is SEL.
Do we need to have this tracked by a scoring system or some fancy new program, no. Any training should be totally focused on the human element. A computer should never touch this aspect of a child’s life.
SEL is also something that I feel should be more in the arena of the parent with the school in the background. There is a fine line between being a resource and being an equal. When it comes to social and emotional learning, schools should be a resource and not an equal to a parent or guardian. A high financial investment in SEL is a waste of money in my opinion. Especially when schools are struggling to get things like history, arts and reading programs in their schools.
As far as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)–I do believe that this is important, and this is an area that teachers need to be trained on AND parents need to have the opportunity to be trained on as well. Boone County is evolving. Any changes in a community are seen first in the schools. Anytime we have change we have new need. Anytime there are new needs there are new things to be discovered and implemented.
RESOURCE ALLOCATION:  I believe in equity not equality.
This is a complex question that cannot be answered briefly in writing.
The issue of socioeconomics and how it impacts education is very complex. There is something broken right now when schools getting more funding pumped into them due to socioeconomic status is not showing any remarkable improvement when it comes to the current benchmark indicators, test scores.
This is something that I am working on learning more about because of the juggernaut that it is.
STUDENT DISCIPLINE:  This is another complex issue that cannot be answered briefly in writing.
EVERY incident that happens with a student should include parental involvement. It is not a pick and choose thing. Again, parents are the authority the school is just the resource.
I do feel that each incident should be evaluated on its own merit.
I do not know any sane person that would feel that student demographic should determine how they are disciplined or evaluated.
As far as “alternative schools” or segregating kids with chronic behavioral issues: Students should have a learning environment that is free of distraction. If a student is so much of a problem that they are hindering the learning environment, then other steps should be taken to correct that situation.
How much the public school system invests into that is the big question.
This is something I have not looked at closely enough to determine if it is something that warrants an expansion of “alternative” schools.
COVID:  I will say that I was disappointed to see the mask mandates were in place much longer than they needed to be. We also need to protect our children’s health by not promoting them receiving vaccines that are not yet fully FDA approved.
OTHER THINGS VOTERS SHOULD KNOW:  I am an Army Veteran with a career background in Human Resources. I currently serve on our local YMCA Board and am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, where I serve as the Historian and Community Classroom Chairperson for my county and the Chairperson of Historic Preservation for my state.
I have 2 daughters, one in 8th grade and one in 4th. My husband is an Air Traffic Controller at CVG.
I have been volunteering in public schools since my oldest was in kindergarten. I started as an event Chairperson, moved into fundraising and then became the 14th District PTA Secretary then Vice President of Field Services.
In that role I was able to work with multiple PTAs, mostly in Boone County. I was able to help them navigate their finances (budget development and how to not mismanage nonprofit funds), meeting management and helping them mind the legal stuff like bylaws and standing rules.
I did a lot of this during the COVID days, which allowed me the opportunity to help parent organizations adapt and still be effective partners for their school. Through this opportunity I have had a front row seat to the lives of teachers, administrators and students. I have seen the differences in our schools and what works and what does not from the perspective of the end user of those policies and procedures.
Currently, I am serving as the President of my youngest childs PTA. Even within this role, I am still happy to be and am considered a resource and to do what I can to help other PTAs and PTOs when they ask for it.

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