Mrs. Amanda Deaton – Nelson Co. Schools (D5), KY

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Mrs. Amanda Deaton is running for a school board position in District 5 of Nelson Co. Schools, KY.

Amanda can be reached through email at:
(For more detail on the exact questions asked, see the Survey Guide)



MOTIVATION:  Having grown up in Nelson County and attended Nelson County schools, I have great affection for this school district.  The educators that invested in me in those early years made a lasting impression on my life.  Having children in the Nelson County school district, I remain committed to Nelson County schools.
The Nelson County school board was first on my radar in the spring of 2021 when the Nelson County superintendent announced plans to close community schools and consolidate middle school and high school students into a combined campus model. I expressed concerns throughout the process based on numerous factors, including, but not limited to the economic impact the loss of community schools would have on our small communities, transportation issues associated with this project, the impact the proposal would have on traffic on our already congested roadways and the sheer lack of data to support the benefits of this particular educational model, to name a few.  These concerns fell on deaf ears.  It was throughout this process that I realized that parents and community members need an advocate on the board of education.
While the issue of school consolidation sparked my interest in serving on the board, digging deeper I became aware of even bigger issues.  Given the opportunity that exists within our county, we should be leading the state in academic achievement.  We are not. We are underperforming in critical areas such as reading and math. Academic achievement has taken a back seat to lesser goals, and our children are suffering.  Regardless of a student’s postsecondary or vocational ambitions, this is a foundational area children must master for future academic and career success.  These are all areas that can be adequately addressed with improved board leadership.
ROLE OF EDUCATION:  Of all the social institutions that exist in communities, public schools are THE great unifier.  Affecting every person in the community – first as students, and later as parents, taxpayers, and community members – community members feel a deep sense of ownership in good schools.  While serving the academic functions of increasing knowledge and developing career preparation, public schools do more than just distribute educational content.  If Covid taught us nothing else it is that schools are vital for the social-emotional development of students, and they oftentimes serve as the community focal point for distribution of basic needs such as nutrition and health services.
​Available to all, public schools blend diverse groups of people, merging all races and socioeconomic groups.  To assume that this merging affects only the students within the four walls of the school is to miss an even greater truth.  The influence of strong public schools stretches deep into our community.
​Strong public schools tie people to their community.  Schools are, oftentimes, the one thing we have in common.  But the inverse is also true.  When our public schools fail to properly educate, prepare, and assimilate students, our communities suffer.  Strong schools that challenge and motivate students and foster an environment of learning graduate students that take those same values into our communities.
CURRENT DISTRICT ASSESSMENT:  Given the opportunity that exists within our county, we should be leading the state in academic achievement.  We are not.  We are underperforming in critical areas such as reading and math. Academic achievement has taken a back seat to lesser goals, and our children are suffering.  Regardless of a student’s postsecondary or vocational ambitions, these are foundational areas children must master for future academic and career success.
Our district has in recent years focused on the importance of community partnerships and work-based learning opportunities for upperclassmen.  The district has done an excellent job developing relationships with community businesses and that effort has translated into some unique work-based learning opportunities for students.  Certainly not all students benefit from pre-college coursework, and recognizing that and investing in trade programs is a positive step toward including a variety of students and community members.
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE:  There should be academic standards for pupils and established expectations for education in the district.  We know that reading and math are foundational for future success in  any field, regardless of post-secondary ambitions.  There should be a concerted goal to have students ON GRADE LEVEL for reading and math.  While we don’t want to pursue test scores in and of themselves, we should recognize there is some value in that information.  Things that get “measured” get “managed”.  We need to be holding our district accountable on academic achievement, and quantifying deficits and progress is critical to that.
TAXING & SPENDING:  School board members should be fiscally responsible.  I believe parents, school boards and administrators should take a hard look at the district budget to make sure the maximum amount of public-school funds are spent on classroom instruction instead of non-instructional overhead.  This is especially important as public schools are now competing for students, not only with private and parochial schools but in the future with charter schools.
A big component of fiscal responsibility is minimizing administrative costs.   We have a small army of consultants, administrators, assistants, public relations and graphic designers…  We need to ask the question: Does this help educate children, or could the money be better used in the classroom?
I do not believe tax increases should be automatic.  Quite the opposite, tax increases should be given the utmost scrutiny, especially in our county with persistent growth and development.  With the increase in property valuations, the Board is consistently receiving more revenue than it did during the prior year even if it leaves the “rates” the same.  It is safe to say our coffers are full.  We need to focus on using wisely the vast resources we’ve already been allotted.
CHARTER SCHOOLS:  While I have no doubt the advent of charter schools will bring with it the promise of some unique innovative schools, I have grave concerns on the overall impact charter schools will have on our educational system – and the future of quality public education.
In an era when public education is already under-funded, we are taking away much needed dollars from our public schools.  Furthermore, it seems to be a step backwards in terms of equal access to education.  Unlike public schools, charter schools are not known for their ethnic or racial diversity..  Research shows that charter schools weed out, suspend and expel troubled students instead of helping them.
Charter schools are profit-based, rather than student-focused.  The prospect of profiteering makes them ripe for corruption.  I am not in favor of promoting charter schools as a school board entity.
SEL & DEI:  No answer provided.
RESOURCE ALLOCATION:  No answer provided.
STUDENT DISCIPLINE:  No answer provided.
COVID:  No answer provided.
OTHER THINGS VOTERS SHOULD KNOW:  I grew up on a dairy farm in Cox’s Creek, Kentucky.  As the child of a farmer and former teacher, the values of hard work and education always carried equal weight in my home.  The truth that overwhelmed me, even as a child, was that education was the cornerstone of empowerment.
I attended Nelson County Schools and graduated in 1998 from Nelson County High School.  After graduation from Samford University, I attended law school at the University of Kentucky and returned to Bardstown to practice law in 2005.
I am married to William Deaton, and we have three children:  Oliver (17), Knox (15) and Ellis (8).  We live on a farm in Cox’s Creek and our family is actively involved in Bloomfield Baptist Church.  I believe the Bible is God’s holy, inspired word.  I believe Jesus is the son of God, and that He died on the cross for my sins.  My faith in God is a vital component in my life and the life of my family, and it underpins everything else with which I believe and aspire to.
As a local attorney, I have worked for over 17 years representing families and children in our community.  I am attorney for the City of Bloomfield, KY, where I have been involved in local government for nearly 13 years.  I believe I have the passion, knowledge and experience to serve well on the Nelson County School Board.

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