Goldman, Pryor vie for Indian River school board seat

Voters head to the polls — or mail in their absentee ballots ahead of — July 21 for this year’s school board election. Downstate, there are seven contested elections. Learn a little bit more about the candidates below and check back for more districts this week.

To cast a ballot absentee, voters must return an absentee affidavit four days before the election. The affidavit can be found at: elections.delaware.gov/services/voter/absentee/school.shtml.

The affidavit can be returned by mail, fax and an email to absenteesc@delaware.gov.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, at 120 Atlantic Ave., Ocean View, and Indian River High School, at 29772 Armory Road., Dagsboro. Voters must be a resident of District 4 of the Indian River School District.

Greg Goldman and Connie Pryor are running for Indian River’s district four school board seat, vacated by Charles Bireley. District 4, in the Ocean View and Millville area, runs from Prince Georges Acres to Cape Winslow.

GREG GOLDMAN

Greg Goldman

Why did you decide to run for school board?

I decided to run for the school board because I want to make a positive contribution to my community and ensure the future of our children. I feel this is an opportunity for new leadership that will put the needs of our children first, while also taking the best interest of the community and educators into consideration.

This is a very transitional period for the Indian River School District and it is crucial that we focus on the future of our district as well as the rapidly changing demographics of our community. As a member of the District Citizen’s Budget Oversight Committee, I have learned a tremendous amount about the challenges we face. Considering my current knowledge of the district, my work experience in Sussex County and that I am also a parent of children in the district, I am confident that I will make a sound and positive contribution to our schools and community.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your district, and how would you address it?

In the short term, we need to focus on the concerns parents have about keeping their children safe as well as keeping our staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also providing the best education and social and emotional support that we possibly can. We need to work together with local, state and federal health care professionals and our wonderful teaching and support staff to understand and create the best course of action for our children and our schools. I work for a company that has shifted very quickly in response to the COVID-19 crisis to effectively use new cutting edge technology. I have the experience to help the schools do the same. Now more than ever, we need leadership who understands and can use the virtual and technological tools necessary for our schools to succeed in the easiest way possible for students, parents and educators alike.

In the long term, growth is our biggest concern. It is critical that we continue to educate and involve the local community in decisions. In the past few years, our now former Superintendent, Mark Steele, did a fantastic job leading the way on how we handle growth. I will continue to advocate for transparency within the district. I will also advocate for impact fees benefiting the school district so that new members of the community, full time and part time, are contributing their fair share of the burden our schools are facing.

What are a few areas you’d like to focus on as a school board member?

With the recent dramatic shift in our economy to a more virtual world, I would like to focus on bringing those technologies to the district. Many large corporations around the country and around the world are shifting their workforce to work from home on a permanent status. Since our community is a destination for many throughout the north east, we are already seeing large numbers of people moving here. With that being said, as parents, we will need to prepare our children to be ready to participate in this type of learning environment. While it is not ideal, it is not impossible.

I would also like to focus on strategic planning for the future of the District and how we are going to finance the future growth without putting the burden on the community. Also, as a parent, I worry that when my children graduate from High School and leave for college, they will choose not to come back so they can pursue opportunities that are not currently available locally. I would like to work with the business community to figure out how we can create new opportunities that will keep our families together. Lastly, it is so important that we make sure our children are safe in school while receiving the best possible education.

What do you offer that your opponent may not?

I offer a long term vested interest in the success of the District. Critical decisions and changes that will affect the future of the district do not happen over night. I have every intention of seeing things through and making them come to fruition. I have young children in elementary school and have first hand knowledge and current experience of what challenges we face. Listening to our students, parents, educators and support staff and our community is critical to making the schools operate efficiently and effectively everyday. I am a Sussex County business owner, have many years of experience working as an independent contractor and have in depth knowledge and experience in the building and real estate industry in Sussex County. Also, being a member of the local business community, I understand how important it is to have a strong education system for the future of our community and local workforce.

What relevant experience prepares you for this role?

My professional work experience, both past and present, have provided me with extensive technological training, problem solving and negotiating skills and experience in listening and moderating. I bring a fresh, new, business oriented mindset to the Indian River School District. Additionally, I have been a member of the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee for the district since its inception 3 years ago which has given me a working knowledge of how the District has been operating. We need new ideas and someone who is not afraid to ask the tough questions and not give up just because they are told “we don’t do it that way.” We need someone who can understand the technologies of the 21st century. I possess the attributes necessary to facilitate changes and overcome the obstacles our district faces in the future.

CONNIE PRYOR

Connie Pryor

Why did you decide to run for school board?

I decided to run to represent District 4 because I will speak up to make our District better for our students and for the staff that gives so much.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your district, and how would you address it?

At the moment, getting students back to school is the biggest challenge. The Board can only follow the Governor’s directions and plan for the upcoming school year.

What are a few areas you’d like to focus on as a school board member?

Wise spending. Transparency. Student safety — both health and building.

What do you offer that your opponent may not?

I have been employed as a school secretary in IRSD for 28 years and recently retired. I have dealt with administrators, students, parents, teachers, bus drivers, nurses, para[professionals], campus monitors and visitors.

What relevant experience prepares you for this role?

As a secretary, I have an understanding of the budget process, school safety plan, transportation planning, student attendance policy, parent concerns, and the day to day operation of a school.