Carol Todd is the Incumbent running for Sarasota County School Board, District 1. District 1 covers the northern quadrant of Sarasota County, generally north of Bee Ridge to University, and west to Longboat Key to east to I-75. Carol Todd has served three terms on the School Board, approximately 12 years.
Background – Carol Todd is a State approved governance trainer/consultant for charter schools. She has a B.A. in sociology, M.A. in special education, and Ph.D in Education. She is an assistant professor at St. Leo University, St. Leo, Florida. Todd also is a national education consultant. Todd moved to Tampa, Florida, in 1970, and to Sarasota in 1989. Todd is married, has one grandchild, and two nephews in the Sarasota area. Todd has been a volunteer in the Sarasota school system for at least 10 years.
Incumbent – In running as an Incumbent Todd continues to set herself apart due to experience, knowledge of issues, and ability to make tough choices that are not always popular. Todd continues to want to stress financial responsibility.
Running for office – Todd is running for office this election because she believes she can bring knowledge and expertise “for stabilizing the district.” Todd claims that the previous Superintendent put monies into initiatives with no studies to indicate the progress of those initiatives; there was not evaluation of same. Todd does not like to see programs built up and then cut due to lack of planning and understanding of the need for certain programs, such as active boards and literacy coaches. Todd points out that she has voted several times against the budget because it seemed too generous and did not necessarily provide for what was needed.
Plans – Todd wants to continue to advocate for student achievement, especially addressing low performing students. Todd would also like to see succession plans for administrators. Todd would like to address evaluating initiatives along with student achievement to make sure plans are going hand in hand and are not wasteful.
Issues – Todd wants to see oversight on overspending in the budget, such as previously voting against small learning consultants. Todd indicates that infrastructure at this time is not an issue, but will be in the decade to come, such as rebuilding Booker and Venice Highschools, and planning needs to be considered towards future projects. Todd would like to see more diverse learning opportunities for students, such as adding Chinese to language choices, and providing more opportunities at SCTI to allow students to choose better opportunities for themselves.
Experience – Todd advocates for parents to be involved and have roles in students’ education. Todd taught in public school for about 10 years, including teaching special education. Todd is currently working on research regarding using active boards with students with autism, and has presented her findings internationally, including recently in Latvia. Todd has experience with writing curriculum and consulting in dealing with school finance, especially in regards to charter schools.
Teacher Salaries – Todd stresses that its most important to have effective teachers, and that they need to be professionals. Salaries need to be such to keep good teachers, but has to be numbers that the County can afford. Todd believes there needs to be a balance between salary and benefits. Todd indicates that Sarasota is one of the top paying counties in the State. Todd points out that merit pay does not necessarily work – evaluating teachers cannot just be reliant on one standardized test. Todd also points out that collective-bargaining agreements do not necessarily help teachers in accomplishing positive gains.
Standardized tests – Todd thinks that standardized tests have their place, but should not be used to punish a school district.
Additional concepts in Education – Todd is a proponent of arts and music in education as it helps in the learning process. Todd points out that in comparing students in the United States with other countries that U.S. students do well, but what makes the difference is that most countries have vocational track systems, which is not as widely available in the U.S.