05-26-2008, 12:03 PM #1
Trisha Porter Hutchison Introduction
I would like to introduce myself. I'm Trish Hutchison, and I'm running for Superintendent of Schools.
Being a resident of Walton County for most of my life, I live in Mossy Head near my parents, Gordon and Corinne Porter. I am a graduate of Walton High School, OWC, and UWF.
Currently, I teach in a 4th grade inclusion class at Maude Saunders Elementary in DeFuniak. In addition to teaching at MSE, I have served and continue to serve as the Professional Development Chair and School Improvement Co-Chair. Also, I have been the lead teacher for the University of West Florida's SES tutoring program at Maude Saunders for the past two years.
In the past, I have been a part of the District Advisory Committee as a parent representative for West DeFuniak Elementary.
I am very open to everyone's concerns. If anyone would like to speak to me personally, my home number is 951-2030. I appreciate you taking the time to read this introduction.
05-27-2008, 07:36 AM #2"Americans always try to do the right thing - -
after they've tried everything else."
Sir Winston Churchill
05-28-2008, 04:56 PM #3
Thanks for the welcome!
05-28-2008, 06:23 PM #4
We need changes right away to save the rights of our children and school system employees. Teachers must have freedom to teach without fear.
05-29-2008, 07:30 PM #5
You are very brave and I admire that tremendously.
05-29-2008, 07:44 PM #6
Thank you! I agree that we need changes for the sake of our children. Fortunately, we have an election process that enables us to make changes when we are not listened to otherwise.
Last edited by trish hutchison; 05-29-2008 at 07:49 PM.
05-29-2008, 08:26 PM #7
Welcome Trisha and thanks for listing your qualifications in the first post.
It would be helpful if we could have a little more substance than the dialog between you and ElitoDJ, which makes it look like 2 people having a conversation about gripes and the rest of us have no idea what you are talking about.
For example, why are teachers teaching in fear? Where is this happening? ElitoDJ's comment is a little vague and is inflammatory only.
I do have a few questions- Do you have any head of school experience, or a supervisory staff position? How do your qualifications qualify you for the Superintendent position? What changes would you make in the WCSD?
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05-30-2008, 04:57 PM #9
That is why I love America.
05-30-2008, 04:59 PM #10
These are not gripes. I am only expressing how I feel.
05-30-2008, 05:32 PM #11
05-30-2008, 06:34 PM #12
I was simply expressing my feelings. I am not involved in a campaign at this time. If you need information, discuss your concerns with children, parents, teachers and administrators in our school system.
It is also refreshing to remember that, some of our best leaders in this country, were leading for the first time.
Last edited by ElitoDJ; 05-30-2008 at 06:37 PM.
05-30-2008, 09:39 PM #13
05-30-2008, 10:06 PM #14
We also welcome you posting your feelings and thoughts but you should start a new thread for expressing ideas and feelings that aren't directly related to the candidate's campaign.
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05-31-2008, 12:24 PM #16
Thank you ElitoDJ and jdarg for your comments and questions.
In addition to teaching, I am also a part of the leadership team at Maude Saunders Elementary. Currently, I serve as the Professional Development Chair and School Improvement Co-Chair at MSE. As the Professional Development chair, I assist teachers in acquiring the professional development that they need to renew their teaching certificate. As the School Improvement Co-Chair, I assist in coordinating various committees in the school to write the school's school improvement plan. Also being a clinical educator, I train student teachers, as well as, mentor any other teacher that may be in need of extra support. In addition, I work for the University of West Florida as a lead teacher for their SES tutoring program. Being the lead teacher, I act as a mediator between the students, tutors, parents, UWF, and the school.
ElitoDJ mentioned that there is an element of fear in our school district. If you know anyone in the school district, let me urge you to ask them about it privately.
05-31-2008, 01:05 PM #17
I will ask the many teachers and administrators that I know in SoWal about your comment, and look forward in hearing their comments.
06-01-2008, 12:00 AM #18
It sounds like you are very involved. I am aware of the positions you mentioned and know how much work and skill is involved. I am very impressed.
06-01-2008, 08:33 AM #19
George Washington was the FIRST President but also had tremendous military LEADERSHIP to prepare him for this role having led the victory over the British. Trish can you outline your leadership roles?
I agree with you on this one...
Keep after'em Jdarg! If they aren't willing to answer direct questions or are unable to back up their claims, they shouldn't run for office.
And I'm a teacher and I don't like everything that goes on in the system. But, I haven't heard of anyone fearing for their job.
Last edited by 30ABandMan; 06-03-2008 at 02:44 PM.
06-03-2008, 10:35 AM #21
The positions listed are leadership roles. They are diverse and exemplify rare ability. To be involved at this level, demonstrates that this educator is working toward improving the quality of education our children receive. She is performing duties that require exceptional skills and dedication.
06-10-2008, 10:09 PM #22
Sure they involve some aspects of leadership but appear to be primarily at Maude Saunders, ie, at one elementary school and not even of the level of Principal or a true visionary and accountable position.
06-11-2008, 09:40 AM #23
University of West Florida, very accountable.
Everyone has to work at one school unless it is a position such as speech, reading coach etc.
Only a very few people can be principals.
Requiremnets for superintendent do not include ever being a principal. The only qualification is a HS diploma, unless it has change to a college level diploma.
What do you mean by true visionary and accountable?
There is only one other candidate. If you do not think this person is qualified start a thread for the other candidate.
06-11-2008, 10:42 AM #24
I am referring to being in the lead role .. not merely on a committee .. where the leader is providing the vision and also accountable for their actions. While you are correct on state statutes for qualifications, for the children and the future, we would want the best qualified person to be chosen and doubt if a person would be elected only having a high school education for this significant position. This is the appropriate thread as we are writing about this candidate -- based on what has been written -- not someone else.
06-11-2008, 11:11 AM #25I think of government as the Mafia without the moral authority or predictability. Ron Hart
How did I miss this thread?
Trisha! Please keep sending us information on your campaign. I am willing to listen and learn more about anyone who is running for office, especially if it directly impacts my baby boy. Could you respond with your platform, ideas, etc?"...and fuzzy navels for all of my friends!" ~Prince Charming, Shrek 3
07-02-2008, 05:29 PM #27
Thanks for the post, Romeosmydog!
I would like to make sure that the person who holds the office of Superintendent is available to all concerned citizens, no matter who they may be. Anyone who takes the time to call deserves for it to be returned and be listened to.
I would also like to look at how we are spending our money. Our tax money should be spent to educate our children, period.
Fewer and fewer of our high school graduates are enrolling and completing college. This is something that requires attention. We need to be researching other counties that have a student to college ratio that is increasing to find out what the problem(s) may be. And take action to correct it.
I believe our school district should be a team working together. This includes all employees of the school district.
I hope this helps.
If you have any more questions, I'm always available.
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07-02-2008, 08:14 PM #28
comments / questions
I read all the posts and responses supplied by you. You are as clearly spoken as your father. You represent your family well and they must be thrilled about your running. I appreciate the comment you made about a person deseving a return call. As a Superintendant I realize there would be times it might be impossible to return a call. Late is better than never as is the current practice based upon my families experiences.
I have a few questions of you dont mind.
There was a recent story about adding A/C to the busses to make it more bearable for the kids. Last year and the year before the routes were extended and some busses have kids on them over an hour and more.
Do you plan on completing that and if so, when can we expect the project to start?
What is your opinion of the standard practice of teachers teaching outside their certification?
What is your opinion of School Resource Officers coaching during regular school hours?
What plans do you have on addressing student behavior and discipline in the highschool grades, including the lack of staff intervention?
Since it has been determined so long ago that soda has absolutely no health value, would you replace the machines or their contents with healthier products?
Thanks so much for your time. these issues are important and have been the topics of discussion several times.
We know your busy, and thank you again.Standing in the middle of the political road will only get you run over.
07-10-2008, 02:45 PM #29
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!
In consideration of the students and the bus drivers I would like to continue purchasing buses with a/c. I think it would be important to check the cost to the district, though. It may be a conversion that would be a very slow process. This is a touchy issue because buses with a/c cost more and require someone trained to work on them. At a time when gas prices are crazy, taxpayers don't want to see their money spent on frivolous things. When I grew up we didn't have a/c. We were accustomed to the heat, but in the afternoons after everyone had gotten hot sometimes the smell and heat combined were enough to make you sick. A lot of us didn't have a/c in our homes either, but we wouldn't trade it now for anything.
Teachers teaching out of their field should be kept to a minimum. The county should hire teachers in field at all possible times. If a someone must be hired out of their field steps should be taken to get the certification for that person.
I was not aware of an SRO coaching when you posted, but have asked around and found that one was helping to coach. I don't have a problem with someone volunteering their time, especially someone like an SRO that needs to be close to the children. But it would have to be on a voluntary basis, and out of uniform. If they bill the SO for the time, they should be in uniform and acting in the capacity of SRO. I think the person to which you're referring knows this now, though.
As for discipline, that is something the principals will have to ensure. As Superintendent it will be my job to make sure they understand that. If you're consistant and fair with discipline, children will respond in a positive way.
If there are still "soda machines" accessible to students (which there must be for you to ask), they should be removed. I taught briefly at FHS several years ago, and the soda machines had been replaced. My son also tells me that they have been replaced at WHS.
I apologize for taking so long to post a reply. Thank you for your interest and questions.
07-10-2008, 02:52 PM #30
07-14-2008, 03:11 PM #31
Yes, Jdarg, I do have a chart from a board member from OWC, with statistics that I would be glad to show you.
I have to make an apology, however. I should not have stated that fewer are enrolling. It is, in fact, that fewer are not ready. More and more are having to take remedial classes before beginning the regular college courses that they get credit for. And fewer are graduating on time.
I don't have access to a scanner at the moment, but will try to get a copy attached in the next couple of days. If you would like to meet with me, I'd be glad to bring you a copy. My cell # is 259-0940.
07-14-2008, 03:41 PM #32
Thanks, I had an extended conversation yesterday with a current school board member and school board candidate, both whose opinions I value. I think we all agreed that the plain numbers do not tell the whole story, since there is no way to separate out the kids that had a delayed college start, those that found it necessary to lay out and work, those that started at OW as a way to get some college courses under their belts, then transferred to a university, etc. But thanks for your offer.
07-14-2008, 05:32 PM #33
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
- Point Washington
First, Trish, I'd like to thank you for posting on this forum. When the status quo in local elections is for people to get a few universally agreeable statements in the local paper and print tons of signs in hopes of getting enough name recognition to win a local race, it shows respect for the public to come on a forum such as this and answer questions -- I applaud you for putting yourself out there.
I don't have a child in the school system, but believe a thriving public school system builds a better, stronger community. I've been to a school board meeting, and although I thought some of the individuals did an excellent job, I was not impressed with the board as a whole. As Superintendent, you seek to lead the board, so I will target my questions to that role --
- How does the school board make decisions? Some of the members seem to function as predictable, single-issue advocates. What would you do to insure they approach each decision with an open mind? Strong decision-making requires analysis, the balancing of needs and concerns, and the ability to see the long-term implications of an action. Is your interest in this position primarily political, or do you have a vision for how to improve the school system?
- How would you improve the 'team spirit' of the board? The board does not seem to have a healthy group dynamic, and one group seems to want to work to give the children of Walton County a top education, and the other seems to want to protect them from the evils of the world at large. The board seems fearful of and easily swayed by political moods. Would you align yourself with either group? If not, how would you work to create a more productive environment for the board members?
- Do you believe the board's authority well defined? The classic challenges of management hound the board of education. There's a delicate balance between choosing a strong chief executive (the superintendent) and letting him or her lead the way and the board's tendency to get involved with many levels of decision-making. Can you tell the voters about an experience you've had leading a group where you had to achieve a similar balance? The credentials you listed may speak for themselves within your field, but the average voter could probably benefit from a concrete example.
- Do you believe the board understands the community? One of the most difficult parts of school governance is creating a strong relationship with the public. An effective board knows and respects its community, and encourages the community's trust in its school system. This community has grown and evolved tremendously over the past decade. How would you create a school system that the constituencies north and south of the bay could feel good about?
Finally, I have to admit that I find myself scratching my head when people leave these enigmatic postings on candidate's threads. My first inclination is to dismiss the candidate/supporter as a conspiracy theorist malcontent. It would be great if someone could flesh out the problems, and be more specific about the fear, etc. If you want to say something, but are afraid of retaliation or something, feel free to pm it to me or another moderator to post with discretion for you. If there is legitimately a culture of fear and intimidation that is something that should see the light of day. However, when it's just alluded to and no one speaks up, I think most people will assume it's just one or two people with a grudge and that doesn't help the candidate.
07-16-2008, 10:25 AM #34
Thank you, Rapunzel, for your questions.
First, let me say that the Superintendent is not the leader of the School Board. They are two seperate entities. The School Board makes policies for the school district, sometimes considering the recommendations of the Superintendent. The Superintendent enforces the policies made by the School Board. The School Board discusses issues and votes on them with the majority ruling. We vote for and elect our School Board members as leaders in their own right for the school district.
I would encourage "Team Spirit" by treating the board members as intelligent human beings with something to contribute. I have found that usually when you treat people with respect they will respond in kind. I would do everything within my power to build a positive relationship between the Superintendent and the School Board.
My experience in achieving balance in a meeting: As School Improvement Co-Chair, we (the other co-chair and I) have to mediate between various school committees to come up with a plan for improving our school for the following year. Also, being a lead teacher with the University of West Florida, in charge of the operation of the large tutoring program at our school, I've had to mediate between UWF, the families, and the school to ensure a positive outcome for all parties involved. This has not always been an easy task.
I believe that the board does understand the community. These individuals are representatives that we elected from our own population. I believe better understanding comes from a close contact with the community. If we feel that our representatives have lost touch, we should elect another representative. On the other hand, when we have people who know the pulse of this county and make good decisions, we should do all that we can to keep them. If we do this and are confident concerning our choices, we will feel good about our school district.
Concerning you comment about the fear factor: I didn't bring it up on this forum. I was merely responding to another person's comments. If you all talk to someone who is afraid, then fear exists. If not, it doesn't. I have spoken to some school district employees who are afraid of voicing opposition because of retaliation. I will not give these people up for my own gain. If this causes anyone to not vote for me, then that's how it has to be.
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07-16-2008, 11:18 AM #35
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
- Point Washington
Thank you for your response.
I think this is the perfect illustration of how great this forum can be, especially as a tool to educate the large segment of the population of SoWal that moved here from other states, other places. I've never lived in a place where the school board superintendent was elected, they were always hired by the elected members of the board to serve as the executive. The role must be very different here, and explains maybe why so many were focusing on leadership skills.
It is my perception that the large push for charter schools in the south part of the county can be traced to a seeming disconnect between the parents of school aged children in the south part of the county, and a school board that seems focused on the needs and concerns north of the bay. I know there are many parents in this area willing to devote a large portion of their time and energy to trying to work with the board, but many more opt out of regular public school. Given the rate of growth in the south, I believe that disconnect to be the greatest challenge for the school board.
07-16-2008, 12:22 PM #36
It appears from your comment that you think school board members only represent their district, when in fact they are voted at-large? Where you aware of this? This do represent all of the constituents in the county not just those in the area where they live.
I agree that the Superintendent is not the leader of the school board nor is he/she a subordinate to the Board except in an appointed position. For what I know and as it appears the current Superintendent and School Board in Walton County work together which obviously is benefiting our students as evidence by student achievements.
Do you not agree?
07-25-2008, 10:15 AM #37
What is your stand on homeschooling?
08-27-2008, 08:45 PM #38
I would like to thank everyone who helped me in any way with my campaign. Words cannot adequately express my deep appreciation to you for the many things that you did. There are many wonderful people in Walton County!!!
04-08-2009, 05:34 PM #39
I was sent an email that posed a question to me by someone on the 1st, but I can't find it here on on the thread. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to get up with me. To answer your question you might ask some of the principals around where you are if you can put flyers in the teachers' lounge. Or even ask them if they know of someone who might be interested. If you are at the northern end of the county, give me some contact info, and I'll get the word out for you.
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