The Times West Virginian

April 30, 2014

Redmond candidate for Marion County BOE

Pushes for 21st-century technology

By Chelsi Baker
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Gail Redmond is running for the Marion County Board of Education.

He is representing the Middletown district.

Redmond volunteered in the classrooms and for after-school science programs in Marion County for several years, which gave him an idea of facility needs in the county.

“We must get a handle on the maintenance and maintenance scheduling for school repairs,” he said. “Every facility should be scheduled for an annual maintenance review. Any issues revealed as a result of these inspections should be addressed immediately to preserve the integrity of our older buildings especially.”

Redmond said that even the newer facilities in the county will fall into disrepair if they are not regularly assessed and maintained.

“It’s the BOE’s responsibility to provide maintenance and review and implementation of repairs, upgrades and renovations necessary,” he said.

Concerning educational needs, Marion County students will learn best in an educational environment equipped with modern supplies and technology, Redmond said.

The board of education, he argued, should provide more funding for teachers to purchase supplies.

“Unfortunately, many times teachers must spend their own money for basic classroom materials like paper and pencils for their students and materials for hands-on activities and projects that enhance learning,” he said.

Redmond thinks classrooms are lacking sufficient updated computers and technology for teachers, like document readers.

Today’s 21st-century learners require this technology, he said.

“The Internet framework within the school system is, at best, sporadically functional. It is the responsibility of the BOE to upgrade and maintain all systems to ensure that students and teachers can indeed be 21st-century learners,” Redmond said. “To do that, there must be a technology director that understands 21st-century technology so that qualified staff can be employed to update and maintain our systems.”

In terms of staffing issues, Redmond said he believes Marion County employees, teachers and service personnel alike, do an outstanding job.

He would like to see a more adequately staffed maintenance department and a sufficient custodial staff to provide a healthy, well-kept environment for students and teachers, he said.

He also supports continuing funding of vocational and career skills classes in schools, he said.

“Many students are not destined to become college graduates,” Redmond said. “Teachers need to be hired to ensure vocational career educational opportunities remain available.”

Basic Attitudes Skills and Experiences, formerly home economics and technical education classes, need to remain parts of middle-school curricula, he said, to provide middle-school students with basic skills and exposure to vocational opportunities to help them plan for their futures.

Redmond is a Vietnam-era veteran who graduated from Fairmont Senior High School.

He was an engineer assistant during the development of the Personal Rapid Transit system at West Virginia University and a former coal miner, commercial construction foreman and quality control engineer at Sterling Faucet in Morgantown.

His wife Dixie is a science teacher at East Fairmont High School.

Redmond will bring real work experience to the BOE, he said.

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.