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Truitt names members of Parent Advisory Commission

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  • State Superintendent @CTruittNCDPI announced Tuesday the names of those joining the Parent Advisory Commission. The makeup of the commission faced some criticism at State Board of Education meetings. #nced
  • “This commission seeks to include all parent voices because every parent has a story to tell,” said State Superintendent @CTruittNCDPI in a press release announcing who is on the Parent Advisory Commission, which has faced criticism by some @edstateboard_nc members. #nced

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt announced today the 48 people who will be on her Parent Advisory Commission.

The commission is made up of 50% traditional public school parents, and approximately 16.7% each parents from public charters, private, and homeschools. They will all serve two-year terms.

“This Commission is focused on giving parents a seat at the table and strengthening parent and family involvement in education,” Truitt said in a press release. “This commission is a consistent and routine way to ensure we are addressing challenges and improving outcomes for all of North Carolina’s students using feedback from those who know students best. I know they will come prepared to represent their unique students, who hail from all different backgrounds, by providing their insights, experiences, and perspectives on various aspects of K-12 education and student well-being.” 

Here are the commission members:

2022-2024 Parent Advisory Commission

North Central Region: 

  1. Delon Fletcher — traditional public at-large
  2. Preeti Vidwans — traditional public
  3. Daniel Riley — traditional public
  4. Tamara Adams — public charter  
  5. Delicia Hare — private
  6. Natascha Alvarado — homeschool

Northeast Region:

  1. Diane Taylor — traditional public at-large
  2. Dawn Price — traditional public
  3. Sonya Askew-Williams — traditional public
  4. Beatriz “Betty” Ward — public charter
  5. April Edwards — private 
  6. Mary Syrrist — homeschool

Piedmont-Triad Region:  

  1. Treena Jackson — traditional public at-large
  2. Dwayne Young — traditional public 
  3. Lillian Adams — traditional public
  4. Jessica Hofstetter — public charter 
  5. Neely Turlington — private 
  6. Dan Stephens — homeschool 

Southwest Region:  

  1. Yolanda Price — traditional public at-large
  2. Maria Cristina Sanchez — traditional public
  3. Theresa Knight — traditional public 
  4. Nazila Alimohammadi — public charter 
  5. Rebecca Dies — private 
  6. Larina Pierce — homeschool 

Southeast Region: 

  1. Yvonne Eason — traditional public at-large
  2. Grelynn Bradley — traditional public 
  3. Lindsey Lee Miller — traditional public 
  4. Jessica Lopez — public charter 
  5. Charlonda Brown — private
  6. Meganne Smith — homeschool 

Western Region: 

  1. Lydia Flanders — traditional public at-large
  2. Dawn Steed — traditional public 
  3. Clark Glenn, Jr. — traditional public
  4. Shawn Wright — public charter  
  5. Susan Osborne — private 
  6. Amber Black — homeschool 

Northwest Region :

  1. Kirsten Maynard — traditional public at-large 
  2. Kelley Wilson — traditional public 
  3. Kelsey W. Adams — traditional public 
  4. Shanna S. Wall — public charter 
  5. Maria S. Ballard — private 
  6. Jessica Frierson — homeschool 

Sandhills Region:  

  1. Ar-Nita Davis — traditional public at-large  
  2. Samantha L. Oxendine — traditional public
  3. Marie Smith — traditional public 
  4. Yvette Bell — public charter
  5. Victor Allen — private
  6. John Miner — homeschool

Commission faces criticism

Applications for the commission opened Feb. 23 and almost immediately faced criticism.

At the March State Board of Education meeting, Vice Chair Alan Duncan was critical of the makeup of the commission, saying that it only guaranteed a 33% representation of traditional public schools. As noted above, the actual percentage ended up being 50%. He also brought up the fact that the same day the announcement for the application period came out, Truitt’s political campaign sent out an email mentioning the commission and asking for donations.

Truitt said the email didn’t violate election laws and that it was normal for candidates for office to mention what they have been working on.

Board Member Jill Camnitz also expressed concerns with the fact that non-public school parents were going to be included on a commission designed to address education in public schools.

And Board Member James Ford said he was worried about inclusiveness, pointing out that a portion of the application asked for a recommendation from a public figure or educator, something that could limit the types of parents able to participate.

“My concern is about the inclusion of all parents, particularly those who are least likely to have a voice in the system,” he said in March.

Truitt said that the answers to certain questions on the application would ensure those picking members could have a diverse representation, but she mentioned geographic diversity and said there were no questions on the application related to race or ethnicity. As for the recommendations, Truitt said she wanted to make sure that the applicants were parents and that they were applying in good faith.

“This commission seeks to include all parent voices because every parent has a story to tell,” said Truitt in a press release. “Insight from parents who may not have a student presently enrolled in a traditional public school should be considered as we strive to make improvements to support all public school students’ learning and development.”

Truitt said at the April Board of Education meeting that DPI got about 3,500 applications, of which only 693 were complete. Incomplete applications were discarded. The press release sent today said that 3,000 applications were sent in.

She said in April that the plan was to cut down the 693 applications to roughly 150, at which time she would join the committee choosing the applications to weigh in.

What now?

Truitt’s press release said that applicants have been told about their selection and are being surveyed to determine the first date and time of a meeting.

Those who weren’t chosen were notified via this email:

Agendas for the meetings will be available on the Parent Advisory Commission website.

Alex Granados

Alex Granados is senior reporter for EducationNC.