Meet the Candidates: School Board District Seven

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Editor’s Note: Candidates were sent a questionnaire via email.

 

  • AKEEM KAREEM BURL

Akeem Burl

Date of Birth: January 2, 1990

Profession/current employer/ retired:Former Advocate Supervisor for Child Advocacy Services CASA Program. Current Juvenile Compliance Officer for 29th Judicial District Court

Why did you choose to run for school board? I decided to run because I believe that it was time for “A New Voice, New Energy” I believe that we needed a stronger voice to serve on the board in order to advocate for the best interest of our students and school system. I am passionate about serving youth and families, and committed to working to get our school system back to the top. I am proud product of St. John the Baptist Parish School system and I believe in our school system.

What is our public school district’s No. 1 challenge? I believe lack of accountability for those who have been put in place to make decisions regarding the best interest of our students and families. Furthermore, I believe the lack of trust that the community has developed for the board has created a barrier to everyone working together for the best interest of our students.

What is our public school district’s No. 1 asset? Homegrown, dedicated and committed educators who fight the good fight, daily, despite the many challenges and adversities faced while working in this school system.

What would you like to see improved or upgraded with our public school district? More transparency and communication between the board, community and stakeholders.

What qualities would you like to see in a new superintendent? Strong-minded, committed, and dedicated to improving the school system and lives of our students. Innovative and Transparent! They must know our community and our families in order to serve them. They should be open minded and willing to engage the community in order to serve our children. They should have a vision to move our system forward.

How do you plan to make a difference? Working diligently with the board, educators, families and community to advocate for the best interest of our families.


 

  • SAMUEL E. MAMOU

Samuel Mamou

Date of Birth: September 6, 1989

Profession/current employer/ retired: NWDC Volunteer & Relief Coordinator

Why did you choose to run for school board? As a former educator of St. John Baptist Parish Public Schools, I understand many of the challenges teachers and students currently face in our district. I recognize the need for all students to be afforded a fair and appropriate education. I chose to run for school board because the teachers and students need a voice from someone who has recently walked in their shoes.

What is our public-school district’s No. 1 challenge? I believe our biggest challenge is the retention of invested teachers and students in our parish. In recent years we’ve struggled to retain teachers and families who are invested in our community. Many teachers leave our parish due to a lack of stability, teacher support, lack of trust in the system, and better pay. As a result, we’ve lost students and families to other parishes or private schools.

What is our public-school district’s No. 1 asset? The resiliency of our community and teachers. Despite the many recent setbacks: a major hurricane, the worldwide pandemic, and the many changes in the central office, the fact that we have still seen growth shows that we can be successful. I believe that we have the tools to be a great district. We desperately need to work together, create stability, and use our resources properly.

What would you like to see improved or upgraded with our public school district? I want a better communication line between the board, schools, teachers, and parents. To re-establish trust between the community and the school system. A school system that develops and invests in our principals, teachers, and students. A system that values the growth of students physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our school district must put students at the forefront of every decision. We need to improve the way we allocate and spend money. Our budget needs to be balanced and address the school district’s needs.

What qualities would you like to see in a new superintendent? I believe it’s essential that we have a superintendent who is invested in our community. Who desires to see our community grow and develop. An individual who is experienced, displays strong leadership, and whose decisions are guided by what’s best for the students of this great parish, not politics. Our next superintendent must be visible to our community and consistently present within our schools.

How do you plan to make a difference? If elected, I plan to create incentives for all district employees to remain in our district by quarterly recognizing outstanding employees and boosting employee morale. To increase student retention within our school system, I will ensure that our students have diverse programs like music, sports, STEM, and other extracurricular activities. I will explore installing various mentor programs to address student behaviors and help students improve their life choices. Every student deserves a fair and appropriate education. I want to ensure SPED receive the proper services to meet their needs. I want to ensure that teachers and support staff have the proper training and support to write and carry out effective IEPs and support their students. I plan to ensure that I’m familiar with the curriculum used in our schools. I will collaborate with school board staff to ensure that the students and teachers have the appropriate materials and resources to support the curriculum. I am committed to visiting and meeting with principals, teachers, and students to observe, support, and assist our schools in any way possible.