Yeung Says She Will Bring the Stafford County School Board Diversity, Opportunity and Transparency
– October 16, 2013 10:19 pm
- Political Party: Independent
- Running for: Stafford County School Board
- District: Garrisonville
- Opponent: Nanette Kidby
- Profession: Evolent Health (current)
- Title: Client IT implementation director
- Education: Howard University
- Degree: Bachelor’s degree in business and information systems (1985)
- Education:John Hopkins
- Degree:Master’s degree in computer systems (2010)
- Family: Husband: John; Four children: Anwar, Aisha, Hakeem, Ahmed
- Other: Member, Vice Chairman, Technology Advisory Committee (2012-2013)
- Treasurer/Secretary, Fairfax REACH, Inc. (2012-present)
Pamuela Yeung, candidate for the Garrisonville seat on the Stafford County School Board, has been living in Virginia for over 30 years and in Stafford since 1983. She is originally from the Netherlands and speaks Dutch, Spanish, English and Portuguese. She says she was originally inspired to move to the county to raise her children in an area known to have an excelling academic environment. She says her background and experience will be a valuable attribute to the school board.
“I can bring the board diversity, a business and technology background, an opportunity for critical thinking and decision making and I could bring transparency and trust working with the board of supervisors,” she says. “I’m focused on continued growth and achievement and ensuring that the mission is to build students as leaders of tomorrow and provide resources for acceleration for improvement in needed areas.”
Yeung says she choose to run for the school board because she is looking for changes in the current school system.
“I believe there needs to be an adequate balance of individuals that are on the school board members to help improve the educational experience of children, parents and teachers,” she says.
Improving Student Achievement
Yeung says that education can affect virtually all aspects of life and that many people do not realize that when there is a decrease in the education level, other areas suffer as well.
“One of the issues that were having is that 25 percent of the (Stafford) population is disadvantaged children and it affects everyone, rich and poor,” she says. “It will affect your home and even your social security later on because children are going to become adults and then they are going to work and collect social security and we will be collecting social security. We want (the current generation) to get the best jobs as possible, so we need to reduce the number of disadvantaged children in our communities.”
“We need to make sure that we maintain highly skilled teachers, administrators and employees and make sure that they don’t go north or south for better competitive salaries,” says Yeung.
She said this includes making sure teachers have the resources they need to prepare students for the future.
“Right now were asking for a lot from our teachers. We’re asking them to be parents, behavioral health social workers, teachers, really a little bit of everything but without their tools,” she says. Yeung says there is too much dependence on test scores to determine student and teacher achievement.
“We’re asking these teachers to be able to test these tokens and put their jobs on the line when these students don’t test well,” she says. “We’re allowing the children to memorize material and be able to spit it out, but what are they getting out of the study?”
She also says that in order to attract and retain quality teachers, it is important that the school board review the policies and procedures that are currently used and pinpoint what works and what isn’t working.
As a mother of four, Yeung says she has always been an active volunteer in the school system, attending meetings and field trips and serving as vice chairman on the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) for 2012-2013 school years.
One area that she says she will continue to advocate is for safety through increased security.
“One of the things that I like is that my children are able to walk to school,” she says. “In order to not have to bus children, that means we have to have good quality schools and teachers in every neighborhood.”
Legislation that was passed in the most recent General Assembly session will soon place a letter grade on Virginia schools to test their performance. Yeung does not support this measure and says just as with student grading, the value should emphasize the content being retained, not the grade.
“I think we’re moving away from what the problem is and result-based (practices) are dangerous because you’re looking for the end product versus understanding what we are supposed to be teaching the children for the duration of their life, for them to be able to find jobs and compete with not only other states, but the world,” she says.
She says that education has to move away from “teaching to a test” in order to preserve the best students and teachers.
“The grades will speak for themselves. You have to make sure that the students enjoy the education.They don’t enjoy the fact that they have to be memorizing in order to achieve that grade and the teachers don’t enjoy it either, the teachers want to teach because that’s their job.”
School board and board of supervisor relationship
Yeung says the school board and board of supervisors need to be on the same page when it comes to the issues affecting schools in the county.
“The relationship between the school board and board of supervisors needs to be in touch so that they both understand the dilemmas of the school system,” she says. “The school board needs to understand what the teachers are going through. The teachers need the tools to be able to educate the children and the school board needs to be able to deliver that information concisely to the board of supervisors throughout the entire school year and not when it’s time to discuss the budget.”