Candidates face off; to become Democratic pick for MPS District 1 seat
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Frederick Turner and Marcus Vandiver will go head-to-head in next Tuesday's primary run-off elections. Whoever wins will be the Democratic candidate in Novembers general election for the District 1 seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education.
Turner and Vandiver led the polls in last month's primary elections. They were separated by a mere 49 votes.
Turner, who is a product of Montgomery Public Schools, spent years coaching within the system and nearby. He said his mission is to serve.
"That's been the biggest thing that I've learned prior to running for this position," said Turner. "Just serving."
He said he wants to be able to say that he didn't just see a problem, but that he answered a call from the Lord to help be part of the solution. He said whether he wins or not, he will continue his current efforts to reach the children of MPS.
Turner said he has been overwhelmed by the amount of support he has received from the community. He said his campaign has been about unity and family.
"They come canvas with me on the weekends," said Turner. "It's almost like we make it an event."
While he said campaigning isn't necessarily easy, he constantly reminds himself why he started this journey. He said a major focus of his, if he were to be elected, would be to boost the moral of the students and uplifting them. He said one of the first steps in doing that would be to spend more time in schools.
"As a school board member, if we can be vigilant about going into the schools, I think it will make a big difference in how these children view, not only themselves, but their communities," said Turner. "They won't be a product of their environment; they'll be a product of their expectations."
He said he believes one of his biggest strengths is his ability to work cohesively with others. He said he believes in laying down proud and depending on each other, as a board, to make the right decisions.
Vandiver, who works for the Alabama Department of Education, said he believes in being a part of the change he thinks is necessary for MPS.
"I think having an understanding of some of the issues that are going on and having seen some of the stuff and having seen some of the solutions, I think it's advantageous," Vandiver said.
He said he believes his knowledge will equip him to ask tough questions and help make important decisions on how the system should operate in order to be effective. However, he said his approach would be to work as a team when making those decisions.
If elected, he said his top priority would be working with other board members to help get the system from under review for its accreditation.
"That's something that affects all of the students in the system," said Vandiver. "Especially the ones who are getting close to graduating, wanting to go to college."
While Vandiver said he is good with data, numbers and using his knowledge to help create policy and work toward solutions, he said his passions also make him a good fit for the job.
"I'm passionate about kids graduating prepared and ready to do whatever it is they want to do, whether that's college or they want to go in to their career," said Vandiver. "I'm passionate about teachers being able to teach effectively. I know we have some discipline issues, so we need to get feedback from teachers and figure out what till work best. I'm also passionate about making sure administrators can run their schools properly and that the superintendent has an effective staff."
He said he brings innovation to the table, and he will use his ideas to help the system whether or not he is elected to the board.
"I'm ready to roll my sleeves up," said Vandiver. "I'm a part of the community, so whether I'm on the board or not, I really just want to roll my sleeves up and help."
Whoever wins on Tuesday will go up against Lesa Keith, who currently serves at the board's vice president.
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