The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber sent the following questions to candidates, to help you learn more about the people running in the August 28 Municipal Election. Here are the responses from Ryan Renaud, candidate for Huntsville Board of Education District 4:
Q: Why are you interested in serving and what are your qualifications?
A: I have always been interested in public service. Born and raised by a single mother, it took a village of supporters to become the man I am today. I am eternally grateful to all of those that saw opportunity in me to become more. This feeling of indebtedness to my local community has led me down a path of service above self. My hope is that through my experiences as a banker, community manager, and education advocate I can bring a voice of strong leadership to the board.
Q: Huntsville City Schools has had a lot of change over the past four years. Which initiatives would you support to continue and which would work to repeal?
A: The BLG has been a point of contention among teachers and administrators alike. I believe the Behavioral Learning Guide (although recently revised) still needs work, and input from our best educators so that it is relevant to the challenges we are currently facing as a system.
Also, the consent order has also been a hot topic of discussion among the local education community. I want to be clear when I say that guiding our system to Unitary Status is the sole top priority of this campaign. By adequately informing the public of the goals of the consent order as well properly addressing the changes before they happen we can begin to rewrite the narrative that currently surrounds HCS.
Q: The business community is very interested in the success of Huntsville City Schools for recruitment and its preparation for the future workforce. How would you increase the communication and collaboration between schools and businesses?
A: As a Business Development Officer with Trustmark National Bank I have worked with the school system to empower our educators as well as our administrators to offer them the proper tools and resources necessary to be successful inside the classroom. It is relationships like these that can lift HCS to the next level of high quality education. With community partnerships between our private businesses and public education, we can streamline the career paths of our students. By bringing career professionals into the school system for STEAM activities, reading exercises, as well as financial literacy programs, we can incentivize student’s participation and spur their interest at an earlier age.
Q: What is your position on continuing to pursue unitary status?
A: As previously mentioned, obtaining Unitary Status is the top priority of this campaign. For years, I have watched as the leadership seemed to want to escape the consent order as opposed to abiding by it. We’ve seen our system throw money at the problem as if it were to solve the underlying issue. We’ve seen how ineffective this method has been, and as a potential board member, I hope to bring about some financial awareness to our system in that regard. Obtaining unitary status is about addressing the causes of our community issues, not the symptoms. New facilities are great, but only when properly staffed and funded. We’ve not seen this to be the case in recent years. I hope to help address these concerns at the board level.
Q: What do you think the Huntsville City School Board’s top three priorities should be in the next year?
– Moving this system to Unitary Status as quickly and efficiently as possible.
– Balancing the budget
– Addressing our achievement gaps in grades P-3
Q: What is the greatest strength or most unique attribute of the Huntsville City School system, and how can we build on that?
A: Our diversity among our student population. We should embrace our cultural awareness and diversity throughout our system. This is something our marketing and PR contractors have not done in years past.
Q: In your decision-making process, how would you balance the needs of working for your district with those of the City of Huntsville as a whole?
A: Listening. Servant leaders have to be good listeners. The voices of District 4 deserve to be heard and valued just as much as the voice of our leaders at City Hall. It is my goal as a potential board member to hear the concerns of our voters and address with the city officials as the issues pertain to their needs.