Rusty Cofrin: I’ll have a “very little learning curve”
Rusty Cofrin, a former teacher, believes he has the knowledge and background to help Concord’s schools continue to be successful.
“I know education; I know how it works,” he said.
Cofrin, 54, taught math at Concord High School for 27 years and coached cross country and track and field. He is a seven-
year brain cancer survivor and retired from teaching five years ago. This is his second shot at a school board seat after losing to Oliver Spencer last year. He didn’t originally plan to run again, but he put his name on the ballot after several friends encouraged him, he said.
To prepare for the election, he’s done his research by going through school board meeting minutes, reading up on the Common Core education standards and talking with other educators. Cofrin said he’d have a “very little learning curve,” aside from the budget, which he would make his top priority.
Concord has an approximately $73 million annual budget, which the school board has the final say over each year. Cofrin has studied the board’s work on the budget, and he said he thinks they’ve been doing a good job finding money for necessary projects while keeping the tax rate from spiking.
He’d also like to encourage more members of the public to be involved in the budget process.
Cofrin also said he supports the district’s move toward the Common Core State Standards, new benchmarks in English language and math adopted by the state in 2010. He likes Common Core because it’s supposed to ensure all students graduate with the same body of knowledge. Raising the standards will also mean less remedial work in college, which could reduce costs in higher education, he said.
He sees other benefits to the standards, including the new computer-based state test that will allow teachers to better track student’s understanding of material.
Cofrin said when Concord High started moving to competency-based education, he was skeptical at first. But he realized the school was headed down the right path, and he feels the same way about Common Core.
The district should continue investing in technology for the classrooms, Cofrin said. Earlier this year he went to an elementary school and saw the children working with iPads, and he thinks the iPad program is a positive one. As a board member, he would like to find ways to continue bringing in more technology without increasing the budget, he said.
Cofrin said he’s the better candidate for the job because his background as a Concord teacher has given him a broad and extensive view of how the schools work.
“I have a clear fundamental understanding on how the Concord education system functions,” he said. “I don’t believe my opponent does.”
Street: Groton Drive
Job: Retired, former high school teacher and coach