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Questions for the candidates: School Board District C, Gina Cannon

Published: 10/25/2019 2:06:18 PM

Gina Cannon is running against incumbent Pam Wicks in School Board District C, which includes Concord Wards 8, 9 and 10.

Gina Cannon

How long have you lived in Concord? I have lived in Concord since 1993.

Profession: I was a practicing attorney for 15 years, a private, professional guardian for 10 years, a “stay-at-home mom” for two years and most recently, I am a Program Support Coordinator at Community Bridges.

Other experience: My husband has lived here his whole life and came up through the Concord School District and my daughter currently attends an Out of District Placement because of learning challenges.

What two issues are most important to you, and what would you do to address them?: The two most pressing issues facing the Concord School Board are re-establishing trust with the community after the fallout from the Howie Leung incident and re-establishing the relationship with the Concord School District.

The entire “Leung incident” is tragic. Tragic for the victim, tragic for Leung’s wife and children, tragic for the Concord School District, tragic for the community. But it brought to light some important shortcomings in the district. Some of these issues have been addressed with transparency and honesty. Others have yet to be brought to closure. The way that the School District seemingly handled the reporting of the incidents was deeply, deeply disturbing and created a huge rift in the relationship between our community and our school system. The continuing issues of transparency and accountability with respect to the handling of the incident within the school district are causing lingering anger and distrust. The relationship between the community and the school district needs to be healed. In any town, the schools form part of the fundamental backbone of the community. The results of the inquiries surrounding the “Leung incident” need to be released to the public with as much transparency as possible under current law and contract. To the extent that information must remain confidential, explanation of what and why such confidentiality is applicable must take place.

Further, it appears that the administration of our school district requires significant restructuring. It is inconceivable that for many years, some high-level administrators have been working in the district without the proper credentials to hold their respective positions. That must stop. The relationship between the board and the administration must be corrected. It is the board who hires the superintendent. The board’s role is not one of “advise and consent.” The “advise and consent” relationship is a hold-over from the previous administration and no longer (if ever) serves the community.

What voice/skills would you add to city government? I am a passionate advocate for our children. I want every child to feel safe going to school, to have the support she or he needs to learn in class and have every opportunity to attain academic distinction. Concord is a fabulous place to raise kids and we have a richness and wealth far beyond financial. We need to harness that potential to make our schools places of excellence.

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