Southern pushes for teacher support, balanced budget
by Saja Hindi
For Lynn Southern, the best business model for a school system is one that puts the focus on the classroom.
Southern, 63, is a retired teacher in Waxhaw who announced this week that she’s running for the Union County School Board.
“It’s like in any business: if the people who are doing the daily hands-on work are happy, it’s going to run a whole lot better,” she said.
Southern said after the administration’s decision to increase salaries downtown, she decided to run for a position.
“The reason I got involved is because I want to make sure teachers aren’t forgotten in the process,” Southern said.
Although she says she hasn’t been on the board or any committees previously, she has kept up with the news, having retired just at the end of last year after 15 years of teaching. The last eight years she worked at Marvin Ridge Middle and Weddington Middle schools. Before that, she worked as a teacher at Providence High School in Mecklenburg County. Throughout her teaching career, Southern taught 7th and 8th grade social studies as well as Government and Economics and World History in high school.
“I want to be there to ask questions about policies that are being presented at the School Board and make sure those policies are in the best interest of teachers and students,” she said.
Southern says while it’s not all about the teachers, if they aren’t supported, the whole system fails.
“Union County’s always had really great schools, and part of that reason is because it’s been able to attract great teachers from surrounding areas,” she said.
According to Southern, she isn’t out to change the entire school board or its focus, rather continue its tradition of encouraging and supporting teachers.
“I don’t feel there’s a need to come in and completely redo the school board,” she said. “I just think there are certainly stakeholders of the system that need to be refocused on. The school system has gotten away a little bit from supporting teachers as much as they could. And it’s like I said, in any company, management has to understand that they need to keep the people working for them happy to make sure they’re going to do the best job they can do.”
Everyone needs to be working together, she said, to achieve the highest level of education for the students because education is key for their futures. This includes teachers, administrators, parents and students, she said.
“These are the kids that are going to be doctors and lawyers and salesmen and dentists, and … in 10 to 15 years, they’re going to be doing these jobs, and we want them to have the best foundation they can,” Southern said. “It affects all of us.”
Southern is a mother and a grandmother, with three children and four grandchildren who all went through the public school system, her grandchildren now in Winston Salem.
“We’re very much supportive of public education,” she said.