Both Cape Henlopen candidates agree growth is a big issue facing the school district but vary on ways to solve it.
Incumbent Noble Prettyman will face newcomer Alisha Broughton for the five-year Milton area seat when the district holds its school board election May 14.
Prettyman has held the seat for a decade after winning election in 2003. The Milton residents recently answered questions for the Cape Gazette. Biographical information and answers they provided appear in alphabetical order.
Education: master's degree, pursuing Ph.D.
Work experience: Public educator and college English instructor 1991-present; freelance journalist
Personal: I am running for the school board to make a difference. It is time for change. My slogan is “Time for a Change.” Our children are our future. Our next generation! I have no hidden agenda, no one is paying me to run and no one is pulling the strings for me to run. It is all about being “real” and helping our youth to see their purpose to reach their destiny in a positive way.
School Board Platform: Teacher incentives/retention, renovate/rebuild new schools, increase career pathways, improvement testing scores on math and science (DCAS testing), more after-school and mentoring programs for at-risk youth, resource officers in our schools, more parental involvement and technology education enhanced in our schools.
Noble W. Prettyman
Education: Milton 196-C Elementary; William C. Jason High School; Glassboro State College bachelor degrees in secondary education and criminal law and justice; Rutgers University master's degree in psychology.
Work experience: New Jersey police officer; teacher, New Jersey Public Schools; teacher, special needs students in The American Institution for Mental Studies; director of residential care at AIMS; and USDA inspector.
Personal: Son of the late James and Katherine Prettyman of Milton; youngest of four brothers; an uncle; Viet Nam veteran; and member of the Delaware State Board Association, Friends of the Milton Public Library, Sussex Economic Development Action Committee and the Sussex County Association of Towns.
I am running for the school board for a third term because I feel that I am a true advocate for the young scholars in the Cape district and I am not afraid to state my position. I feel that I do make a difference. I fought for air conditioners in all of the elementary schools, sidewalks and I attend student events. I also feel that I have learned and hopefully, I have taught. I believe that we must be more accountable in many areas and I want to make sure that we do the best for all of our Cape family. Long story short, I have a few more things to do for the young scholars in the Cape Henlopen School District.
Milton's elementary schools have prompted debate. What do you propose to improve the situation?
Broughton: I feel that parents should be involved in this process. I suggest conducting a demographic survey to hear from the parents, community leaders and school board members. I propose that at Mariner Middle and Beacon Middle additional classrooms are added on, and building improvements for H.O.B. Elementary and Milton Elementary. The district would monitor the school choice numbers. In conclusion, we must work together in unity. I believe that collaboration would rectify much of the situation. I encourage parental involvement, and hope that our parents within the district will voice their opinions.
Prettyman: First of all, I was against this set up in the beginning. No town of this size should have two elementary schools a mile apart with the same grade levels. I suggested a few years ago to have the HOB building house the K-2 and the Milton Elementary building house the grades 3-5. I still feel that to be fair for all of the young scholars, until a new facility is built, that this would be a fair way to accommodate this situation. In this diverse world, all students should learn together, and the school should look and feel like the real world environment. When these students go to the Cape High School it will be diverse, and this is how our district should look at the whole picture.
Do you support building four new elementary schools and renovating Milton as the facilities task force has proposed?
Broughton: I support building one mega elementary school in the center of the district. The Cape Henlopen School District has experienced phenomenal population growth during the last decade. The question is: “Does the district have the capital to build four elementary schools? Concerns over this rapid growth should present an opportunity for a unique collaborative effort between area community leaders, academia, town, parents and students. The district should develop a program that would include developing a prototype, web-based decision support system to help community leaders, parents and school officials to identify, plan, and solve real-world problems in local school districts caused by the area’s rapidly expanding population for the future.
Prettyman: I will need to review the growth area before I make a final comment about this discussion. I do believe in communities having schools in them especially for our young scholars, but two separate schools like this in Milton today is not a means for 21st century education. We cannot and should not ignore that we have a problem to solve with this awkward set up. I feel that when we look at the growth information a better decision can be made.
What is the most serious issue facing the Cape district today?
Broughton: The population growth is the most serious problem facing the district.
Prettyman: I feel that we have more than one serious issue,but I have a big concern about the curriculum for our students. I worry that we may not be meeting all student needs. Not all will go to college, but those who do not need to be skilled in something that they are good at achieving. When we planned the new high school, it was stated that we would consider other studies such as auto mechanics and more. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Sussex Tech has limits and no longer offers some of the skills that our Cape area hires people for. Therefore, some of our students miss out. I ask, "Are we really helping all students to succeed?"
Who was your favorite teacher growing up and what did you learn from him or her?
Broughton: I had a teacher named Steve Carey. I was a middle school student taking general classes. The first day that I was in Mr. Carey’s class, he called me aside and said, “You are so intellectual and you should be in honors class. He allowed me to see who I was. He met with the seventh-grade team at my school to address the issue of me moving up to honors class. When the meeting was held all of the teachers agreed. Mr. Carey communicated with me once a week to see how I was doing. It was that year that I was inducted into the National Honor Society. Until I graduated, he followed me and when I was a senior he encouraged me to attend college. He told me, “The sky is the limit.” From that year on I joined many organizations and became involved in my community. Each week, Mr. Carey provided a certificate in an area that I had achieved in.
Prettyman: My favorite teacher was Mrs. Viola W. Piper in Milton 196-C Elementary School. She asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I replied, a clown. I loved clowns as a child. She did not discourage me from my answer; she simply said, "Well, you will need to work to get to your dream." She made me think and my view of life changed from how she answered me. She taught me to focus and later my focus turned into being an advocate for all people, and over the years I became an advocate for youth because they are not always given a fair way in life.