Lewes resident Robert C. Bennett is the fourth candidate to file for the Cape Henlopen school district at-large seat. The five-year seat will be vacated by Sara Wilkinson who is not seeking re-election.
Bennett, 42, lives in Henlopen Landing and moved to Sussex County 10 years ago from New Castle County. He graduated from Claymont High School in 1989 and enlisted in the U.S. Army where he worked as an infantry medic.
He served as a volunteer firefighter for 20 years with the Claymont Fire Co. and also has been a member of the Goodwill Fire Co. of New Castle and Wilmington Manor Fire Co. Bennett is a certified Delaware State Fire School instructor teaching hazardous materials and firefighting. He also served as an EMS manager and captain for the Claymont and Goodwill fire companies.
In the Cape Region, Bennett has served on the board of directors for Cape Vikings Pop Warner Football and Cheer for eight years, served three years as president, one year as vice president, one year as scholastics vice president and two seasons as team vice president and manager.
He has been a member of the Cape Henlopen High School Football boosters for the past three seasons and served as president for two years. He is a member and supporter of Cape Henlopen High Lacrosse Boosters, Cape Cheerleading and Cape Chorale Boosters.
Bennett won a Community Quarterback Award from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008 and received $1,000 for Cape Vikings Pop Warner, which was used to buy new equipment.
In 2012, Bennett won the Community Hero's award sponsored by a local radio station.
Bennett is married to Lynn who works as a nurse at Beebe Healthcare. They have three children – two daughters and a son. His older daughter is a junior at Cape, his son is a freshman and the youngest child is a second-grader at Shields Elementary.
Bennett provided the following statement about why he is running for school board:
I’ve registered for the at-large school board seat as a supporter of the students in our community and an advocate for the taxpaying residents of the district. A few years back signs around the community read “Cape is Great” and every day if you’re at one of the district schools you will hear “Have a great Cape Day.” My goal and motivation is moving forward to greatness, which moving forward is a basic positive approach utilized by my employer to encourage employees to move forward in everything we do.
Cape Henlopen School District has a big referendum coming up that I support and is needed to build a new elementary school to support the growth of our community. Our students deserve the best possible environment to learn, our teachers and administrators must have the proper space and tools to educate and prepare students for the next steps in life whether it’s middle school, high school, college or becoming part of the work force.
The board's vision listed on the district web site mentions academics, diversity, safety, and enhancing communication and building trust within the Cape community. I agree with all of the visions listed above, but think the communication and trust within the community is something that can be improved.
As an elected school board member, I will continue my efforts to help improve the environment in which our teachers, students, administrators and extracurricular activity coaches and directors operate. I will be open to listening to community residents, teachers, administrators and student leaders on ideas and suggestions on how to move forward and achieve greatness.
I’ve spent several hours a week at the high school during the past three years doing things to support the booster programs and have had the pleasure to speak with the custodial staff at Cape High, which has been an eye opening experience on the things that keep the school operating day to day. Listening to those with experience and knowledge can help maximize every dollar spent to maintain the facilities of the district.
The Department of Education at the federal and state level provide guidelines and requirements that school boards and districts utilize for education standards and programs like Common Core Standards. The mandated requirements by law have to be followed, the school board has to make the proper decisions on programs and funding that support the goals of the district. I believe in the next five years several different programs will be available and as a board member, I will be open minded on the information provided to make the best choices.