Candidate Responses

District 7

Below are questions community members submitted during the school board candidate debates. See what the candidates in your district had to say!

1. Chattanooga 2.0 Report: “Nearly 60% of all third graders to not read on grade level.” Question: Why are these students promoted to 4th grade?

Donna Horn

Reading skills develop and form differently from child to child.  A child may be proficient early enough in K-3 grades to demonstrate that they are advancing and progressing in reading.  As vocabulary increases this may be a more difficult attainment. They may demonstrate further developed skills in other subjects such as math, social studies and science.  A teacher must decide what are the best steps for a particular struggling reader; advance to the next grade with peers ?, added remediation?, hold him back based on that deficiency when progressing in other subjects? Usually the determination is made by a team at the school.  There could be a disability in language acquisition, interpretation,  or a myriad of issues affecting the child. Having said all of that, it is up to the teacher and administration inclusive of parents to make the determination of what to do to help to increase a child’s reading ability. Your question is the basis for my response that we need more supplemental help in K-3, particularly in K where children are arriving, some with and many without necessary skills to be academically successful and most of all, ready to read.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

2. Can you name 5 teachers or families in your district that you use for council?

Donna Horn

The candidate did not provide a response.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

3. There is an extraordinary amount of focus on college, though many students do not want to go to college or are not fit for college. Do you think that vocational training should be more of a focus? If so how would you implement more vocational training in Hamilton County schools?

Donna Horn

Vocational education thoughts-As you stated, every student is not college bound. That’s a fact. Many are successful using trades that they are familiar with or might be a family trade.  In order for those students to succeed, it would be necessary to provide the instruction for them through trade programs located  in schools geographically  so that students could attend without having to travel across the county.  This is an endeavor that I would hope Chattanooga 2.0 could help initiate.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

4. Are you considering (or would you consider…) community input when it comes to hiring a superintendent?

Donna Horn

Community involvement in superintendent selection is paramount. We are all stakeholders in our community’s success.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

5. Do you believe that the fine arts, hard arts, music, speech, drama, painting, pottery-making, home economics have any curriculum value for life skills? Where do these fall on your curriculum values list?

Donna Horn

Life skills-I believe, as I expressed at the debate, that all students deserve the opportunity to be able to explore their creativity, regardless of which genre. It is a fact that businesses want to be able to hire creative people who can help move their business in a different direction.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

6. Please summarize your requirements for the next superintendent. Include preference for educator versus business manager.

Donna Horn

Summary of requirements for superintendent-a good communicator who is transparent to the Board and public;  needs to be able to understand curriculum and initiate changes where needed whether it be moving or replacing central office personnel, the person needs to have great managerial skills; specifically people skills,  with a successful background in business management having previously handled millions of dollars.  The person needs to think outside the box and be a game changer.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

7. With all of the talk around the superintendent needing to communicate better, what is your plan for ensuring the community members of District 7 stay informed?

Donna Horn

The Board has to stay informed in order for the public to be informed.  If the question posed is what am I going to do? I am always available through email and by phone. I may begin to hold quarterly meetings or post a newsletter in a publication somewhat like what the children take home each month for their parents to read.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

8. Will you make any changes to the Hamilton County Board of Education?

Donna Horn

The question “will I make any changes to the Board” is rather vague. Without more information on that request I do not know what you are looking for in an answer. Feel free to call or e-mail me with clarification.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

9. What is your position on common court (for or against) and why?

Donna Horn

Common court?

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

10. During the superintendent-gate, it was stated that the voters of District 7 did not want a buyout and wanted Smith to be fired. Why did this not happen when given the chance?

Donna Horn

Without ’cause’ firing the superintendent could have led to litigation against us and the taxpayers would have been taking that hit.  In the end, there was no buy-out as you know, I did not vote for any dollar compensation as he left on his on account.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

11. What are you looking for in our new superintendent?

Donna Horn

I am looking for integrity, ability to communicate effectively and in a timely manner, someone who can manage this corporation with a finance background and educational expertise as well.  Someone who understands curriculum, this county and this school district in particular, has great people skills with strong positive views,  someone who recognizes strong, quality leadership in administrators, and definitely someone that will be around for the long run.  We cannot continue to replace superintendents as has done in the past (before I was elected to the board).

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

12. Do you support in-school restoration? Why/why not, and if you do, how would you implement that into Hamilton County schools? If not, how do you propose we deal with the high number of suspensions in schools?

Donna Horn

Yes! Restorative practices is a win-win for all. Rather than punishing through suspension a better understanding and fostering of what is causing the action can change perspectives on both sides (teacher/student). I think that this practice can work for most issues warranting disciplinary actions. Suspension may result in escalation of offenses with a negative impact on the student; i.e. student decides to drop out rather than face disciplinary action on a daily basis.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

13. Could the job be done better by someone else?

Donna Horn

I believe that I am the best candidate for the job.  I have dedicated my last four years to the students and faculties of the schools I represent. I have not let anything impede my ability to be present when needed.  I would not have run for office if I had a full time job. I think being a school board member requires more time commitment then most realize, and with a full time job, makes it difficult to fully engage especially in these times.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

14. Are you here to be the leader of the school board or are you using Hamilton County schools as a stepping stone for higher office?

Donna Horn

I am only interested in service to the community and especially to the children of Hamilton County. I have no political ambitions, never did.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

15. How would you rate the leadership of the school board?

Donna Horn

I believe that we have strong leadership dedicated to the welfare of our children and our schools.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

16. Why did you side with Rick Smith on transparency and resist calls to make the HCDE less opaque?

Donna Horn

That expression could be interchanged with any other particularly extravagant, or not (Big Mac?) the point is we all have to make sacrifices.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

17. Will you advocate for a new building for CSLA? We’ve been on the list for years and are high performing but keep getting overlooked.

Donna Horn

I am advocating for a new CSLA. It’s been too long that they have had to wait aside from the fact that the school is in terrible shape and no more tax dollars need to be poured into keeping it running. The school is a School of Excellence and is a model school for the district. It should appear as that model to the general public.

Joe Wingate

The candidate did not provide a response.

Questions specifically for Donna Horn:

If re-elected, do you plan to fill out the full term on the school board, or seek other office in two years?

Donna Horn

I finish what I start.

Being the current vice chairman of the board, with WRCB conducting a town hall meeting on t.v. tonight concerning the condition of Hamilton Co. Schools- how does that make you feel?

Donna Horn

Everyone is concerned about the state of our schools.  WRCB hosted this on a debate night so I was not in attendance. It is refreshing to know that there is so much community concern.

Why did you side with Rick Smith on transparency and resist calls to make the HCDE less opaque?

Donna Horn

The question needs clarification.

Questions specifically for Joe Wingate:

What are you going to do when baseball season is at its highest point?

Joe Wingate

This candidate did not provide a response.