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Cabarrus Magazine

'Up Front' Concludes Two-Week Series; Interviews Two New Members of the Cabarrus Board of Education

Nov 25, 2020 02:13PM ● By Jason Huddle

Rhythmtastic. Photo courtesy of the Cabarrus County Schools Education Foundation website.

The week, we have conversations with two more newly elected officials, Keshia Sandidge and Denise Adcock, both preparing to take their seats on the Cabarrus County Board of Education. Join us as we discuss their priorities for their respective terms, why they decided to run and how they believe they were able to defeat their incumbent opponents.


Jason Huddle  00:00

Last week on Up Front, we spoke with two newly elected officials in Cabarrus. County. This week we speak to the other two, both incoming members of the Cabarrus County Board of Education. And they have some ideas over why they were able to win over the incumbents


Denise Adcock  00:16

In making a decision, you have to think about that you're taking a lot of people's lives, people that are working people that have schedules, people that have things other than just school in their lives. So I just feel like the board has to be more sensitive to how our decisions affect others.


Jason Huddle  00:36

We'll also talk about diversity and local representation. Something that Cabarrus County School Board now has.


Keshia Sandidge  00:42

I feel that it is so important for children like my daughter and my son to see themselves represented on our boards within our community. You take that into effect and then you think about our children in our schools are over 50% of color and our for there to be no representation of them on our boards power we truly serving our community and how are we truly understanding what types of decisions to make for children of color if our board is not endigative with a that.


Jason Huddle  01:13

Join us as we talk to new school board members Denise Adcock and Keshia Sandidge. On the second part of our introduction to your newly elected officials, right here on Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine, a presentation of CabCo Media Group and sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Canberras Eye Center, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center, and Walk Cabarrus. I'm your host, Jason Huddle. My friends and welcome to another edition of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine we are at Episode 84. Last week, we enjoyed some interesting conversations with newly elected officials, Tim Furr who was just elected to the cabarrus County Board of Education, as well as Barbara Strang, new member of the cabarrus County Commission. Today we continue the conversation with two more newly elected officials, Keshia Sandidge and Denise Adcock both elected to the Cabarrus County Board of Education. I think you'll enjoy their conversations today as we hear about what their ambitions are for their terms, as well as why they chose to run and how they feel they got elected over the incumbents. That is all coming up very shortly. But not before shameless plug time. Today shameless plug will be very short and sweet. Want to remind you that the November restaurant report is now available and Cabarrus Magazine dot com. Find out who made our top three and bottom three based on health score grades throughout the county. I will warn you it is not for the faint of heart. There are some violations in there that are quite disturbing. So only read it if you are prepared. Also, just because we don't have a celebrate embarrass event to present our readers awards with this year. That doesn't mean we still can't award them. So we will be sending out information very shortly on how you can start voting for your favorites in Cabarrus County in four different categories. So stay tuned for that more details to come. And that is today's shameless plug time. Okay, stick around newly elected school board member Denise add Kok joins us next.


Commercial  01:14



Jason Huddle  01:47

Welcome back to the program we have on the line with us today. Newly elected member of the board of education for Cabarrus County Denise Adcock, Miss Adcock thank you so much for coming on to the program with us today.


Denise Adcock  04:57

Oh thank you for having me, Jason. I'm excited. to be here and excited to start my new term on the board, December 7.


Jason Huddle  05:04

So let me ask you first and foremost, you know, what was the catalyst for you to throw your name into the ring to to be elected to the school board?


Denise Adcock  05:14

Well, I've been thinking a lot about running for office for several years. And, you know, I now have time I work part time. So I, my schedule is open. And I've always wanted to participate and be a school board member. I love education, I love just the fact that it transforms and changes lives. And with my leadership experience, I am hopeful that that experience will help the school system to continue to flourish and grow.


Jason Huddle  05:46

I want to ask the same question that I asked Tim Furr last week, your fellow newly elected member? Why do you think that only one of the current school board members that were up for reelection? Actually, were reelected?


Denise Adcock  06:02

Well, you know, I think that the board members that we have now have accomplished great things, and when we can look at all their accomplishments and see where the school system was before their leadership, and now and, you know, it's phenomenal the changes that have been made. And so I would just like to thank them and just say, you know, it's a sacrifice, it's a service, and thanks to anybody that served on the board, because I believe that that's really carved out a strong and stable foundation for us as a new board to be able to step into that. But we know the present pandemic COVID-19, it's really just wreak havoc in our community and our world around us. And, you know, it creates unknowns for us as a society, which can produce fear and anxiety, I feel like we're kind of we're in this hole altogether, you know, this hole, and we're all looking up. And we're trying to figure out, you know, how do we get out of this hole, and, you know, change can either break us or it can cause us to rise up and it step the challenges we need to face with courage and boldness. So, you know, as we look for this ladder to come down as a leader, I see that we can't wait for that ladder, we have to create that ladder, we have to create those wrongs to climb out of this place that we are, and it's really going to take more than just the Board of Education, it's going to take the community, really, and the school system all coming together. And, you know, I'm going to be a leader that really wants to inspire, encourage, and challenge the educational community to continue to provide the excellence in education. And I will firmly stand beside them. I believe that when our community voted that they voted for change. And I think this is a perfect time for that because we are experienced so many changes, and we're having to dynamically make these changes in real time. You know, the board has to make decisions, they have to be very present in what's going on in our community, listening to our community and making sure that, you know, what we hear is relevant, and that we're making decisions based off of, you know, what they need and what they want.


Jason Huddle  08:29

You're very gracious in your words, Denise, but you just said that the voters of Cabarrus County voted for change. What change do you think was needed?


Denise Adcock  08:40

Well, when a survey was done, there was a large percentage, I'm gonna say 70%, maybe not exactly that number of parents that really want their kids back in school full time. And I think that there was a few of the last votes on the board that were confusing. I mean, it was confusing, not only to, you know, the parents and the students, but I think to the community at large at, you know, making a decision, you have to think about that you're affecting a lot of people's lives, people that are working people that have schedules, people that have things other than just school in their lives. So I think it was hard for the community to understand that it was kind of like a ping pong paddle, you know, being bounced back and forth. And I just feel like the board has to be more sensitive to how our decisions affect others.


Jason Huddle  09:44

I completely agree. So let me ask you, if you had been sitting on the board this summer, as these decisions were being made, would you have voted differently than the board did?


Denise Adcock  09:54

Well, I definitely would have voted for Plan A like they had voted originally for us. They voted at K through three. So that I definitely would have been behind that decision.


Jason Huddle  10:06

You're talking about. In September?


Denise Adcock  10:08



Jason Huddle  10:09

Yeah, okay.


Denise Adcock  10:09

I would not have voted for it to be changed back to plan B, I would have liked to have seen it to go to plan A.


Jason Huddle  10:15

is that your priority? coming into your first term on the school board is to get these kids back into school? Is that what do you feel like you were sent there to do?


Denise Adcock  10:25

Well, bad and other things, but that is a top priority. You know, I think that what I would like to see happen first is that we really build community and school confidence that we can reopen the school safely. You know, using guidelines, CDC guidelines, North Carolina State reopening guidelines, and then being in collaboration with the various Health Alliance, I recently was able to hear some of a seminar that was put on for the Board of Education just recently, and some of the health officials in the state have come out and said that they really do not feel that students are really increasing the numbers of cases of covid cases in our communities. And I heard Rob Walter talk about this again last night in the board meeting that they had where, you know, canberras Health Alliance said that there's no evidence right now that the increase in covid cases that we are seeing, have anything to deal with students being back in school.


Jason Huddle  11:32

Rob Walter, by the way, the only incumbent reelected this time around. Denise, let's skip ahead, because God willing, we are going to get through this pandemic at some point and have other issues to tackle. What are some other things that are priority for you, pandemic? notwithstanding, what are some other priorities for you as you move through your first term on the board?


Denise Adcock  11:56

Well, I really want to continue to challenge our educators to develop additional programs that are offered in our school systems, because you know, our needs in our community in our society are changing all the time, especially with the introduction of the pandemic, there's so many other ways now that we do business that we are going to continue to see those things really not go back to what we would call quote normal. And, you know, I'd like to really see us develop and produce more student leaders, increase opportunities for students to be introduced to new industries, are there ways that we can really partner with our community businesses to increase like apprenticeships and internships, to give high school students an opportunity to be job ready, and graduate and get a job if they decide they don't want to go on further for college, I really like feedback, I believe, as a leader, that feedback is key to helping us to have a healthy school system. So I would like to develop a feedback model that would help us to identify system trends. And then, you know, give us real time data that can help us to make decisions because it seems like we're having to make decisions really quickly. And it would be great if we had some some really good data to pull up in us to make those decisions, other things on building, you know, partnerships with some of our nonprofits, I feel like that we have a lot of students and our system that need mentors, that need really good quality mentorship programs, and of building business, relationships and partnerships with our business community and building relationships with just the county commissioners and state and local legislators to identify the funding that we need for our critical programs. Some of those would be our exceptional children's program. And then just, I think, building community and team confidence again, you know, as we continue to move through the covid virus and what that's going to look like in the future, our teachers, you know, for me, when I think about the greatest asset in our school system, it's really our teachers. And when I think about, you know, our teachers, I think that is important for us as the board to get input from them when we make decisions that really affect the classroom, because they are the ones that are at the frontlines, and they are really better at being able to see those challenges and obstacles for the delivery of education that we're trying to provide, then really anyone within the school system so really working hand in hand with our teachers, and then just being present and available and listening. I thought about my first 90 days, I'm somewhat Love planners. So I like to think about things ahead of time. I think in my first 90 days, I'm going to really listen a lot. You know, I have a few ideas of things I'd like to see change. But I really want to hear what are the ideas of those that are already in the system. And I'm a leader with an open door policy, I really want people to know that my doors always open. And I'm also just going to be building relationships and helping to see you know, what the challenges really are. So I'm all about empowerment, I want to empower, you know, just the excellence that's already there within our education community, because we need to continue to offer a world class education to our students, and our families of cabarrus County, regardless of whether this code virus sticks around or whether now one day we see it disappear.


Jason Huddle  15:52

I think at some point, we've got to but speaking of disappear, I have to wrap up the segment. So Denise Adcock, thank you so much for being on the program today. Congratulations on your election. And we certainly wish you the best as you get ready to take the oath and start your term.


Denise Adcock  16:09

Thank you so much, Jason, I appreciate this opportunity.


Jason Huddle  16:12

Absolutely. You guys stick around we'll have Denise's other colleague Keshia Sandidge, also just elected to the Board of Education. She will be with us in approximately one minute, right after these messages.


Commercial  16:25



Jason Huddle  17:40

Welcome back to the program we are pleased to have on the show with us today Keshia Sandidge. She is the newly elected member of the board of education for Cabarrus County and Keesha first of all, thank you so much for coming on the program with us today.


Keshia Sandidge  17:55

Thanks for having me. This is awesome.


Jason Huddle  17:57

So let me just ask you real quick right off the bat, what inspired you to run for the Board of Education, especially in these times? Doesn't seem like a job that many people would want?


Keshia Sandidge  18:07

Yeah, definitely. So I'm really in big into community and I've been to our board of education on several occasions from redistricting to bullying, to propose health and safety issues and my kids school. And you know, sometimes I just felt like I got nowhere like no one was listening to me. So I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see in my community. So, you know, that's the initial reason why I signed up to run this race.


Jason Huddle  18:35

I think it's great that you got elected to the board, because I feel it's important that we have diversity on our board. And having an African American woman on our board, I think is definitely a positive for our community. So is that part of the drive as well to to run for Board of Education?


Keshia Sandidge  18:53

Absolutely, I feel that it is so important for children like my daughter and my son to see themselves represented on our boards within our community. You take that into effect, and then you think about our children in our schools are over 50% of color, and but for there to be no representation of them on our boards, how are we truly serving our community? And how are we truly understanding what types of decisions we need to make our children of color? If our board is not indicative of that?


Jason Huddle  19:27

I think that's fair. I think that's absolutely a fair point of view. Let me ask you, how do you feel the board has performed in light of the shutdown and dealing granted? It's easy for us to sit here Monday morning quarterback, but given the parameters that the governor has bestowed upon the individual school boards across the state, how do you think this board has performed?


Keshia Sandidge  19:55

So I definitely understand your question. My son plays division one football For the University of South Carolina, so I see the fans, you know, kind of downplay and say ugly things about the coach every Sunday or Monday, if you will. And they're not the coaches for a reason. So I look with against a community I and I look with a parent I as well. And I think that our board has really tried to do what they can to service the community, in light of this pandemic, it has caused so much of chaos for all of us. So for us to expect, above and beyond from a board of education who has never experienced anything like this, I think we could, but you know, we, we aren't in there too. So we don't know what they go through. I will second that by saying we have had enough time to make some sound really good decisions for our children and for our families and for our communities. So I do think it's time to pick up the ball and start running the play, if you will, I don't know that I feel like we've done that, you know, today, I think we could have done better. But do I think that we try to work with what we have? I do. But it's definitely time to get out of the seat and start playing?


Jason Huddle  21:11

Well, I think, you know, just my personal opinion, I think the frustration has with the people of Cabarrus County, the parents in Cabarrus County. And quite frankly, probably one of the reasons that only one incumbent was reelected was that the waffling back and forth, we make a decision, then we go back on it, we make a decision, then we change our minds. And this all happens within a couple weeks of each other. And so I think you know, very famous Holy Book says let your yes be yes. And your nose be knows. And I think that that is what the the people are looking for moving forward is okay, we can deal with a decision that the board makes, but make it and stick with it.


Keshia Sandidge  21:53

Right and I think another thing that add to what you just said is something that I ran my campaign on, our community should absolutely be a part of the decision making process. We shouldn't wait till a Monday meeting to know what's going to happen with our children to plan out things so that my kids are not, you know, I keep using the word chaos. They're not in chaos, because they are dependent upon the decisions my husband and I make. So I think that we all should be a part of what's happening within our schools. And that allows for us to plan better, it allows for us to act and do better as well.


Jason Huddle  22:27

What are your thoughts? I think you take office in December, what are your thoughts as soon as you get onto the board? What are some first priorities that you have.


Keshia Sandidge  22:37

So I am a listener, I'm a therapist by heart by trade. So I'm used to listening and understanding the problems, I usually try to sit on the fence. So I can see both sides of what may be happening. Because I just feel like being in the middle allows you to see every point of view. So I'm going to do a little bit of that, you know, starting out trying to understand, I really and truly want to see our exceptional children's department get better. That's got to change. My daughter is an EC student, revised and revamped and reloaded, if you will, I know that there are many children in our community, who are suffering, because of things that are not put in place in their IPS. And you know, AC program is underfunded for whatever reason. So I love to see that program grow. And our children who I feel are our most vulnerable population within our schools, get the services they so desperately need. So that will be a big priority for me, going forward. But like I said before, I really just want to sit back and, and learn and, you know, understand the processes, where some of the issues may be within our schools, and you know, how I can help from a social work point of view. I want to add to that, too. I've heard from so many parents, and I just wanted to give, let them know that I hear you. I understand, you know, the disconnect that you may be, you know, facing right now with our exceptional children's program. And I just want you to know that that program on hold very dear, dear to my heart.


Jason Huddle  24:19

If we're sitting here talking four years from now, what do you hope to have accomplished in this first term.


Keshia Sandidge  24:26

Actually, what I see program to wholeheartedly serve the children who I feel like you know, turn everything around for our school system. I feel like we judge societies on our most vulnerable links, and that is our DC children. So in four years from now, I'd like to see our parents more involved in the board decisions. I'd like to see our community more involved in even attending our Board of Education meetings. I'll give you an example. Monday's meeting had 308 Participants viewing when we were deciding about COVID. And whether the kids would return back to school, there are over 3000 viewers, wow, that that should be at every single board meeting, because what happens in our schools ultimately affects our communities, when you're talking about 34,000 people in a county of 200,000 people that's being affected. That is a large number of individuals who are affected by what happens in our schools. That's also another reason why I ran for the Board of Education. I feel like our education changes everything, or affects everything in our community.


Jason Huddle  25:43

I think that's great, let's put some of the responsibility back on the parents, it's not just up to the board to make changes, it's up to the parents to give input so the board can make educated changes.


Keshia Sandidge  25:55

I was going to add to that, no, and I really don't want to sound negative. But I want us to understand the wall truth that some people face. You know, as an African American woman, I truly didn't feel welcomed. And I think that's what happens with a lot of our families of color they don't trust, it's very difficult for us to talk about some of the issues that we face in our families. You know, if you think about trauma, you think about, you know, what happened to me as a kid. And now I am responsible for a kid and not to create excuses. But like I said, this is the sheer truth of what people experience in their families. And I feel like my, my being elected to our board, helps to show families of color that I don't have to not, you know, be sensitive to what I say and what I do today, because someone is there that understands me, and they know my story.


Jason Huddle  26:50

Well, I think that's a big reason why you were elected Keisha, to give the board that diversity we talked about at the beginning, because you're absolutely right. You know, if I'm sitting on the board of education, I can't relate to things that you endured as a child or your children are dealing with presently. So I think it's wonderful that you're on the board and I congratulate you for that. Thank you so much for joining us today Kesha sandage, newly elected board of education member for Cabarrus County.


Keshia Sandidge  27:20

Thank you for having me.


Jason Huddle  27:21

Are you guys stay tuned We will be back in just a moment.


Commercial  27:24



Jason Huddle  28:41

I'd like to thank Keshia Sandidge, and Denise Adcock for being on today's program. As well as Tim Furr and Barbara Strang last week, I really enjoyed all four conversations with our newly elected officials. And I look forward to seeing what they do with their respective terms. Of course, my applause and kudos goes out to anyone who is willing to put themselves out there and sacrifice time with their families for the betterment of our community. We certainly respect and applaud their efforts to that end, as well as all of our locally elected officials. But speaking of those incumbents, I do hope that the election of these four new candidates, specifically the three into the school board serves as a reminder to our incumbents that the public is watching we will not just sit idly by and continue to vote in people who are indecisive. I do believe it was the waffling during the summer and into September of the school board that caused the incumbents that were up for reelection except for Rob Walter as I mentioned earlier, to lose their seats. And I hope the rest of the board is watching as I said during cases interview, let your yes be yeses and your nose we nose. Make a decision with the best information you have and go with it or when your terms are up. The same thing will happen to you You and someone else will be sitting in your seat. I guess you could apply that to anyone's life and anyone's job. Be resolute in your decisions. No matter what they are. That's about all the time I have for today. Until next week, You have been listening to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. It is produced and hosted by yours truly Jason Huddle and is presented by Cabco Media Group. We are also sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Eye Center, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills Office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center and Walk Cabarrus. Please remember to support those that support us until next week. Better get ready for Thanksgiving.

Episode 84: Meet your Newly Elected Officials (Pt. 2)

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