Sunday, February 25, 2024

Election 2022: Cameron Hankins eyes District 5 Brunswick County Board of Education seat

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. ⁠— Democrat Cameron Hankins is running for the District 5 seat for the Brunswick County Board of Education. He will face off against Republican Steve Gainey; incumbent Gerald Benton did not file for reelection.

Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate appearing on ballots in the tri-county region, even those unopposed, ahead of the Nov. 8, 2022 election.

PCD asked candidates to address issues regarding learning loss due to Covid-19, SROs, teacher pay and more.

Hankins’ stances on issues are discussed below. All answers are included in full and the candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily. Responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity.

The paywall is dropped on candidate questionnaires to help voters make informed decisions ahead of Election Day.

To prepare, here are a few dates for readers to keep in mind:

  • Absentee ballots will be available Sept. 9 and have a Nov. 1 deadline.
  • Registration to vote will open until Oct. 14; afterward, according to the state board of elections, same-day registration only will be available during one-stop early voting. 
  • Early voting begins Oct. 20 and remains open through Nov. 5 (3:30 p.m.).
  • Election Day polls open Nov. 8, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Locations to vote early in Brunswick County include the government center (25 Referendum Dr., Bolivia), Leland Cultural Arts Center (1212 Magnolia Village Way), Brunswick Center at Southport (1513 N. Howe St., #1), Brunswick Center at Shallotte (3620 Express Dr.), and Southwest Brunswick Branch Library (9400 Ocean Hwy W.).

Once early voting closes, voters will need to go to the location listed on their voter registration card.

To see a sample ballot for the upcoming election, fill in voter registration info here.

Port City Daily (PCD): What are your top three concerns within the district and how do you plan to address them?
Cameron Hankins (CH): Three top concerns — I firmly believe that each of us has a role to play, a perspective that will impart illumination and experiences that will provide direction.

As a leader who listens I believe the key issues that are of importance are:

Teacher recruitment and retention — Building strong relationships are key to the growth and viability of any organization. I will build relationships with our county commissioners, our state representatives and the N.C. Department of Instruction (NCDPI) to ensure Brunswick County Schools employees receive competitive wages and local incentives. I believe that those who serve our students should not only be able to survive but thrive as a result of their commitment to building student success in Brunswick County. Support for our teachers, and school staff should be paramount and establishing a high level of trust between the school board, and the employees of Brunswick County Schools is essential to retaining the best educators within our system.

Ensuring our schools remain safe — Every parent wants to know their child is in a learning environment in which they feel protected and safe. Safety and security within our schools should remain a top priority. I will take a proactive approach to ensure resources and training protocols are in place to mitigate threats and ensure safety. I will take a strong stand against bullying by enforcing rules and policies that clearly describe how students are expected to treat each other and those that instruct them.

Ensuring opportunities for students on the college tract as well as vocational and technical careers — If elected I will be an advocate for public education. I will fight to ensure that we set sound educational goals with the understanding that every student is different and their aspirations are vast and varied.  

PCD: How should the district address two years of learning loss due to COVID-19? 
CH: In order to effectively reconstruct a post-pandemic public school that will provide a foundation for our students, the district should consider implementing remedial programs to ensure academic success for ALL students who were not engaged and or focused during the uncertainties of the pandemic. By providing this additional support, these students can regain the skills lost while schools were closed during the pandemic.

PCD: There are over 24 SROs across each Brunswick County school. Is this effective for school safety? Why or why not? Should there be more measures implemented? 
CH: The partnership and the relationship that exist between Brunswick County Schools and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is a strong testament of the effectiveness of connecting communities and schools. Not only do the school resource officers provide a high level of safety and security for the students within our schools but they also serve as mentors to some and advisors to others. My sons look up to their SRO and understand his importance as apart of their school community. As a board member I will ensure that this high level of service continues within our schools and make it my responsibility to implore the recommendations of Sheriff Ingram as it relates to our schools that we may continue the strong legacy and relationship as we serve our students and staff.

PCD: Do you think schools are adequately staffed? Why or why not? Do you think teachers and staff are adequately paid? Why or why not?
CH: I believe our school board members and the administration have done all within their power to ensure our schools are adequately staffed. However; once elected, if my discovery reveals that any schools are understaffed, according to that standards of the NCDPI I will tackle this issue personally. It will be my obligation as a member of the board to ensure our teachers are adequately paid by working with our county commissioners and other stake holders to ensure adequate pay and remain with Brunswick County Schools without becoming early leavers due to salary. Our educators are a valuable resource, and I will do all I can to retain wonderful talent within the county.      

PCD: In what ways do you think the district is handling Brunswick County’s growth well — and what could it be doing better?
CH: Brunswick County’s growth is unprecedented. In Northern Brunswick County, overcrowding has been problematic for quite some time. It is imperative that we must ensure a greater level of communication between the school administration and the county planners. This will ensure that we have the infrastructure, namely, schools, transportation needs, etc., in place to handle the growth; that when decisions are made they are proactive and not reactive.     

PCD: The school board has faced many calls to offer more parental oversight of curriculum and/or consider banning certain books in schools. How do you promote a relationship of trust between educators and parents and ensure both parties’ roles are respected?
CH: As a parent, a school board member and a Christian conservative pastor, I believe we should always listen to a parent’s dire concerns and recommendations regarding literature their child is taught or being exposed to. 

PCD: What would you bring to the board that is missing right now?
CH: As an experienced educator working with students and parents daily, I have witnessed the challenges our students and educators experience. As a parent, I know the satisfaction that occurs when communication and transparency are top priority. As a pastor, I understand that serving others is a trusted privilege and that diversity is key to ensuring all voices are heard. My professional experience indeed enhances my unique ability to serve as 21st century school board member.


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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