The Duncan Banner

February 5, 2013

Sanders sets sights on Board of Education

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Julie Sanders is a planner, and it’s something she would like to bring with her to the Marlow Board of Education.

Sanders is one of two candidates vying for the position held by Robert Greer. Greer has chosen not to seek re-election to the No. 3 seat of the school board.

“Marlow really doesn’t have a long-range plan to meet its needs,” she said. “Not knowing your enrollment for five, 10, 15 years out, that hurts you.”

Sanders, who is a 1980 graduate of Marlow High School, has two children: M’Kenzie Hill, a 2009 MHS graduate and an upcoming graduate from the University of Oklahoma Nursing School, and Parker Sanders, second-grader at Marlow Elementary.

It’s because of her younger child that Sanders is seeking the school board position. Sanders said bullying, a problem she noted that is in every school, has impacted several students in Marlow Public Schools.

She said the school board should take a more pro-active approach to deterring bullying. And she would like to help move the board in that direction.

“I have a great amount of concern for the amount of bullying,” Sanders said. “We need to run an anti-bullying campaign. My son has had a problem with bullying.

“It’s not like the bullying when I was in school. It’s taken on a level of cruelty that I never thought it could take.”

Sanders works part-time for the Oklahoma Parents Center. She is the chairwoman of the Smart Start Board for Stephens County. She has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, and a Master of Regional and City Planning.

She spent more than 25 years preparing budgets, supervising employees and preparing grants.

Through Smart Start, Sanders helped pilot the Reading Buddy program in Marlow first grade. The goal of the program is to give students more time with reading, while improving their reading skills. The long-term goal is to have all Marlow students reading at grade level by third grade.

“I am in awe at how much difference these volunteers have made in reading progress,” Sanders said. “If we have kids struggling in first grade, they’re going to struggle in second and third grade.”

She said her interaction with the school district through Smart Start has given her a different view of what happens in the district. She has seen students who could read pick up books and read entire books.

Sanders said her desire is to see students prosper. This is her primary goal, if she is elected to the school board.

She said this can be done through better planning on the side of the school board, and it can be done if a stronger stance is taken toward bullying.

“We need a growth plan,” she said. “We really need to sit down and say ‘here’s where we’re going. What’s the next project for the school district?’

“We need to have five years out what the needs are.”

She said these needs range from unfunded mandates to school safety, which Sanders said includes bullying.

“These are our priorities. These are our plans,” Sanders said. “How can we be better prepared?

“Bullying is a huge thing. We’ve got to do something. I’d hate to think that we’ve had an opportunity to do something and we don’t.”