Rick Salamon will take his seat as University City's new school board member in April.
Salamon believes he is uniquely qualified to help the district, whose accreditation is shaky. As it stands, the district would not meet the state’s academic standards.
Salamon was a school teacher for 28 years and has also served on accrediting teams that evaluated schools. "I have a lot of experience in terms of knowing what to look for," he said.
Salamon said the district loses most of its points on student-achievement issues. He said academic performance will be a priority.
"Teachers are taking a lot of heat for kids coming up short," he said. "I think much of that criticism is unjustified." Salamon said weak teachers are not at the core of the problem as many people seem to think.
He also wants to end what he sees as social promotion in all grade levels. He supports creating a transitional grade between kindergarten and first grade, for kids who needs additional time to catch up.
"If a kid starts off behind in the school system, they are just going to keep falling further and further behind and eventually they become your dropouts. I'm a real advocate of working early," he said.
As for discipline issues, Salamon supports the district adopting a zero-tolerance policy on inappropriate dress at school, such as “sagging.”
Salamon has lived in University City for close to five years. He taught grades 7-12 for 28 years.
Two incumbents, Rod Jennings and Stacy Clay will return to the School Board. Since there were an equal amount of candidates as available seats, there was no need to hold an election.
The School Board will meet tonight at 7 pm at the McNair Administration Building. On the agenda, an update on the accreditation status of the U. City School District.