Sean Strain wants to bring greater transparency and parental involvement to the District 6 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education seat.
He would replace Paul Bailey, who announced he doesn’t plan to run for re-election and has endorsed his candidacy.
“Sean has demonstrated tremendous passion and understanding for the needs of our district’s children,” Bailey said. “Not only are all four of his daughters CMS students, but he is a current School Leadership Team member at Crestdale and a champion for educational excellence in our schools and around the city.”
Strain’s journey to a school board seat began about 18 months ago, when he joined Crestdale Middle School’s School Leadership Team. He was at his first meeting, being vetted on the processes and data, but noticed some data was left off – particularly pertaining to low-income students.
When faced with the data, Crestdale’s economically-disadvantaged were actually showing improvements during their three years at the school, but realized the middle class students were falling off.
“That doesn’t follow CMS’s mission to help every child,” Strain said.
He then began looking at CMS’s processes for reaching each student, ultimately leading conversations with Title I teachers, individuals of varying socioeconomic status and Project L.I.F.T.
Strain wants to ask the community to answer what they believe makes a “good” school and a “good” student and then start to work toward making that happen through a community effort.
Strain cofounded the Thomasboro Foundation. When working with that community, he recognized not many people understand the “fundamentals” of education, in terms of identifying what makes a good school and determining who has primary responsibility to make that happen.
He wants to change the culture in the greater Charlotte community through encouraging parents to take a stronger role in their children’s education. He wants to urge parents to get involved in their child’s education.
“Nobody deserves anything but opportunity and then it’s down to the individual to capitalize on it,” Strain said. “It’s really important that our kids understand that opportunity is there to capitalize on. It’s really important that our parents understand how critical they are to their child’s opportunities and ultimately to their child’s education.”
However, he wants to ensure opportunities of some children aren’t taken away to make some for others.
Strain said he believes CMS wants to address high concentrations of poverty and low-income schools with a push for greater socioeconomic diversity, when data demonstrates that diversity doesn’t correlate with performance.
He feels the next steps for student assignment and CMS involve listening to the community’s request for neighborhood and close proximity schools, which were reflected across income levels in community surveys.
Strain also hopes to start from a place of transparency, so not only the community, but also county commissioners can understand CMS’s actions and decisions.
Strain will participate in a meet-and-greet Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to noon at Earth Fare off North Community House Road.