Collier County resident and candidate for the Collier County School Board District 2, Louise Penta, has out performed her opponents by raising $56,000 in the first two months of her campaign.
Penta attributes this success to her “common sense platform.” She says, “When considering solutions to problems, I ask myself what is best for the teachers, parents and the kids, not administration, not school board members, not teachers unions.”
Although Penta raised her own children in Boston prior to moving to Naples in 1999, she has five children who are products of the Collier County Public School (CCPS) system who she mentored for 6 years. All five of the students she mentored graduated from Immokalee High School and are now in college. When asked about these children, she responds, “They are bright, successful and motivated, and I am proud to have been part of their education and lives.”
Penta may not be a blood relative to her mentees, or a teacher, but she is proud to have taught these children as they went from teacher to teacher year after year. Penta says, “I still keep up with them, as I do my own family.” It’s these CCPS children, Louise’s kids, who have nominated her for State of Florida Take Stock in Children’s 2015 Mentor of the Year.
Penta believes Common Core needs to be overturned giving teachers control of their classrooms to teach good and appropriate literature, strong writing skills and basic sequential math, along with history as it actually occurred. She says, “High stakes testing needs to be eliminated in favor of a more comprehensive yearly evaluation.”
The budget is also an issue that Penta feels needs immediate attention with an audit and comprehensive line-by-line evaluation. She says, “The fact that there is $600 million going towards administrative costs and only $400 million to our teachers and kids, is a clear indication that there is a problem.” Penta would like to address this problem by trimming administrative costs down to a reasonable level either by attrition, retirement or performance based salaries or a combination of all of these methods. She asks, “Why are our teachers asked to trim their classroom budgets but not administration? It’s common sense.”
Penta understands the significant influence teachers have in educating our future leaders, yet they are the ones least rewarded. Penta wants to raise teacher salaries and give merit bonuses to attract the best and the brightest, as well as retain our good teachers. She says, “With a carefully thought out financial plan, we can do this without raising taxes.”
Louise Penta hopes to encourage parent involvement. She says, “Education should be teacher, parent, child centered. Engage families in school planning, leadership and meaningful volunteer opportunities that will strengthen and support students’ learning and well-being.”
Penta says she is running for a seat on the school board because she wants to make sure parents, teachers and students are given a voice in education, and she would like the honor of being their voice. Penta also feels that her six years of mentoring students gave her the impetus to run. She says, “Mentoring isn’t just about helping kids with school work and preparing for tests, it’s about helping with life skills, with family issues, with social/peer conflicts, with boyfriends and girlfriends; it’s helping to prepare for school entrance exams and college applications.”
The Collier County School Board election is a countywide, nonpartisan election, and everyone gets to vote for one candidate from District 2 and one candidate from District 4. This will determine the future leadership for education in Collier County.
For more information about Louise Penta, or to meet Louise Penta in person, join her on Wednesday, June 22, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., at Politics in the Park at St. John the Evangelist Life Center, 625 111th Avenue in Naples or visit her online at LouisePenta.com