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Meet your candidates… Schaff’s familiarity with school system drives desire to serve on Elizabethton Board of Education

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com 
The Elizabethton Star continues to share information on the candidates for the Elizabethton Board of Education.

There are three open seats for the 2020 election as Chairwoman Rita Booher and Dr. Grover May have elected not to seek re-election while incumbent Phil Isaacs will be running to maintain his seat.

Candidate Jamie Schaff answered five questions that were asked of all school board candidates and here are her responses.

Please give a short bio (family, education, work experience, any other pertinent info you feel important).
My name is Jamie Bass Schaff. I graduated from EHS in 1982 and attended ETSU. I am married to Mark Schaff and have three children, David Lyons, who is married to Bri Gouge Lyons, Kelly Lyons, and Christofer Schaff.

All three of my children attended and graduated from Elizabethton City Schools. I have one grandson, Fynnlee Jack Lyons.

I am an active member of First Baptist Church where I am a Praise Team member and also lead the Children’s Choir. I organize two yearly Benefit Concerts for Recovery Soldiers and Isaiah 117 House.

I was employed by the Elizabethton School System for 14 years. I began as a substitute teacher for two years and then served as a 5th-grade teaching assistant for seven years at HME and the last five years were spent as Secretary at Harold McCormick Elementary.

My mother, Wanda Bass, was a teacher at EHS for many years until her death in 1991. My sister, Beth Deloach, is currently a second-grade teacher at Harold McCormick Elementary.

Upon my retirement, it became apparent that I wanted to remain involved in the school system that I had been a part of for so many years. My goal if elected is to listen to the community as well as the teachers, students, and parents.

We need to be a united board and all working for a common goal to give these students the best possible education so that they may achieve all their academic goals.

Also, helping teachers to have the support and tools necessary to achieve this. We have the best of the best in our school system and we need to keep our priorities straight and always strive to do what is best for the Elizabethton City Schools.

I would appreciate your support in November.

Why did you decide to run for the Elizabethton City School Board and why do you feel qualified to do so?

I decided to run for the school board because I felt we needed some different points of view.

I feel qualified because I can look at situations from the point of view not only as a parent but as an employee. My family has been involved in the educational field for many years and I have a strong admiration for all involved in the daily operation of a school day.

I witnessed the love that faculty and staff have for students and it has made me a better person. I chose to run to provide support for our teachers, students, and parents.

We are so blessed to live in a community that supports our school system and chooses to be involved in their children’s education.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the Elizabethton School System and how would you suggest addressing them?

Currently, COVID-19 seems to be the most concerning issue facing the school system. The pandemic has created a rush to improve and advance our technology.

With the introduction of Google Classroom and online instruction, the classroom setting has changed.

During this difficult time, I believe the Elizabethton City School System wants to work with students to create a positive and effective learning environment.

Hopefully, in the very near future, the school system will be able to provide more teacher training related to distance learning and student exposure to online classes.

What strong points do you feel need to continue in the school system?
We have a strong backbone of qualified and amazing teachers. They have stepped up during this pandemic and gone above and beyond.
They implement masks being worn and social distancing while trying to obtain some type of normalcy in the classroom as well as repairing lesson plans for in-person and distance learners.
We need to continue to provide the tools needed for our teachers to remain successful during this difficult time.
The current administration has worked diligently to provide a safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff. We have taken steps over the years to provide safety in our schools.
When Raptor was implemented in our schools to provide background checks on individuals entering the building this provided another sense of security for our students and teachers.
Do you feel that the pandemic has negatively impacted the school system and what would you bring to the board in helping to overcome those issues if elected?
Absolutely, it has torn our routine of school to shreds.
We cannot allow students, faculty, or staff to return to life as we have known too abruptly. At this point, we need to make the safety of our students, teachers, and everyone involved in the school system first priority.
One life lost is too many. I, too, starve for normalcy, but we have to be cautious and look at every factor. We need to listen to the CDC and the Tennessee Dept. of Health so that we can provide the safest environment for all involved.
If elected I trust the current administration will do everything possible to continue to mandate masks, social distancing, and provide sanitizing stations throughout the schools.
We are offering options which are important to our parents to choose what works best for their particular situation.
During this difficult time we all need to work together – we all are striving for the same thing and that is to provide the best education, as well as, making their safety a top priority.
We will get through this because we are a Cyclone family.