Incumbent Kate Appler has filed for re-election for the Mount Airy Board of Education District C seat.
Appler has served two terms on the board. She and her husband, Dr. Mark Appler, moved to Mount Airy 27 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pa., but are originally from the suburbs of Baltimore, Md. The two have three sons, Hunter, Holden and Harrison.
Appler explained that when she first moved to the area she became active in Parent Teacher Organizations at Mount Airy Middle and High schools and later served as president for both groups. Participation sparked her interest.
“Once you get involved, you become more aware of what it takes to be involved,” said Appler. “I wanted to give back to the Mount Airy School system. Being part of the Mount Airy School Board is so gratifying.”
She explained that a large part of the board’s success has been how well the members work together.
“You have people who work so well together for the right reasons,” added Appler. “There are no personal agendas or sense of it’s all about what one person wants. It’s about what’s best. Having seen this in other organizations where this is not the case, I know it can be so frustrating.”
Appler indicated she is proud of all the renovations accomplished by the system to keep its schools in good shape. She is also proud of having been a part of selecting two superintendents for the Mount Airy School system.
“We’ve hired two superintendents since I have been on the board,” said Appler. “I’m proud of how the board worked through this process.” Appler said that school boards determine policy, but superintendents make the school system run every day — they hire the people that make up a school system.
“Because we have a good system we have good people apply,” continued Appler. “I’m proud of who we have put into leadership. They have led us forward. You see that in our super state ratings. It starts from the top.”
Mount Airy being one of a few small school systems in the state is not lost on Appler.
“There’s a lot of debate about small school systems. Although we’re proud of our county schools, there are things you can have in a small system that you cannot have in a larger system,” said Appler. “Because of our size we have a superintendent who knows everybody. He knows all the kids and he uses that information well.
“It’s a blessing and a curse to be a small school system,” continued Appler. “There are decisions we make that are so difficult. It has been painful at times. Nothing is more painful than talking about personnel because of a lack of resources. You take that extremely seriously.” Appler said the board constantly asks itself what can be done to keep the system improving in spite of economic downturns.
She also says she has enjoyed working with the other board members.
“You need a good blend on the board and that’s what we have. We have only two women, but we’re strong women,” joked Appler. “I think most people, no matter what political party they are with, hang out a lot in the middle. This board cares about what is important. We get beyond rhetoric. You don’t mind debating something when you hear each other. That’s what we do as a board.
“Our goal is to be a great school system,” concluded Appler. “We already know we are good. People come in and look at us and ask how we do what we do, but we have lots more to accomplish and that’s why I want to stay and do this.”
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.