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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Amanda Glass and Ian Horn run to replace retiring Ambrose Wilson IV on Woodford County school board

Ian Horn and Amanda Glass
By Haley Woods
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

For almost 28 years, the Northern District seat on the Woodford County Board of Education has been held by Ambrose Wilson IV of Midway. Now he is retiring and two candidates from Midway are running to succeed him: Ian Horn and Amanda Glass.

The race is one of three for school board seats that will end on Election Day, Nov. 3. Early voting and absentee voting are underway.

Horn, 41, is a life-long resident of Midway, a geographic information systems engineer for the state of Kentucky and a former teacher in Bourbon County.

Glass, 39, is the mother of three children, co-owner of Railroad Drug and Old Time Soda Fountain with her husband Ken, and a part-time manager at Workout Anytime Gym in Versailles. She has lived in Midway for 16 years, and is serving her third term as Parent Teacher Organization president at Northside Elementary School. She also served as co-chair of the “I Support Our Schools” committee that advocated a property tax of 5.5 cents per $100 to build a new Woodford County High School in 2018.

That effort won a majority of Midway’s vote but was defeated countywide, 3,758 to 3,442. Recently the board majority and Supt. Scott Hawkins have disagreed about how a new high school would be financed.  The board is setting aside money for the project.

Glass said she is for building a new high school. She says it doesn’t comply with federal rules for disabled students. “Without a doubt, Woodford County definitely needs a new high school.”

Horn said he favors the project but has some concerns. “I have mixed feelings, not because these kids don’t deserve a new school,” he said. “They did renovations back in the ’90s and a lot of corners were cut; things were not up to par. I just don’t want that to happen again.”

Horn said his goals if elected are a resolution of the high-school issue and improvement of mental-health services for students.

“Children are under-serviced in that field; we need adequate training for teachers in this area,” he said. “They obviously aren’t social workers or counselors, but they need to be able to pick up on the signs.”

Glass said she decided to run because “The northern district needs a strong, calm voice. Mr. Ambrose Wilson has done a great job of advocating for the needs of the north side community. I do feel like it needs to be someone who has a passionate, calm voice to continue to advocate for this side.”

Glass said her goals include keeping the peace between the board and superintendent and potentially building a technical education career path. “I want to keep a good line of communication for all families in area,” she said, “so they know what resources are available.”

In-person schooling resumed Sept. 28, but Woodford County families were offered the option to remain virtual. Horn said he had some mixed feelings about returning to in-person school. “I mainly feel this way because of my job,” he said. “I’ve seen it from an analytic standpoint, and I’m concern for the risk, health wise. I just want the kids to be safe.”

Glass said she agreed with the resumption, citing the low number of positive test results in the county. “The best place for our children to be is in the classroom, if we can get them there safely,” she said, adding that she wants to “build upon our virtual program.”

This year concern has been raised about the shortage of minority teachers in Woodford County. Asked what he would do about it, Horn said he would be open to discussing hiring bonuses for minority teachers.  “We need more teachers of color, but we have a very white state,” he noted. Kentucky and Woodford County’s populations are 8.4% and 5.4% Black, respectively.

Glass said the district should look at what other districts are paying “The goal is to get and keep those teachers of quality,” she said. “One opportunity to increase diversity and minority hiring is to attend job fairs in areas that have a more ethnically diverse population.”

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