Meet the District 6 candidates

Twelve candidates are vying for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education District 6 seat. Interviews will be held today at 1 p.m. at the Government Center, Room CH-14.  The District 6 seat became vacant when Tim Morgan was elected to an at-large seat in November.

Meet the District 6 candidates:

Name: Larry Bumgarner of Mint Hill

Education: Bumgarner holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Experience: He is a retired business owner and has volunteered in many challenged neighborhoods. He has extensive banking, commercial lending and computer experience.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “We need to make sure we are not a training ground for new teachers. So much work is needed for CMS and a conservative voice is needed now more than ever.”

Name: Bolyn McClung of Pineville

Education: McClung graduated from high school with some college education.

Experience: He has served four years in the U.S. Air Force and works in the printing industry. Some of McClung’s business and civic experience include serving as chair of the Pineville Zoning Board of Adjustments, serving as a board member for the Civic and Cultural Arts in Pineville and working on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “Since voting against the 2005 school bonds, I’ve made a continuous effort to make sure this community has not had a good reason to not support public education. I wish to extend that effort on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board.”

Name: Scott Babbidge of Matthews

Education: Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from the University of Maine

Experience: Babbidge is self-employed with five years of experience volunteering as a daily and long-term substitute teacher. Some of his experience includes operating his own tutoring business and serving as a president of the Matthews Grove Homeowners Association.  

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “I believe I am the right person to join the board and turn these challenges into opportunities to transform CMS into the 'model American school district'. Certainly, I will be cognizant and aware of and in service to the constituents that reside in District 6, but I will also be aware that I am also working with the rest of the Board to do what is in the best interest of the entirety of CMS.”

Name: E. Thomas Bowers of Charlotte

Education:  Bachelor of Science in Industrial Relations from LaSalle College in Philadelphia, Master of Science courses in organization behavior completed at Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations School in Ithaca, NY.

Experience: Bowers is a retired human resources manager for W.W. Grainger in Lake Forest, IL. He has served as a hospice volunteer in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, he is a CharMeck Court Watch volunteer, on the Mecklenburg Ministries Food for Thought committee, amongst other efforts.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “I am committed to Charlotte and Mecklenburg and CMS has the biggest influence on the future direction of this great city and county. I wanted to be a factor in facilitating the CMS Board in its problem definition, consensus building and creative problem solving.”

Name: Angelica P. Castaneda-Noorbakhsh of Charlotte

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Human and Community Services from Queens University in Charlotte and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Human Services, Substance Abuse Counseling and Case Management from Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte.

Experience: Castaneda-Noorbakhsh is a co-owner, co-operator and wellness coach of MAS Fitness & Athletics, LLC; Enlace, Latin American Council of Charlotte chair; former youth leader with the Hispanic Youth Ministry of Charlotte; co-founder of the Human and Community Service Club at Queens University of Charlotte and an active member of other civic organizations.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “I believe in the power of education and value the hard work of our teachers. Now, I would like to give back to our teachers, to our students and our community.”

Name: Aida P. Bertsch of Mint Hill

Education: Master of Arts in Psychology from Vermont College of Norwich University and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey.

Experience: Bertsch has extensive international business experience that includes more than 10 years in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries dealing with the FDA, USDA and other regulatory agencies. She also has key account management, personnel supervision and customer service skills.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “I am a strong believer in education and the need for a good positive educational environment. As a community, we have a responsibility to provide this type of environment for the children, for ourselves and for the success of future generations.”

Name: David Matthew Knoble of Charlotte

Education: Master of Science in Accounting from UNC Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from UNC Chapel Hill.

Experience: Knoble is an owner of a CPA firm and has 17 years of experience in leading the Boy Scouts of America, and was former YMCA soccer coach.  

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “I believe in the power and the influence of the public education system to develop children that become active contributors to society. I believe my experience, skills, and collaborative nature would be effective in representing District 6 and add value to the board.”

Name: Richard F. Martin of Mint Hill

Education: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of the State of New York

Experience: Martin holds more than 25 years of senior IT management experience, 10 years in local government and has also served in various county advisory committees.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “CMS is facing numerous challenges and first among them is the hiring of a new superintendent. I offer business expertise, common sense and an open mind toward solving all the issues facing the school system for the betterment of the entire community.”

Name:  Gerald J. Pelletier of Charlotte

Education: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Bryant University in Rhode Island.

Experience: Pelletier is a former Myers Park High School teacher. He was a school board member in Lincoln Rhode Island, on the board of directors for the Second Harvest Food Bank, on the CBS network affiliate advisory committee and other committees.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “Now that I am retired, I would welcome an opportunity to use my 35 years of personal and business experience in such a rewarding public service position as a member of our CMS Board of Education. Being part of the CMS Board would give me an opportunity, as part of a team, to make policy and help prepare all CMS students to become successful in our country’s society.”

Name:  Wilhelmenia I. Rembert, Ph.D. of Charlotte

Education: A doctorate in child development from UNC Greensboro, a master's from USC and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Winthrop University. 

Experience: At-large member and vice chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Charlotte Chamber Board of Directors, Arts & Sciences Council Board of Director, along with other activities.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “Based on the current needs, challenges and opportunities facing CMS, I am offering myself to serve. I believe my prior service in the community paired with my professional background and experience, uniquely prepares me to be of service to the Board of Education.”

Name: Rev. Amelia Stinson-Wesley of Pineville

Education: Master’s degree from Duke University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Meredith College.

Experience: Stinson-Wesley currently works for World Connections for Women. She was a member of Mecklenburg County Child Protection team, a member and chairperson of the Burke County Task Force on Domestic Violence, member of the Burke County Child Fatality/Child Protection teams, along with other experience.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member?  “I am committed to public education; I believe that our schools, particularly our public ones are where basic citizenship is fostered. I am committed to this community and its future; with the impending selection of a new school superintendent, I want to be involved in this community and the decisions that affect my children, our children collectively and the future for us all.”

 Name: Philip Volponi

Education:  Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Washington & Jefferson College

Experience: Volponi is self-employed. He has budget, technology, public speaking, relationship management and strategic planning experience.

Why do you want to be the next District 6 Board Member? “I have a long time passion for our schools and I seek ways to involve our community in assisting our educators succeed.”

 Former applicant Michael Orlando withdrew his application.