Jane Allen Wilson
Board of Education, District 4
The Chatham County Board of Education is a non/partisan office.
I am a native and life-long resident of Chatham County, and I am honored to represent District 4 in Siler City. I am the youngest of six children, born to civic-minded parents who reared us in our public schools. I have many vivid and fond memories of our schools, learning from the other children around me, and developing an immense sense of gratitude for the many teachers who worked hard to provide a strong foundation for us, who opened our minds to a vast and opportunity-filled world, and who inspired us to explore and strive so that we would find our place in the world. I want for all of our county’s children to be seen and valued and to feel that inspiration, to discover their unique talents and the joy of learning, to be welcome and feel safe, and to delve into their futures secure in that fact that we have given them the foundation and the skills to create their futures.
Work and Life Contributions:
I bring to the Board direct experience working with children and families in crisis. I also have some understanding the many challenges teachers often face in serving and supporting their children in the classroom on top of the hard work of being a teacher, because of the complexity in so many our children’s lives. Our teachers and staff wear so many hats and take on so much on society’s behalf because they care. They deserve fair compensation.
My work experience includes roles in government, in the arts, and most especially working for the last 23 years to support individuals and families, adults and children, towards resilience after domestic, sexual, or child abuse. Based in Siler City, I currently train service providers from all across the state including county and state non-profit and government agencies in working with victims of crime. I also work on state policy and on special projects around improving system responses in support for both victims of violence and those who support them.
Most of my work outside of the school board was spent working as a victim advocate, directly with people right here in Chatham County impacted by violence who were in crisis. For fifteen years, all over Chatham County, I served families and individuals from diverse backgrounds, listening, supporting, and advocating, so that children live in peace. I have collaborated with the Partnership for Children, Childcare Networks, DSS, Hispanic Liaison, all our branches of law enforcement, the courts, and our schools (prior to serving on the Board). I was funded through the Partnership for Children to work with 0 - 8 year-old children who were traumatized by exposure to violence in shelter, home-based, and in school-based settings. I held support groups for teenage girls who were survivors at Jordan Matthews and achieved scholarships for a number of them to attend statewide and national youth leadership gatherings. I co-created a peer-based bullying and bystander intervention education program for middle-school aged children at Virginia Cross which was turned into a theater performance for other students. I have served on a number of community task forces and was the facilitator of our Chatham County Criminal Justice Task Force for four years, receiving a state award for my work. I am bilingual, with experience working with families in our Spanish-speaking communities, serving on the Board of the Hispanic Liaison in Siler City, where I live.
I also have experience in government and in school environments having worked for U.S. Senator Terry Sanford (formerly one of our state’s most revered “education governors”) and for the state legislature’s House Committee on Finance under State Representatives George Miller and Joe Hackney, and as an aide to Judy Hunt. I have served on a number of state committees as an active member or participating as proxy including the N.C. Task Force on Victims with Disabilities, The Victim Services Subcommittee of the Governor’s Crime Commission, the N.C. Sentencing & Policy Commission, and the Council for Women Victim Service Working Group, among others. When there was a domestic violence homicide on campus at a school in Orange County, I co-trained the school system around identifying and understanding domestic violence and options towards improved system response. At the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, I focused on supporting rural communities, victims with disabilities, and teen survivors of dating violence I participated 40 hours of equity training through the People’s Network and the Women of Color Network in New Orleans, where I committed to being an ally. I returned and encouraged our leadership to engage in ongoing and intensive organizational equity training, including follow-up review of our internal and external practices which became an essential feature in our statewide strategic planning. I currently teach improv theater and applied improv. For two years, I was as an ESL tutor for USAID staff and an ESL teacher at the local university in the Dominican Republic. I also served as a teaching assistant and librarian in an international elementary school.
I believe public education for our children is society’s most important investment and teachers are our most important assets. When I was growing up and when I worked at the state legislature in the early 1990’s education was still the largest piece of the funding pie in North Carolina. It paid off. We must sustain public education, knowing that it is essential to the well-being of our society and to the healthy expression of our democracy. It is the foundation for all else.
A sound foundation in learning also includes opportunities to process, connect and integrate the learning, so that our children’s imagination and life-long curiosity can fully develop in response. It is why structuring our curriculum with evidence-based programming we know works well in combination with a creative infusion of highly recommended innovations in teaching and learning, inspires, supports, and sustains our student growth. As part of these efforts, I will also continue to support and honor our -teachers and their ongoing growth & development, so that our children are engaged and excited about learning and are physically, emotionally, and culturally recognized and safe. Meeting students where they are with individualized support helps each child thrive and enhances their unique gifts and talents!
Public education is our state’s most important investment. Teachers are our most important asset. I will fully support our teachers and honor their longevity and commitment. Everyone benefits when children reach their full promise and contribute to a vibrant community. I will work hard, so that our children thrive and have a myriad of opportunities available to them, so that in whatever path they choose, to work in our community or to delve more deeply into academic pursuits, they find fulfillment and success, and are ready to contribute their best to society.
We have so much to be proud of in Chatham County and our schools! I am proud of our collective work and success. We are fortunate to have had the leadership of two excellent superintendents during my terms, with some of the best school administrators in the state. I am so pleased by their work and by all our staff and teachers. We are continually grateful to the community for the support, the outreach, the volunteerism, the participation in our many parent and community feedback and planning sessions, and for all the voices expressed at our meetings, by email, by calls, by conversations as we meet out in the community living our lives. As a board member, I will strive to towards kinetic participation and engagement as we protect and fortify the ongoing success of our public schools in our community and for the many children we serve!