Name: Ingrid Whitaker
Biography: Ingrid Whitaker is currently a member of the Portsmouth School Board. She immigrated to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago when she was 4 years old. She has a Ph.D. in sociology and social work, and works as a professor and graduate program director for Old Dominion University’s department of sociology and criminal justice.
Why should residents re-elect you to the School Board?
I have advocated for and will continue to advocate for the full funding of our schools, pay raises for our employees, expansion of our career and technical education programs, additional support services for our students, and continuing to strengthen and support our MWBE program.
What would you do to improve school security?
I believe we have measures in place to keep our students safe. However, I believe we can share more information with the community about the measures we have in place to keep our students safe.
How would you invest in technology and improve its applications in your schools?
I believe we need to continue to look at ways in which we can offer students access to devices and wifi access that will allow them to continue learning at home. We must be cognizant of the ways in which limited access to technology may impede the ability of some students to continue learning outside of school.
What are the most challenging aspects of being a teacher in your community? How would you support your teachers through these challenges?
Teachers do a tremendous amount of work for limited pay. They deserve pay raises on a regular basis. This will require additional funding from our City. In addition, class sizes are a challenge. I will continue to advocate for and vote for raises for our teachers.
What would you do to better support your vulnerable students? For example, those who live in poverty.
I have been advocating for the inclusion of more social workers in our schools. We must be able to address the needs of students through services and programs that are available at the community, state and even federal level. However, this requires having enough case workers to identify and work with families that need support.
What are your top three budget priorities?
- Pay raises for employees
- expansion of Career and Technical Programs
- Expansion of support services for our students