From left: Jake Godwin, Jennifer Johnson, Jerry Buttery and Katie Statler have filed for Mr. Godwin's County Board of Education District 2 seat. (Contributed photos)



By being a former teacher in (a) classroom, I strongly support teachers, support staff (and) bus drivers to the fullest in all that they do. I know the importance of things that are needed for strong education in this county.

My other board members have never taught in (a) classroom and this is very important when looking at issues teachers face everyday. To me, that is important to let them know firsthand when questions arise on safety, federal forms, mentoring, testing, bus issues, sports (and) transfers.

Mr. Godwin did not respond to requests to further participate in the News-Times’ 2020 candidate election guide.

Contact information:

231 Millis Road, Newport


I am a 39-year-old wife and mother of three school age children. I was born in Carteret County, but moved away as a child. I returned home about 10 years ago to raise my family with my husband, Christian Breen.

I earned my B.S. in human development and family studies from The University of Connecticut in 2003. After graduating college, I moved to Alaska with my now husband and worked as a disability advocate at Access Alaska.

While living in California, I was an addiction counselor at a private women’s rehab, specializing in trauma in young women. Later, when living in Asheville, I was a case manager for adults and children with developmental disabilities. 

I have been at home with my children the past nine years, but my husband and I started a small home renovation business during that time. We also own rental properties in Emerald Isle and Alaska. I am active at my children’s schools. I also volunteer at Martha’s Mission Cupboard. I serve on The Carteret Smart Start Board of Directors, early education (is) also an important issue to me. 

I believe my professional and personal experiences make me an ideal candidate for the board of education.

Do you believe state-mandated testing and accountability measures are sufficient, too much or not enough? Do you believe the current requirements are producing the desired results?

In my opinion, students are tested more than necessary, which takes away quality classroom learning time. Constant testing also places undue stress on teachers and students and causes burnout. My third-grader already has test anxiety, an otherwise great student! I agree that there is a need for yearly grade-level testing, but I would like to see other measures to assess student performance that can be more individualized to the student. A holistic approach to a student’s progress seems to be a better indicator of yearly progress, versus one test.

What are the top qualities you want to see in the new school superintendent?

I believe the most effective superintendent is one with an educational background, who has been in a classroom and understands the needs of students and educators. I would like to see a superintendent that is able to work well with our current partisan school board, who can stand their ground regardless of the political pressure they feel.

We need someone who can help lead us into the future and fully backs programs like MaST. I would like to see someone who can continue to bring vocational trade training to our school system, helping to prepare students for a future that may not include college as a career path. We need an effective leader able to navigate the ever-changing and growing needs of our school system, which includes a large population of non-English-speaking students. A superintendent who values teachers and their work, and who will use their position to the benefit of our children.


Please identify some ways you feel the school board could improve safety in public schools.

As a parent of elementary school children, I feel the schools do a superior job of keeping my children safe. Exterior doors always locked, having to sign in and out each time you enter, safety drills, all excellent ways to ensure our children are protected. Bogue Sound Elementary has done a wonderful job of making parents feel welcome, yet ensuring the safety of the students at all times.

CCTV in every school should also be a mandatory requirement, as it is a low cost-effective way to monitor the grounds at all times. In the high schools, where students come and go, more frequently SROs are our best defense in regard to immediate safety issues. They are the eyes and ears of the school, helping to keep students and educators safe. Each school should also have clear boundaries – fencing or locked gates, allowing visitors to come and go from limited areas.

Contact information:

208 Meadows Lane, Newport




Carteret County has been my home by way of the United States Marine Corps since 1989. I married a local Newport lady in 1991. Kathy Gurganus Buttery and I have had three daughters who attended Carteret County Schools K-12 and currently have one granddaughter in Carteret County Schools.

As a communication technician in the USMC and a radar/electronics technician for more than 30 years, it has been my job to find answers to very tough issues.

Community is important to me. I have been involved in church groups and congregations and the community at large. When an opportunity presents itself to take action or lend a hand, I do just that.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t do it for glory. I most certainly do not do what I do for others out of anything other than compassion for others.

It is my intention to serve on the Carteret County school board for the students. This means my focus will always be on what is best for the students. If matters pertaining to safety, teachers, staff or facilities make a better learning environment for the student, I’m all for it.

Do you believe state-mandated testing and accountability measures are sufficient, too much or not enough? Do you believe the current requirements are producing the desired results?

Although a moving target year to year, yes. General results are very good for Carteret County (due) in large part to a very good teacher and staff team. Let us not waiver from making our schools even better.

What are the top qualities you want to see in the new school superintendent?

Focused. Determined. Professional. Educator.  It is my desire to see the superintendent hold all levels of Carteret County Schools to the highest standard while promoting comradery among the groups.

Please identify some ways you feel the school board could improve safety in public schools.

Training. Focus. Promoting partnerships with law enforcement agencies. Compel teachers and staff to provide continual feedback in regard to safety.

Contact information:

1321 Nine Foot Road, Newport



I’m Katie Statler, I’m a 32-year-old mom of three kids, ages 5, 6 and 8. I hold a degree in family and community services and child development from East Carolina University. In college I focused my studies on grant writing, and advocating for children and the community.

I’m currently PTO president and parent advisory council representative for Newport Elementary School. I helped expand the weekly food program and fundraised/organized and delivered holiday meals for more than 90 families in the last two years. I’ve worked with teachers on writing and receiving multiple grants from varying funding sources.

I have attended all BOE meetings since my son entered kindergarten in 2016. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with the board numerous times in the last three years and have advocated for student safety, reduced testing and implementation of new legislation. Working with both local and state representatives to advocate for our teachers and students.

I would be honored to represent District 2 on the board of education and fully understand the responsibility that comes with the position. My number is 252-725-3944, feel free to call with any questions or concerns.  Visit

Do you believe state-mandated testing and accountability measures are sufficient, too much or not enough? Do you believe the current requirements are producing the desired results?

Our state-mandated testing and measures for accountability are not sufficient at this time. Our students and teachers will never be accurately measured through one test, on one day. Three hours and a bubble sheet will never show the dedication and commitment our teachers and students display daily.

Using testing programs (iStation) that rely solely on technology instead of teachers to complete testing and show zero adaptations for deaf/blind/IEP students, we will never have accurate measures of success.  

Through Senate Bill 621 that was passed in September, we are reducing our state-mandated testing, through removing high school finals, as well as EOGs. Using bench mark testing, or measuring individual growth over time, will give us a more accurate reading of individual success.  Although we will not see the full effects until the 2024-25 school year, it is a start in the right direction.

What are the top qualities you want to see in the new school superintendent?

Our new school superintendent will play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of our top-ranked school system. In order for the superintendent to be successful, I believe they must be visible and involved in our schools and within the community. The new superintendent will need to show fiscal awareness and have the ability to organize and help administrate short- and long-term budget needs/goals. Strong communication skills and the ability to work with a wide variety of people will be a vital skill set to a new superintendent. Our new school superintendent will be responsible for helping the board of education members work with our commissioners and should have the ability to foster and promote intergovernmental communication.

Please identify some ways you feel the school board could improve safety in public schools.

With Carteret County having 18 school campuses and more than 8,000 students, school safety should be a top priority. We have varying needs within the county, and in the interest of safety and at request of school administrators, I will not list school specific needs.

We have campuses that need new doors that cannot be easily opened from the exterior/hallways so an intruder cannot gain access. There are schools that need walkways covered so our children aren’t walking between unsecured buildings. Securing all points of entry into our school buildings should be of top priority.  

Carteret County has schools that need an additional means of egress from the campus in event of an emergency situation. We have schools with no school resource officer and schools sharing a SRO, which is a concern I have as a parent and one of the most common I hear brought up by other parents and teachers in the school system.

Contact information:

233 Legacy Lane, Newport


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