Check in frequently for the latest on the Keith Sutton for Wake County School Board campaign! Keith Sutton observes and listens. He is a passionate leader who advocates unapologetically, in word and deed.

Teachers group endorses Wake County school board candidates

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

The largest group representing Wake County teachers and other school employees has made its endorsements for this fall’s school board races.

Wake NCAE is endorsing all seven school board members running for re-election on Nov. 8: Tom Benton in District 1, Monika Johnson-Hostler in District 2, Keith Sutton in District 4, Jim Martin in District 5, Christine Kushner in District 6, Zora Felton in District 7 and Bill Fletcher in District 9.

Read full article here »



0 Comment(s) | Posted |

October 14, 2011

RALEIGH-- Keith Sutton credits unwavering belief in justice for his return to the District 4 School Board seat.

"Please accept my sincere thanks for believing in the power of teamwork and ONE VOTE. My  election to the District 4 seat is due to the commitment of countless supporters who believe that equity and integrity should always  take precedence when making decisions that affect the lives of our students . Together we will continue working to ensure that all of our students receive the quality instruction and motivation needed to become our future leaders and live successful productive lives," said Sutton.


Upcoming Events

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

Keith will be appearing at the following events:


Friday, September 30:

Raleigh-Apex NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet

Martin Street Baptist Church, 6pm


Monday, Oct. 3:

Wake Democratic Men's Club Forum

Clarion Hotel, 6:30pm


0 Comment(s) | Posted |
News & Observer

RALEIGH -- If success is sometimes defined as simply showing up, school board candidate Keith Sutton scored a clear victory at Thursday's forum for the District 4 seat on the Wake County School Board.

Incumbent Sutton's only opponent, Venita Peyton, chose not to appear at the forum. On Wednesday, she said she decided not to attend because organizers had not consulted her on the timing or location of the meeting. Instead, they informed her after the decision was made.

The forum was held at the Walnut Creek Wetland Center and sponsored by the League of Women Voters, WakeUp Wake County and the Southeast Raleigh Assembly.

Though speaking without an active opponent, Sutton did face pointed questions from audience members over longstanding concerns of the Southeast Raleigh community: What about student misbehavior, excessive suspensions, school choice and shrinking funding for a growing schools population?

Sutton cited as a success the popularity of the new Walnut Creek Elementary School, which has been provided with extra resources based on its high percentage of low-income students and those with records of lower achievement.

"The word has gotten out into the community," Sutton said. "It's a very attractive school."

Sutton, who is from Rocky Mount, introduced himself as having long experience in organizing and politics, including stints with the NAACP, the Urban League and the gubernatorial campaign of Gov. Bev Perdue. He told a crowd of about 50 he has the experience and credentials to advocate for people in the district, which is centered east of downtown.

"We don't have the time now for on-the-job training," Sutton said in an apparent reference to Peyton's lack of experience in public office.

Given Peyton's absence, the forum took on the nature of a community discussion, moderated by veteran Democratic leader Don Mial. Sutton pushed for initiatives such as:

Recruiting highly qualified teachers from out-of-state institutions, using means such as offering contracts in the summer before the school year begins.

Trying to find a solution to getting people from all parts of the county to meetings at the new school board headquarters in Cary. "It is very difficult for people to travel to Cary," said Lucille Webb, wife of former county commissioner Harold Webb, who also was present.

Finding more funding for the system, which has shrunk in per-pupil terms for several years. "We've passed budget cuts for the last three or four years, and we've grown each year," Sutton said. "That's an issue, and we need to try to address that."

Sutton noted that he and others asked that the board press county commissioners for more funding, but their motion failed to pass.

The still-incomplete student assignment plan would not require a total makeover, Sutton said, but should be revised to restore the goal of keeping school populations balanced.

"We can have a plan that has proximity, that has stability ... and there can also be an element of diversity," Sutton said. "One need not be exclusive of the others." or 919-829-8929

Read more:

Time for's not too late

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

The following is re-posted from the Wake County Democratic Party's Move Forward website:

It’s Not Too Late

The story of North Carolina and Wake county is in many ways, the American story.

Less than a century ago, our state was part of the “old” south. We were rich with tradition, but desperately poor in many parts of our state. We were agrarian, and largely under-educated. Mid-century, while parts of the country raced past us, plunging into the “new” manufacturing economy, North Carolina was largely stuck in the old economy We were certainly not progressing towards the new knowledge-based economy we live in today.

This began to change when Terry Sanford became Governor. He invested in schools, and set in place ideas that would strengthen the UNC system, making it one of the best in the nation. With a bold vision for reaching people from Manteo to Murphy, Governor Sanford then started the community college system.

Governor Jim Hunt would soon follow, and through his endless drive and spirit of innovation, North Carolina began investing in young children and soon soared past its southern neighbors to become a state known and admired for our commitment to education. Governor Bev Perdue has upheld the proud tradition of education, vetoing attempts to dismantle the progress made. We have all been direct beneficiaries of those great leaders.

As a native son of the state, I attended the public schools and the University of North Carolina where I received a great education there by dedicated teachers in a diverse environment. After college, I had the good fortune of being in a leadership role in one of the state’s largest banks where I worked with a great and diverse workforce. When I retired from the banking business, I was asked to assist the last two Governors of NC on matters of economic policy. Through those experiences I have learned that in order for us to be successful in business, we must invest in education. Without an educated work force, we simply can’t compete.

Wake County has long been a model in public education, one of the best in the state. Without the success of Wake County schools it is unlikely we would be consistently acknowledged as one of the top places to live and work in the country. It is unlikely that RTP would have grown to be internationally recognized, and it is unlikely that we would have been able to recruit and retain the many successful companies that now call Raleigh and the Triangle home.

Our economic future depends on strong schools for all of our children in every community in our state.

Unfortunately the policies of the new majority on the Wake County School Board threaten Wake County’s economic future and the attractiveness of our area as a thriving business environment.

This is one of those times when doing what is right for society has a direct impact on doing what is right for business.

Exposure to diversity makes us all better, because it is a diverse world we live in locally and globally.

In my current business role, my firm makes investments in small businesses of all types with diverse work forces which serve diverse customers. Diversity isn’t a political label as the Board Majority used it to win in 2009. Diversity means that our schools must offer a wide range of achievement, culture, experience and individuals to prepare our children for the global economy of the 21st Century.

The current School Board Majority threatens our economic and civic future with misguided policies that will turn back the clock on our region’s prosperity in what I fear, in a significant way. As our economy continues to struggle, the timing of this threat could not be more critical.

It is time for a change here on the Wake County School Board. We know from our experience that leadership matters. It is leadership that created the great business environment we enjoy here in the Triangle. And unfortunately, it is the “leadership” of the new majority on the school board that threatens our economic future. The stakes are high. Let’s do the right thing and replace the misguided school board members who have already done so much damage.

It’s not too late.

Kel Landis III is the former CEO of RBC Centura and has served as an economic advisor to both Governor Easley and Governor Perdue. He currently is a Principal of Plexus Capital, a firm that invests in small businesses throughout the southeastern US. He serves on various boards at UNC-CH, Trustee of the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise, the NC Community Foundation, Trustee of the NC Supplemental Retirement Board, a former Trustee of Elizabeth City State University, and former Chair of the North Carolina Banker’s Association.


Sutton Condemns Mud-Slinging

0 Comment(s) | Posted |

Wake schools candidate condemns name calling, personal attacks


Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County school board member Keith Sutton accused the Republican board majority and their Tea Party supporters Tuesday of "name calling, attacks and division" after a controversial flier circulated at the last board meeting and was posted to Democratic candidates' Facebook pages on Monday.

The flier shows photos of National NAACP President Ben Jealous and state NAACP leader William Barber, including a photo of Barber being arrested by Raleigh police for protesting the end of the district's long-standing busing for socioeconomic diversity policy last year.

Under the heading "INDOCTRINATION," the flier calls Democratic school board candidates Sutton, Susan Evans, Kevin Hill, Christine Kushner and Jim Martin "liberal allies" of Jealous and Barber, and accuses them of supporting forced busing, social engineering and quota systems in student assignment.

"We must vote to keep these five radicals away from our children," the flier states.

Sutton said the poster crosses the line and he is disappointed that people are "throwing mud" ahead of the Oct. 11 election.

"I would hope that both members of the board majority and our opponents would denounce such tactics being used," Sutton said. 

In a statement, he added, "It's time to put those tactics behind us and focus on what is best for our children, our schools and Wake County's future."

He said the person who posted the flier to his Facebook went by the name Rino Hunter, a term used by Tea Party activists to accuse Republican candidates of being RINOs – Republicans In Name Only.

Sutton Calls for Fair Play

0 Comment(s) | Posted |


RALEIGH—Keith Sutton held an impromptu press conference on Tuesday, September 13 in the wake of recent actions that have been taken to discredit him and his Democratic colleagues who are running for school board and municipal seats.

“Reasonable adults can disagree on the issues without throwing mud and launching personal attacks.  For more than two years the Board Majority, and their Tea Party supporters and allies, have made a habit out of name calling, attacks and division. It is time to put those tactics behind us and focus on what is best for our children, our schools and Wake County’s future,” said Sutton. “We ask that the Board Majority, and their endorsed candidates, reject and condemn this type of personal attack.”


Wake County Democratic Party Event to Support Candidates

0 Comment(s) | Posted |
Please join hosts...

Ken Eudy & Linda Davis · Dean Debnam ·
Jim & Barbara Goodmon

Dr. Richard Adelman & Jane Pinsky · Mary Ann Baldwin · Rick Carlisle ·
Clymer Cease · Marlowe & Evelyn Foster · John & Trish Healy ·
Jack Nichols & Carol Spruill · George & Anne Ramsay · Annette Sheppard ·
Anne Sayers · Bonnie & Roger Smith · Sen. Josh Stein ·
Russ Swindell · Bruce & Heather Thompson ·
Betty Lou Ward · Carole Wilson ·Smedes York
(Host Committee still in formation. Additional hosts will be recognized at event)
For A Reception
 to benefit the
 Wake County Democratic Party
Thursday, September 15
 5:30-7:30 PM
 At the home of
 Ken Eudy & Linda Davis
 807 Harvey Street, Raleigh

Leadership Schools Being Discussed

0 Comment(s) | Posted |


CARY -- Single-sex schools could soon become an option for families in Wake County.

It's part of a broader proposal to revamp how the county's school system determines which students go to which schools.

Wake Superintendent Tony Tata says he wants to make schools more attractive now that the new student-assignment plan would rely on families choosing schools instead of automatically being assigned to schools by administrators.

Among the new options Tata introduced to the school board Tuesday: the creation of a leadership academy for male students and one for female students. If approved, they would become the first single-sex schools in the state's biggest public school system.

Tata also proposed creating a science academy and making Hilburn Drive Elementary School in North Raleigh the first Wake school in decades to offer kindergarten through eighth grade under the same roof.

"We're trying to be innovative with our programs and our offerings," Tata said at the school board's first meeting at its new headquarters in Cary.

The board gave Tata permission to continue work on the single-sex leadership academies and the Hilburn conversion. Pending final board approval, Tata said, the leadership academies could be ready for the 2012-13 school year.

The schools, which students could apply to attend, would eventually each accommodate as many as 500 students in grades six through 12.

School officials are considering partnering the academies with colleges to form early-college programs in which students can graduate from high school with two years of college credit.

No locations have been set for the two new schools. But school officials are looking at placing the boys academy at the site of the Longview School in East Raleigh with the girls academy potentially at the former Raleigh Charter High School site near Peace College in Raleigh.

School officials said there are 250 such academies across the country. School officials cited a boys academy and a girls academy in Guilford County where the graduation rates are more than 95 percent and all the students say they'll go to college.

Several board members praised the idea of using single-sex schools.

"It would be a wonderful option for young men and young women in Wake County," said school board member Keith Sutton.

Tata said he's still working on the details of a partnership with the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences to set up a 300-student science academy in downtown Raleigh for implementation in 2012 or 2013.

Tata said one of the benefits of the leadership academies is that they could reduce crowding at other schools. A similar reason is being used for considering offering middle school grades at Hilburn.

Tata said offering a K-8 program at Hilburn would make the school more attractive to families, fill up the hundreds of empty seats at the school and help relieve middle school overcrowding in the area.

"You're commended to be considering such innovative approaches," said Ron Margiotta, the school board chairman.

Assignment plan delay

Tata also indicated Tuesday that the long-anticipated student assignment plan for the 2012-13 school year now likely won't be approved before the election.

Tata said he'll have a final plan to discuss with the school board at an Oct. 4 work session. So come Oct. 11, when five board seats are up for election, voters likely won't have full details of how Wake children will be assigned to schools in years to come.

Board members and residents still have questions about feeder patterns, transportation, magnet schools and grandfathering. A final vote likely wouldn't come until later in October or possibly November.

School board candidate Jennifer Mansfield issued a statement Tuesday urging the board to stop work on the current plan and develop a more transparent alternative.

The new plan would have families pick where they want to go from a list of choices, with the focus on providing options near where students live. The new plan replaces the old policy under which students were assigned to specific schools as part of an effort to balance family income levels at schools.

"There's a lot more work to be done," board member Kevin Hill said after the afternoon work session. or 919-829-4534

Read more: