Joseph grew up in Port Royal and currently resides in the Shell Point area. He is the proud Father of two girls, Emma (13) and Natalie (8). Both girls have attended public school since Kindergarten.
Joseph Dunkle is currently a Captain at the Savannah River Site Fire Department, worked previously at the Burton Fire District, and also volunteered at the Beaufort Fire Department. Joseph has previously served as a Law Enforcement officer in Hampton and Jasper Counties. He is a nationally certified Paramedic and a graduate of University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s Emergency Medical Service Management program. Joseph is a 2014 graduate of the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Beaufort program.
As a Captain Joseph has won several awards for safety initiatives, cost savings, and plays an instrumental role in acquisition of capital equipment as part of a long range plan.
Joseph has previously served on the Board of Directors and Treasurer for Riverview Charter School in Beaufort. He has also served as chair of the Board of Education’s Human Resource Committee where he advocated pro-employee initiatives such as the locality supplement, which for the upcoming year is $5,000 annually for teachers.
The board should hire a Superintendent with a proven track record of closing the achievement gap. We should then set measurable goals and monitor them regularly for progress. The board should then hold the Superintendent accountable for the results of each student.
The district can not do this alone, it will require parental and community involvement to see long term results though.
Beaufort County is a large and diverse district with unique challenges in different areas. While Bluffton is one of the fastest growing communities in the state, other parts of the county have flat or declining enrollment.
I have advocated for a comprehensive study of our attendance lines and current facilities. This study would require community input and would allow the district to ensure that schools are operating efficiently. We would be able to plan future facility needs and minimize constant rezoning of children.
Providing a safe environment for our students and staff is paramount. While Beaufort County has safe campuses, I am a believer of continuous improvement. Some items are little to no cost such as ongoing professional development related to safety and security. Other items such as fencing to restrict access will have a cost associated with it.
School District employees are entrusted with an enormous amount of the public’s trust. They act as “in loco parentis” when students are in their care, which means that employees take on certain legal rights to protect the students. And with a multi-million dollar budget they are expected to be good stewards of taxpayer money.
One step the district can take is to conduct a rigorous 50 state and FBI background check on all employees when they are hired and then follow-up background checks during their employment with the district.
I served as chair of the Board of Education’s Human Resource Committee where I advocated pro-employee initiatives such as the locality supplement, which for the upcoming year is $5,000 annually for teachers. While this is certainly helpful, there is more to retaining teachers than money. The work environment needs to be a positive one that fosters each teacher’s professional growth, especially new teachers. The District should be cautious about programs that require the teacher to focus on paperwork instead of classroom learning.
In crafting the Freedom of Information Act law in our great state the General Assembly crafted the law to ensure that the Citizens are able to "learn and report fully the activities of their public officials."
While there are legitimate reasons to have executive sessions, these meetings should be the exception and not the norm. The board should conduct as much business in open meetings as possible so that the Citizens are an informed electorate. Executive session should be the exception, and not the norm.
The public’s business should be done in a public venue with the full board, not via e-mail or in secret backroom meetings. Joseph has pushed for full transparency during his time on the board, even spending thousands of his own money to force the school board to reverse course on their unlawful actions related to the Freedom of Information Act.