Jimmy Doster

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Jimmy Doster
Jimmy Doster.jpg
Former candidate for
Board member, Durham School Board, District 2
Elections and appointments
Last electionMay 6, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sThe Ohio State University
ProfessionBusiness analyst
Campaign website
Jimmy Doster campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Jimmy Doster was a candidate for the District 2 seat on the Durham Public Schools school board in North Carolina. He was defeated in the general election on May 6, 2014.


Doster was raised in the Triangle, North Carolina. He holds a degree from The Ohio State University. After college, Doster returned to North Carolina where he works as a business analyst. He attends The Summit Church in Durham, where he has served in the kids program and co-led a small group for high school students. Doster also occasionally serves as a substitute teacher for his high school alma mater.[1]



See also: Durham Public Schools elections (2014)


Jimmy Doster faced fellow newcomers Sendolo Diaminah, Donald A. Hughes, DeWarren K. Langley and Terrence R. Scarborough for the District 2 seat in the general election on May 6, 2014.


Doster was defeated in the general election by Sendolo Diaminah.

Durham Public Schools, District 2 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSendolo Diaminah 44.3% 2,936
     Nonpartisan Donald A. Hughes 28.3% 1,874
     Nonpartisan Jimmy Doster 13.7% 910
     Nonpartisan Terrence R. Scarborough 8.9% 588
     Nonpartisan DeWarren K. Langley 4% 266
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.7% 49
Total Votes 6,623
Source: North Carolina Board of Elections, "05/06/2014 UNOFFICIAL PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS - DURHAM," accessed June 2, 2014


Doster reported $17,015.73 in contributions and 12,465.57 in expenditures to the Durham County Board of Elections, which left his campaign with $4,550.16 on hand.[2]


Doster did not receive any endorsements for his campaign.

Campaign themes


Doster's campaign website listed his themes for 2014:

The Economy

The economy matters to me.

Firstly, preparing students for college, or other post-secondary opportunities including vocational training, their careers, and their lives as adults is our top priority.

Schools often weigh heavily in a family’s decision where to live. Durham Public Schools should be a reason why people associated with the Triangle’s universities and businesses choose to live here, and why more companies should want to locate here in Durham. Right now this is not often the case. As a School Board member, I will offer to partner with our business community, other educational institutions, and state and local governments in an effort to make improvements in our performance and reputation.

Achievement Gap
The “achievement gap” matters to me.

A top priority is dramatically improving the educational achievements of our students, specifically economically challenged students. While many social factors contribute to this achievement gap, the Board can play a vital role—in our decisions and our tone. “Pushing kids through” is not helpful to students, their future, and our community. An unshakeable commitment to student achievement is needed. This commitment must begin at the Board and cascade through the administration, teachers, parents, students, and community. We can and should do better in this area.

High-achievers in academics, athletics, and the arts matter to me.

A Durham Public School teacher told me of his concern that some high-achievers plateau after being conditioned to think that exchanging their potential for mediocrity is okay. This leads to attitudes of “just passing” or “doing as little as possible to get an A”, which is not in the best interest of the student, their future, and our community. Teachers and parents should identify high-achieving students; encourage and build them up, while helping others become high-achievers, too.

School Choice
My vision is that Durham Public Schools will be the best choice for educating Durham's youth.

Families make the best choice available for their children's education. Some of those parents we represent choose other means of education such as charters and home schools, and we all will gain through collaboration. We should not cut ourselves off from other educational choices due to philosophical reasons. The goal is to educate our youth, therefore we are all on the same team. By learning best-practices from others, and vice versa, Durham Public Schools will improve and more families will choose to educate their children in Durham Public Schools.

As a Board member, I will reach out to all publicly funded schools in Durham for collaboration and participation by our students.

Teacher Tenure
Teachers matter to me.

Laws can always be improved, and the approach to doing so matters. I prefer using the legislative process not the courts. In March, the Durham School Board voted unanimously to use Durham County taxpayer money to sue our North Carolina State Government regarding the new "Teacher Tenure Law." Since I understand the importance of this legislation, I attended this meeting--the only candidate in the audience. Afterwards, I made the case to the media opposing expensive litigation. Unlike some, I am engaging legislators in a civil discussion to address this matter and will continue to advocate making education-affecting laws better through the legislative process not the courts. Civil discourse. Avoid litigation.

Common Core
Our curriculum matters to me.

While I was walking door to door in Durham, a 5th grader at EK Powe Elementary articulately explained his displeasure with Common Core. At nearly every home with children in Durham Public Schools, Common Core was given the thumbs down. Philosophically, I believe that the local level should have greater power than special interests in Washington DC who pushed the Common Core on North Carolina. As the Common Core is reviewed by a Governor-initiated special task force in Raleigh, I will work to improve the implementation of what we have while listening to parents, teachers, and local stakeholders on how to educate Durham's youth.

Food matters to me.

My preference is having locally provided food from vendors/farmers that wouldn't have to follow a strict mandate from the Federal Government or Department of Agriculture about what items have to be provided. School lunches are currently contracted out largely because experts are needed to comply with Federal food requirements. It would be nice if these top-down laws would just go away so that sensible people like local parents, teachers, and administrators can come up with the best food options without follow more rules.

That said, let's try to make what we have better given the circumstances. No one I have talked to while going door to door is satisfied with the status quo regarding school food.

Students need to be in school. Otherwise, they can't be "students".

First we need to understand the data

Durham Public Schools is working on changing its school suspension policy. Four community meetings were held late last year, but I have not yet seen a report. Also, we have not seen DPS data on what the reasons are for suspension, such as fighting, late for school, absences etc. To develop a new policy, analyzing and understanding this data is essential.

High and consistent standards for student behavior

Disciplinary methods and standards should be applied consistently to all students. Remediate student behavior at the school level, not by sending students home (unless there is a known safety issue). For those that must be given out-of-school suspensions, a better option for the students would be to enter a program run by the YMCA, for example, as an alternative to out-of-school suspensions. The YMCA currently runs successful programs like this elsewhere and we should look to bringing an equivalent here.

As a School Board, we try to make policies better. Most importantly, it is the character of student that matters. As leaders we need to lead by example. As a community we need to be supportive.

Crowded Buses
There is supposed to be a centralized system to maximize trips and usage of buses. Is Durham using these resources? We should. If and once they do, then we need to look at best practices elsewhere. For example, Wake County contracts out with 3 transportation companies—these companies safely pick up and drop off students who live in places that do not call for a full-size school bus. Instead, students are safely driven to and from school in large vans or SUVS. This could be a great option for some students in northern Durham.

Professional Development
Professional Development is a key to great schools. It is a shared responsibility of our teachers and the schools. Part of our responsibility is to see that teachers are directed to areas in which they need to address through professional development. Principals are the appropriate coaches.

As a Board member, I will strongly support our Office of Professional Learning.

Teachers must be respected as professionals. This goes hand-in-hand with the requirement for continuous Professional Development. As Board members, we must listen to our teachers, both by being accessible and by attending such forums as the Durham Association of Educators. Additionally, I support the efforts of the PTA Council to establish and enhance active PTA/PTO’s in all schools, which can be a key factor to support our teachers. Also, we need to limit the number of non-education tasks required of teachers by continuously challenging ourselves to re-assign or eliminate duties that are not in support of “the main event”, educating students. In short, let teachers teach.

We use tests to measure achievement and progress of our students. We need to allow the wisdom of our teachers, their experience, to craft the best approaches for learning to create the best outcomes for each of our DPS students. [3]

—Jimmy Doster campaign website, (2014) [4]

What was at stake?

Four seats on the Durham school board were at stake in the May election. Incumbents Omega Parker and Natalie Beyer sought re-election to their respective seats.

Issues in the district

Teacher tenure

In March 2014, the Durham school board voted unanimously to join a lawsuit challenging the state law ending teacher tenure. The law awards four-year contracts with annual $500 raises to the top 25 percent of teachers in their district. The teachers would have to voluntarily give up their tenure, before tenure ends for all teachers in 2018. The law was intended to promote competition and remove teachers with low student test scores. Under this law, the superintendent will recommend 25 percent of teachers in the district to the school board for four-year contracts beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. The Durham school board joins the Wake County school board as the second board planning to sue the state over this legislation.[5]

Charter schools

Durham County's influx of charter schools has raised concerns for some of the county's residents. The county is home to ten charter schools and will be adding another in August 2014. Six more Durham-based charters have applications pending with the state to open in 2015. Critics fear that the new charters will take students and funding away from traditional public schools. They also believe that charter schools educate a disproportionate number of middle-class children and lead to a concentration of poor and minority students in the district schools. Supporters have responded by emphasizing overall improvement in education quality in the district's charter schools.[6][7]

Superintendent resignation

In December 2013, Eric Becoats resigned as superintendent after receiving criticism for a number of issues throughout the year. In June 2013, school board chairwoman Heidi Carter reached out to the county commissioners because the school board thought it had only $4 million in unassigned funds, far less than the typical $16 million the board has normally kept in order to offset state budget cuts. In December 2013, an audit revealed the district had $15 million more in unassigned funds than the board originally reported. Becoats, who provided the board with the initial financial documents, could not explain how the mistake was made.

In October 2013, records also revealed that Becoats spent $20,157.86 on his district-issued credit card from July 2012 to June 2013 for out-of-state conferences, dinners and lunches with colleagues, economy-class air travel, hotels, room service, limousines from the airport, meetings, workshop supplies, flowers for recognition of employee achievements and gifts to a host family in Mexico. Becoats’ credit card was one of four district-issued cards. There had been no official policy outlining the use of the cards, but the board cancelled his card in October 2013. In November 2013, they also decided to discontinue the other cards and tighten rules on travel reimbursement and spending. Becoats was also criticized in July 2013 for hiring a school activity bus and driver to take friends and family members to private events. He reimbursed the school system $726.80 and was reprimanded, but the contents of his reprimand were not released to the public.[8]

About the district

See also: Durham Public Schools, North Carolina
Durham Public Schools is located in Durham County, North Carolina
Durham Public Schools is located in Durham County, North Carolina. Durham County is home to 279,641 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[9] Durham County Schools is the seventh-largest school district in North Carolina, serving 32,478 students during the 2010-2011 school year.[10]


Durham County outperformed the rest of North Carolina in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 44.7 percent of Durham County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.8 percent for North Carolina as a whole. The median household income in Durham County was $50,997 compared to $46,450 for the state of North Carolina. The poverty rate in Durham County was 18.0 percent compared to 16.8 percent for the entire state.[9]

Racial Demographics, 2012[9]
Race Durham County (%) North Carolina (%)
White 53.0 71.9
Black or African American 38.8 22.0
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.0 1.5
Asian 4.9 2.5
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.3 2.0
Hispanic or Latino 13.4 8.7

Party Affiliation, 2013[11]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 118,059 58.8
Republican 27,874 13.9
Libertarian 685 0.3
Unaffiliated 54,240 27.0

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[12][13]

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See also

External links

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  1. Jimmy Doster for School Board, "About Jimmy," accessed April 8, 2014
  2. Durham County Board of Elections, "2014 Organizational Disclosure Reports," accessed May 6, 2014
  3. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. Jimmy Doster for School Board, "Issues," accessed April 8, 2014
  5. Jonathan M. Alexander, News Observer, "Durham school board votes to join Guilford County lawsuit in teacher-tenure fight," March 5, 2014
  6. Ned Barnett, News Observer, "Charter schools press Durham’s district schools," February 1, 2014
  7. Jenna Zhang, The Chronicle, "Charter schools on rise in NC," February 6, 2014
  8. Jonathan M. Alexander, News Observer, "Durham schools chief Becoats resigns amid criticism," December 19, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 United States Census Bureau, "Durham County, North Carolina," accessed February 21, 2014
  10. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed February 18, 2014
  11. Durham County, "Voter Registration by County," accessed February 21, 2014
  12. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  13. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.