We asked candidates for state and local office to tell us about their views on public education. Here are their answers.

Our Schools First sent a survey to every candidate for state legislature, Iredell County Commission, and Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education. OS1 does not endorse or recommend candidates in the 2018 Election–we simply wanted to provide the following information to help guide voters in their decision.


Max James, Jr.
Democrat, incumbent board member


Qualifications and Experience

I’m a certified Environmental Educator, I have multiple family members who have been in education, I am a product of the schools I represent and care deeply about their future for the families and students in my region.


I was born and raised in North Iredell I work for the NC Department of Agriculture for the last 26 years. I graduated from North Iredell, NCSU, Mitchell College and UNCC. My wife is a Principal in ISS Schools, my Mom retired from teaching at Harmony. I am part owner in several family Agri-Businesses in Iredell County.

OS1 Questions

1. Do you believe that all children in Iredell County, regardless of where they live, are entitled to the same quality of education?

Absolutely, our county is very diverse and the challenge is getting the proper resources in the right place for different needs.

2. Do you think that all children in Iredell County are currently receiving the same quality of education?

Yes, to best of the abilities of our administrators. Our climate is always changing and growing and the system is consistently trying to raise rigor.

3. Do you think that the level of funding for public schools in North Carolina is adequate? If not, do you think it’s the County’s or the State’s responsibility to increase public education funding?

I think it is both. Reduced funding by state cannot be made up by county. County needs to address needs and value of system it is funding. When the county invests in Education, everyone will win.

4. Do you support the proposed Iredell County ¼ cent sales tax increase on the November 6, 2018 ballot?

Yes, we need a funding source dedicated to safety and counseling that has been cut in the past.

5. If you do support the proposed sales tax increase, do you believe that the local School Boards are best equipped to decide how to use additional sales tax revenue for our schools? If not, who is best equipped to make these decisions?

By statue the BOE is responsible , but we need to rely heavily on our partners in law enforcement.

6. Are you aware of the recent North Carolina School Report Card which graded all schools in the Iredell County?

Extremely unfair tool for evaluation.

7. Do you think that North Carolina School Report Card grades impact economic development in our County and the ability to attract employers that offer high-quality jobs?

Absolutely, one of the first questions businesses ask when they consider establishing a business in your county.

8. Why do you think that some schools in the Iredell-Statesville School District have met academic growth expectations, while others show zero, or in some cases, even negative growth?

It follows socio-economic data, we need to establish opportunity where it doesn’t exist and challenge the areas that do meet to advance. The more opportunity we establish the better the total system.