On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, I was able to meet face-to-face with Austen Shearer, Regional Representative for Senator Thom Tillis. Ms. Shearer informed me that Senator Tillis is a very down-to-earth, practical gentleman. As a child, Senator Tillis moved nearly 20 times before the age of 17. He was raised in a working class family, and his parents moved the family depending on where they could find employment to support their children. Senator Tillis is a product of the community college system, and he attended five different colleges prior to finding his fit. He currently serves on five committees in the Senate: Armed Services; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Judiciary; Veterans’ Affairs; and Aging. Senator Tillis believes in equal access to education and a strong educational structure for all students. He believes that success for students comes from them being exposed to a wide variety of opportunities available to them. He has championed the issue for discharged members of the Armed Services being able to transfer military skills and training into careers once they return to the states.
Senator Tillis did vote for Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. During her nomination process, Senator Tillis did seek clarification from Sec. DeVos concerning an issue about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Once clarification was given, Senator Tillis was able to vote favorably for Sec. DeVos. With the new leadership in DC, there has been a great deal of “noise” in general about a wide variety of topics. When Senator Tillis was in the North Carolina General Assembly, he was in favor of charter schools. His focus during this time was healthcare and immigration.
2017 ACTE NRS Division Fellow
Franklin County Schools