NEWBERRY — Leila Caldwell wants to be a voice for the children of Newberry County as your nonpartisan candidate for Newberry County School Board District 3.
Caldwell, born to Abraham and Ola Wiggins, is originally from Berkeley County, but decided to move to Newberry in 1972. She is one of four siblings. Her sister Bertha Sanders and brother Franklin Wiggins are still living.
She is married to Jerry C. Caldwell and together they have three children: Rafhael, Jermeis and Leah, who is deceased.
A graduate of Central High School in Cross, Caldwell attended Voorhees College where she received her bachelor of science degree in Elementary Education and then attended Clemson University to obtain her master’s degree in Education and Supervision.
Caldwell has also served as a principal for 16 years, with three of those years serving as an assistant. She is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where she serves on St. Luke’s Mission Council, is in choir, is president of the Episcopal Church Women, in Daughters of the King and Altar Guild Chair.
Caldwell is a member of Pi Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Rosette’s Bridge Club, Newberry Opera House Guild and is secretary of the Newberry Opera House Guild board.
Caldwell said she decided after retiring that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of students, so with her 37 years of experience, she decided to run for School Board District 3. If elected, Caldwell’s top two goals include reducing the classroom size at the elementary and middle school level and addressing the lack of diversity in teachers within the district.
“If the classroom size is reduced at the elementary level, it will give teachers more opportunities to work with students one-on-one as opposed to working with five students in a group,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell feels that her years of being a teacher and an administrator qualify her as the candidate to fill the seat of School Board District 3.
“I have experience working with hundreds of students and parents throughout the years,” she said. “I know the language that is being used and I figure that with those attributes, I would do well. Students have always been my first concern. I am fair, honest and will make the right decisions for all students.”
Caldwell also devotes her time to volunteering with Palmetto Health Richland Children’s Hospital and Palmetto Health Richland Children Cancer Research. She also substitutes at multiple schools throughout the county, including Pomaria-Garmany Elementary, Mid-Carolina Middle School, Boundary Street Elementary and Newberry Middle School.
“Children have always been my heart,” she said. “Having a child that died at the age of 10, my love for students went so far beyond that now I’m just volunteering and doing anything I can.”
Caldwell said she understands the importance of filling the Newberry County School Board District 3 seat with the right candidate.
“I am knowledgeable about curriculum. I know the needs of students because I have seen it, been there and done it,” she said. “Being a former teacher and administrator, I know where the needs are and I have listened to teachers in my passing about class sizes. We really need to look at the lack of diversity in teachers and work on recruiting different ethnic groups, because that number is very low.
“I want the citizens to know that I am fair, honest, a good leader and listener,” she said. “I want everyone to know that Leila Caldwell is a voice for all students and that Leila Caldwell will make the right decisions for all students.”
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.