Kermit Carolina has plans to improve New Haven if elected mayor
New Haven-- Hillhouse High School principal Kermit Carolina, candidate in New Haven mayoral race.
Photo-Peter Casolino/Register firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW HAVEN - During his
45 years living in the city, Kermit Carolina
has visited every neighborhood.
So when he
debated running for mayor, he
thought, "If not me, then who?"
If elected, Carolina
core question when making any decision will be, "How do the residents of New Haven benefit from this?"
is in his
third year as principal of James Hillhouse High School
Prior to becoming principal, he was a head coach of a championship basketball team, assistant principal at Hillhouse and history teacher at Riverside Education Academy.
Carolina likens the transformation of Hillhouse in the past three years to the transformation he can bring to the city.
said it boils down to a leader being able to develop a vision and lead change.
When Carolina initially debated taking on the role as principal, he met with different schools in New York, Chicago and Boston to learn about their innovative approaches to transforming the schools.
invited students, parents and other stakeholders to develop a shared vision with him for the school.
recruited a team of experts to aid in strengthening the weakest areas - in Hillhouse's case, grade instructional and cultural leadership.
To date, the graduation rate at Hillhouse has increased by 25 percent since Carolina became principal, according to assistant principal John Nguyen, who is in charge of data.
Additionally, the dropout rate has decreased by 33 percent and parental participation has tripled since Carolina
took over, according to Nguyen.
In 2012, the Board of Education accused Carolina
of being involved in a grade and credit tampering scandal that benefited student athletes.
The allegations claimed Carolina
was aware that a retired teacher altered course descriptions and eliminated references to courses being taken during summer school for student athletes.
later was subject to a three-day unpaid suspension.
Carolina and his attorney, Michael Jefferson, denied the charges and have since been in arbitration in an attempt to clear his name.
Slate says Carolina
was known for telling students, "No books, no ball.
was disturbed by the allegations, he
was inspired by his
own heroes and "sheroes" to fight for what he
is unable to discuss how the case may affect his
candidacy because the case is still in arbitration.
stands by his
original claims and is looking forward to the results delivered by an unbiased and independent judge.
Two-parent households, where at least one parent is employed, will help create the right environment for children to prosper in, according to Carolina
said while he
applauds single parents, he
can't imagine there is a single parent who wouldn't benefit from sharing the responsibility of raising a child.
said the whole city would have to advocate for two-parent households for change to happen.
After growing up in poverty, in a single-parent household, Carolina
personally understands the role a child's home life plays in the grand scheme of things.
said children need to grow up in nurturing homes where they are actively engaged from birth and are given the tools to be successful beyond their household.
"I believe that the biggest indicator to determine if a child will become successful is whether or not they have at least one positive, responsible adult in their life, that raised expectations for them and provided guidance through their developmental process," Carolina
After recently taking a group of students to visit a prison, Carolina
realized many of the prisoners lack basic skills that are necessary to survive in society.
said vocabulary, cognitive skills and reading levels should be of importance from an early age to ensure children are equipped with the right tools.
In terms of reentry programs for prisoners, Carolina
said the intervention needs to take place prior to the prisoners' release.
cited a United Way of Greater New Haven program, "Emerge," as a classic example of a solid reentry program.
Emerge works with convicted felons to teach them academic skills as well as life skills, according to Carolina
said the program also teaches reading and writing for prisoners who need it.
Carolina sits on the board of United Way.
"So when we talk about early childhood development, making sure our kids are reading on grade level, that's real to me, it's not just a statement; I've lived it, I see it and I'm connected to the people who are impacted by it directly," Carolina
An effort to expand pre-natal to age 8 programs would ensure child development, Carolina
The candidate added he
would also make sure every eligible preschooler has access to preschool programs in the city.
Carolina's approach to crime is two-fold; he
focuses on the importance of preventative measures as well as civil injunctions for criminals who refuse to adjust.
On the preventative end, Carolina
proposed wrap-around services for youth believed to be "highly-at-risk" of joining violent gangs.
These services will provide personalized care and intervention for the individuals.
also proposed more street cameras and better street lights as a crime deterrent.
If elected, Carolina
will support community policing in each neighborhood.
In terms of those already committing crimes in the city, Carolina
wants to provide the offenders with the opportunity and support to become productive members of the city; if they don't "heed the call," he
said more action needs to take place.
is not interested in coddling criminals who have "no regard for human life."
"I'm prepared to drag them all into court and place a civil injunction on them," Carolina
A commuter tax is one way to add a source of revenue to the city, Carolina
The candidate said he
would also authorize forensic audits of the public school systems' budgets to find areas for savings.
added that giving residents an advantage when applying for city jobs will keep people here and thus benefit the city through property taxes.
In regard to the policies surrounding pay, Carolina
was disturbed by a recent report, "The Status of Women & Girls in New Haven, Connecticut," which reported that in New Haven, women earn $5,000 less than men on average.
The report was written by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Particularly with the concentration of single female households in the city, Carolina plans to make equal pay for equal work a priority if elected.
Carolina was born at the Yale-New Haven Hospital on Sept. 24, 1967 and has since lived, attended school and raised his children in New Haven.
spent part of his
childhood in the Elm Haven Public Housing Project with his
mother and brother while his
father served in Vietnam.
also lived with his
family came to New Haven from Kingstree, South Carolina.
experiences growing up in the projects give him a better understanding of poverty and ways to tackle it.
He graduated from Wilbur Cross High School in 1986, and worked for two years before attending Southern Connecticut State University.
He received his bachelor's degree in science with minors in political science, history and sociology.
He received his master's degree in education from Southern.
While attending Southern, Carolina
The pair married in 1995 and have two boys, Malyk, 16, and Kobe, 12.
Malyk attends Hillhouse; Kobe attends Edgewood School
not running for mayor or at the high school, Carolina
enjoys reading and watching sports.
"My resume in this city says I've walked the walk, for almost three decades in this city, and I've been committed to change, I've been on the front line of change," Carolina