Too often, many of us find our lives running a bit more quickly than we’d prefer; a situation in which I, rather recently, found myself.
Amid the clutter of employment responsibilities, the completion of two additional Master’s degrees (in education, this time), school board responsibilities, work on behalf of the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Assn., the Regional Educational Advocacy Districts (READ), Destination Imagination, and the remaining aspects of ordinary life, I found my current school board term expiring at a moment in which the careful, thoughtful consideration that this decision requires was, to put it mildly, elusive. With a mostly completed petition, and time run out, I left to attend the National School Boards Association convention, seeking to further my knowledge and perspective, network with others from throughout the nation, and bring back materials and notes for sharing with those Croton board members unable to attend.
My regret for not having decided the issue earlier was palpable, but my respect for the commitment and responsibilities associated with school board service was its equal. The role has become more complex through the years and, doing the job well, to the greatest benefit of students and taxpayers cannot be engaged idly. Instead, the challenge must be met with purpose, dedication and intellectual intensity.
Given the opportunity for such reflection, I’ve found that my passion for the Croton-Harmon school district, and public education, remains as intense as ever. My interest in innovation, improvement, and challenging the limitations imposed by others is unabated. The opportunity the convention afforded to learn from others, to assess new research, and to see our district from another vantage point, deeply reasserted those core beliefs.
While I believe that the district has improved during the years I have served on the school board, there are many issues remaining. New York State’s school aid allocations remain opaque and politically motivated. The constraints of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) threaten to further reduce local educational independence while, simultaneously, imposing increasing penalties that will require greater and greater local funding. Integrating technology and differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all students remain important goals. I believe that my viewpoint, education, experience, and contacts can continue to be of substantial benefit to Croton’s students and educational community.
The write-in process made necessary in this year’s candidate election is both positive and difficult. Had a petition been filed earlier, additional interested parties may not have expressed their interest, and Croton residents would have been denied a choice; as has happened too often in the past. The current situation models democracy to a far greater degree. As one with a deep appreciation for the subject of social studies, I genuinely respect that.
It is, of course, my hope, that the community will support my write-in candidacy; maintaining the commitment, and depth of knowledge that my experience has provided. As important, is that the school district community express itself fully in a thoughtful approach to the budget and trustee election. Your participation, therefore, could not be more valued.