This is a reprint of my campaign email for School Board
Hello Friends & Neighbors!
I’ve submitted my nomination to be on the ballot for School Board Member for the Peru Central School district. The vote is May 17th from 12:00 noon to 9:00 p.m. (want reminders?) in the High School Gymnasium. I am very excited for this chance to support of our community, and I need your help:
But above all, your vote on May 17 is what matters most. So thank you.
Now if you’re interested in WHY I am running for this position, I’ve included gratuitous detail further below, but the highlights:
In case you don’t read any further, thanks for sharing, thanks for voting, and thank you for being part of our village.
Still here? I appreciate it, and I’ve captured my thoughts on the position below. Above all, I’d love to hear any feedback or thoughts that are top of mind for you as we approach the home stretch of our 2021/2022 school year.
First, I want to share a bit about my background; my success and failures have formed who I am, and I hope by addressing some of that history, I can share a bit of my perspectives as well as my experience. My early childhood education started strong right here in Peru, and I thrived through middle school, earning honors and enjoying the challenge. Through high school however I began to struggle and ultimately dropped out. Fortunately my community (this is an email about community) of friends and family were not going to tolerate that! Their support (and pressure) saw me through the GED exam and into Clinton Community College where I again thrived, graduated with High Honors and moved onto a bachelor’s degree. We can fast forward through the remaining highlights as I moved out of Peru to find my path:
Now that all reflects rather well on the author of this email, but keep in mind it’s just the highlights reel! Of course I suffered blunders and missteps that set me back. But I learned through all that, and particularly poignant to the role on the School Board, is that I learned first hand the challenges and opportunities managing large organizations, and how important a collective goal is. And while many find it easy to assign blame and criticize the current state of any organization, I’ve learned organizations don’t move slowly for a lack of ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but understanding organizational behavior and how to affect meaningful and sustained change requires more.
The reality is that organizational change is hard and even the best ideas take time to realize their impact. Frequent changes in direction only prolong the journey and undermine trust. Pushing change for change’s sake creates burnout, attrition (we’ll come back to this), and low morale. Successful change requires outreach, education, and compromise – with a clear and consistent “North Star.” It’s important that every member of that system is empowered with a shared vision and confidence. Our system has many stakeholders including our faculty, staff, and students, but also the broader community (this is an email about community). Always bringing our conversations and decisions back to an agreed destination, we know where we want to be – does this bring us closer to that goal?
So what is that North Star, what is my agenda for the School Board? Well, to be honest, I don’t have one. There isn’t a burning issue that has me hot and bothered, and I’m not ‘campaigning’ for any specific change. I will admit a top of mind concern for me personally is also a challenge I manage in my professional career, and that’s talent retention and development. It’s important we’re supporting our faculty and staff, providing them opportunities for career development and growth. Not only does this help retain our best teachers, (as educators are leaving the field in record numbers), but it just makes good sense to invest well in the folks who work so hard to take care of our children, and by proxy our community (this is an email about community).
But beyond my individual concerns, I am approaching this role with an open curiosity and passion for my community. I’ve already heard some of you share your concerns, and not surprisingly, it varies a bit, but we all highly value a good education. I was pleased to hear from a number of new families who moved here specifically for the quality of our district. Our success comes when we combine our abilities to work across our challenges together, and define and support what drives that education. If chosen to represent the community I’ll work hard to hear all perspectives, and bring our dialog back to shared values.
Shared Values? It can feel impossible these days, but we know it’s not. Conflict in itself is a healthy expression of differing viewpoints, so long as we can effectively handle and address it. For instance, even those residents who felt taxes were a bit high agreed stupid children would no good either, so it’s about finding the balance and compromise in any conflict. :smiley: Of course no conflict is that simple, but also true is that no conversation will get past the superficial viewpoints if we deal in hyperbole and rhetoric. We all could spend more time listening and asking sincere questions. Genuine curiosity brings understanding, it brings the deeper understanding of positions, values, and concerns required to reach compromise and make sound decisions as a community(this is an email about community).
If and when we do make changes that impact hundreds of students and employees, it’s important that we move with an intention that is understood across our community. Of course support will vary from topic to topic, but the goals must always be clear. I’ve seen first hand just what good and bad change management looks like and the damage of rash decisions. Unnecessary change will only prolong the journey and undermine trust. It is important we can still act urgently when necessary, but we must do so without haste, and instead move deliberately with consideration for every member of our faculty and staff, and the ultimate impact on our community.
Thank you for your support,
You can download a calendar event for apple/ical or google calendar to remind you, or add your email to the form below and I’ll remind you a couple days out & morning of the vote May 17th, 12 noon to 9p.m. in High School Gym!