To the Editor:
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Redding residents will have the opportunity to voice their opinions about who will best represent them in several public domains, including the Redding Board of Education, to which I am hoping to be elected for one of three available seats.
I would like to thank the RES and JRMS PTAs as well as the Redding Education Foundation for organizing the recent Board of Education Candidate Forum. This was an excellent opportunity for us to answer questions about the issues and concerns that are foremost on the minds of parents and community members alike. If you were unable to attend or would like to review candidate statements and answers, the forum was recorded to be replayed on local cable channel 79. I hope that those who do have the opportunity to see the forum will evaluate which candidate has the most specific, prepared and well-developed answers based on real ideas as opposed to unrelated experience and impracticalities – and I hope that you decide that candidate is me. I am eager to serve on the Board of Education with an open mind, a watchful eye and an honest voice.
I have lived in our wonderful town for over twenty years and during that time, I have come to realize that it is important to become involved at many levels in order to create true partnerships and opportunities for positive change. Given this philosophy, I have had the pleasure of serving on the PTA Boards of both RES and JRMS as Board of Education Liaison; designing and building sets for theater productions at JRMS and JBHS; and most recently, volunteering on the Board of Education’s Facilities Planning Committee for the past two years, from capital improvements identification, planning and funding through completion of numerous projects that were all on time and under budget and, most importantly, that directly improved the learning environment for students. These are just a few of the endeavors that have resulted in associations with current Board members, administration and Central Office staff that have evolved over time into sound working relationships.
However, the most basic way to become involved in our town and our schools is simply by attending town meetings that are open to the public and that offer ample opportunity for public comment and discourse. For those of you who know me, I am a familiar face and consistent voice at many town meetings, especially Board of Education meetings on the first Tuesday evening of each month. I have not missed a meeting in seven years, and I have followed the annual budget process, district goal-setting and all Board undertakings with careful attention and reflection. The budget process alone is a unique one and not really analogous with corporate, PTA event or other institutional budgeting procedures. Educational priorities must be balanced with operational costs and responsibility to the taxpayers – it is not simply a matter of estimating costs and making sure to not overspend. As a matter of fact, the drivers for next year’s budget are already being considered as the Board approaches the critical budget planning season, and it is important that candidates be well-versed in the educational initiatives and strategies that are in place now and certain to remain priorities going forward. State and national mandates coupled with Redding’s own desire to remain a visionary provider of exemplary education require Board of Education members who are prepared to hit the ground running.
It is humbling to run for public office, especially in a small town and without the benefit of affiliation with one of the main town committees. However, this is not a deterrent; rather, it is a motivator and an affirmation that we all have a voice in the processes and values of our town governance. I respectfully ask voters to look in a new direction on Tuesday – row 9D may be slightly harder to locate on the ballot than some of my opponents’ names – however, I assure you that I am always available, easy to reach and certainly up to the task and ready and willing to contribute all I can to educational excellence in Redding. Please vote for me on Nov. 8. Thank you!