Sunday, August 22, 2010

The District Belongs to the Voters

I have a lot of bosses. On teacher appreciation day, the District usually makes a visit to each classroom to extend a "Thank you" to the teacher.

After they leave my room, I usually explain to my students who they were, "Mrs. Likert is my boss, and Dr. Howell is her boss, and the Board Member is one of Dr. Howell's bosses."

There is a chain-of-command in most organizations. What makes a School District somewhat unique is that ultimately the "boss" is the voting public. (In a business, the owner/stockholders are the final bosses.)

Happily, eight residents of the Lowell Joint District have filed to run for the open positions on the Lowell Joint School Board. I'm happy about that.

The Whittier Daily News posted an article that lists the candidates:

Eight candidates, including incumbent Darin Barber, have filed for three open board seats at the 3,000-student Lowell Joint School District.

Half of the candidates hail from Los Angeles County and half live in Orange County, as the district serves students in both counties.

In addition to Barber, who was initially appointed to the Lowell Joint board in 2003, the challengers in the Nov. 2 election are:

Doug Cox of La Habra, a programs manager and parent;
Kevin M. De Mera of La Habra Heights, a businessman and parent;
Gene N. Dunford of Whittier, former Lowell Joint trustee and commercial banker;
William (Bill) Hinz of La Habra Heights, educator and business owner;
Patrick G. Rockenbach of Whittier, process manager and parent;
Melissa A. Salinas of La Habra, local businesswoman and parent; and
Anastasia Shackelford of La Habra, math teacher.

"I know most of them, and this is a good field of candidates," said Barber, 41, of La Habra, who is an attorney and former school teacher.

Read more:Eight join race for three open Lowell Joint school board seats - Whittier Daily News

The Long Beach Press Telegram published a good summary article  here.

I'm happy that so many have stepped forward to become informed and involved. One of my favorite sayings is this: "To criticize is easy -- to do better may be difficult." A tip-of-the-hat to those who have stepped forward to be considered for public service. 

Mr. DeMera was present at the demonstration held by concerned teachers, parents, and students at the early summer negotiation at the District office. He was there to listen. I appreciated that.

Mr. Rockenback has a web-site where he posted this:

We need to work closely with the dedicated group of teachers that have already helped the district to consistently improve its API scores over the past few years. It is evident from the recent interactions between the teachers and the board that there is a lack of trust and this must be addressed before we can all move forward.

The good news is that there are eight people interested in taking on the challenge. The better news is that we don't have to pick just one person as there are three openings on the board. This is a perfect opportunity to build a new board with diverse experiences and differing opinions on the direction for the future.

Over the next few months I will be sharing my vision for the future and I hope to earn one of your three votes on November 2nd.

Current negotiations aren't going well, but perhaps that will change after the November election. 

Bosses have bosses, and ultimately, the future of the District lies in the hands of its voters -- the true bosses.

Go Lowell Joint! Go voters! (Lowell Joint needs you to stand up and be counted.)

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