An open letter to the ICCSD: Let’s Improve our Schools Together

Friends,

Greetings at the beginning of another school board election cycle. Yesterday, I officially filed to become a candidate for one of the four 4-year seats available on the ICCSD board. The election will be held on September 8th, and I hope I can earn your support. I wanted to talk bit about who I am as a candidate for your consideration. Before deciding to run again, I did a lot of soul searching. I asked myself what kind of leader I want to be and what I needed to do to succeed in that goal.

I decided to run because I truly want to support students and teachers throughout our community. To do that, I know I need to work well with everyone and I need to be humble. I don’t enter the race believing I have all the answers. The past couple years have been challenging, but I’ve learned a great deal about myself and the role I hope to play in the community.

Losing the election in 2013 was perhaps a better teacher than winning might have been. In the past, there were times I thought I had to know everything to be a good leader. I was mistaken. The key to good leadership is listening, admitting you don’t know everything, and being humble enough to ask for help. I look forward listening to the community, asking questions—sometimes challenging the answers—and working with the board as a strong voice for the students, teachers, and all those who support education in our community.

Over the next several weeks you’ll hear me talk about our district facilities plan and how important it is we see it through as an undivided community. It’s vital we work together, from north to south, east to west, to complete the plan. We must pass a General Obligation bond in 2017 to fund the second portion of the plan. If the bond doesn’t pass a lot of important work will go undone and students throughout the district will bear the burden.

Throughout the campaign season I’ll be out knocking on doors in every municipality to relay this message: I’m a candidate working for the whole district, not just one area.

You’ll hear me talk about an education master plan that will dovetail with the facilities plan and our strategic plan. You’ll hear me talk about providing the best possible education to every student. You’ll hear me praise our schools and call for us to build on our successes. I’ll talk about a 1:1 laptop initiative that will put computers in the hands of our students, and how crucial it is we lead the way, providing the technology our children need to be successful, no matter what path they choose.

You’ll hear me talk of building a better pathway for advocacy for parents of special needs students. My children have each had challenges in the classroom. My daughter has a 504 Plan and my son has an IEP. I know first hand the challenges parents face when working with the schools to meet their child’s needs. I recognize the struggles many parents have and I want to work toward building a system to make advocating for your child easier and more productive.

Finally, you’ll hear me talk about our students, our teachers, and the people who support education in our community and my unwavering support for them. Working closely with teachers at Mark Twain Elementary and at other schools in the district as a PTO president,  a volunteer, and a foster parent showed me what being a educator really means. Each year, teachers enter our classrooms and they commit themselves to taking each student further down the path toward their future. I commit myself to supporting that goal, to being a positive, progressive advocate for providing the best eduction for every student.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community. Let’s improve our schools together.

Sincerely,

Jason

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