People have a lot of reasons for taking an interest in our schools. Some fear public education is going in the wrong direction and they want to intervene. Some want to add their voice to a particular cause – more music, more art, better sports.
I’m here for the teachers. My wife and best friend has been killing it for 30 years in our public schools and through her I have come to appreciate the sacrifices teachers make. They are the best educated low wage workers in our society. They get blamed for everything that’s wrong and get little credit for their successes.
School board members don’t get to have an agenda. It’s mostly working through the challenges of too-small budgets and often complicated policies.
But, to the degree than i can lean in to one particular thing, I will be there for our teachers. I will advocate for them and consider their needs in every choice I make.
I’m running for Perquimans County School Board.
That begs the question, who is this guy and what does he bring to the table?
I’ve had a wide range of careers in four decades as an adult. It took me a while to find my groove but in all those jobs some common themes emerged–I do well under pressure, (real pressure, like “we-might-all-die” pressure). I function well on a team solving complicated problems, and I communicate well in difficult situations.
Specifically, my early years were spent on the roof of an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. That’s where complicated meets dangerous and most mistakes only happen once.
From there I joined the United States Coast Guard and spent a few years at the wet and cold end of search and rescue. Hours offshore in seas half the length of the boat with a tiny crew of people not old enough to rent a car. That’s teamwork.
I love the Coast Guard; the mission, history and values, so when the opportunity came to promote the service full time I took it, and spent the next decades in media relations and public affairs.
In the 1990s I found myself at some of the biggest news stories of the decade. Mass-migration in the Caribbean, the United Nations Haiti talks at Governors Island, oil spills and natural disasters everywhere else. I delivered the Coast Guard message to media outlets around the world.
In 2000 I shifted from military to civilian and continue to serve the Coast Guard at the Aviation Logistics Center, where I have managed to combine the skills I learned along the way: photography, communication, teamwork, and solving complicated problems.
In 2001 I married my best friend. She’s also a speech therapist in Perquimans County Schools. Through her I learned a little about the complex challenges facing public education today.
As an older parent of two young boys, I worry about preparing them for a world far more complex than the one I came from. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I think I have some skills that might help our community work through some of these problems.
I’m a new arrival in Perquimans County, ok, it’s been almost 20 years but by local standards, I’m a fresh face.
But I love this town. When the sheriff’s car pulled up to my house at 10:00PM one evening 15years ago to return my wallet that someone had found, I knew that this is where I want to live.
I have spent a big chunk of my adult life promoting the US Coast Guard and its people. Self promotion has never been my thing.
But I have, over the years, developed a knack for getting along with people even when we disagree. I’ve spent a lot of time working with smart people to solve complex problems.
The problems facing our schools are very complicated. Resources are limited. Raleigh is in a cage match over our funding while our teachers get by on last year’s money.
Going forward we need people who can find solutions to complex problems.
I think I can be that guy.
There is a motto trending in public education and we use it here in Perquimans;
“Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day.”
So what does it mean and who does it apply to ?
I think it applies to EVERYONE in this County.
If this is a great place to live (and it is), then it must have great schools.
And to have great schools we must all have skin in the game.
Someone a lot smarter than me unpacked the motto a bit more;
Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day.
Every Child – the Gifted One
Every Child – the EC One
Every Child – the Trauma Impacted One
Every Child – The Spanish Speaking One
Every Child – The Poor One
Every Child – the Black One
Every Teacher engaged in Teaching Every Child to their student’s greatest potential.
But it’s more just the teachers. It’s everyone. It’s the bus drivers rolling out of Central School at 0550 every morning so they can pick up children at the far end of the county.
It’s the custodians who keep our schools immaculate 185 days a year. And then spend the summer stripping and waxing the floors to get ready for the next year.
It’s the amazing food service workers who turn out remarkably good meals on a razor thin budget.
It’s the deputies who manage the safe loading and unloading of 1400 children every day.
And it’s the rest of us buying stuff we don’t need from school fundraisers and not only stopping for the school, but checking our mirror to see that everyone else does.
I’m running for school board because I want to help equip all of these people with the tools they need to help all of our children thrive EVERY DAY
I’ve been in both the Navy and, far longer, the Coast Guard, and they both use the expression, “All hands.” It means what it says.
There are no small jobs, at sea or in the air. Everyone relies on everyone else, and the failure of any part threatens the safety of all and the mission.
The way I see it, Perquiman’s County Schools is the same. There are a lot of challenges before us and it will take all hands to meet them.
Our precious children deserve no less.