The Journey of a Thousand Meetings

September 12, 2014
Looking back, I will tell you that each step was borne of on-going curiosity, learning, and interest. I'm writing about it because it's important to reflect back. Parent voice is not only important, it is necessary on the issues that have an impact on our children, our schools, and our communities. I have been supported by family, friends, neighbors, community members, the PTA, and the Governor. I sincerely hope my experience and common sense - and curiosity to want to know and do more - will continue to serve our children's best interests and success.

When our eldest entered Kindergarten my husband and I joined the school's parent group - it happened to be a PTA, and we joined to get to know his teacher and school better, connect with students and families in his class, and generally, be engaged from the outset.

Our children, 2012
As the years went by, and two more children entered the school system, I found myself more and more interested in making a difference at this school. Over time, I took on various roles there because I was interested in using some of my business, organizational, and artistic skills. It was fun getting to know other parents and teachers in the process, whether acting as a Room Parent or Field Trip Chaperon, or sharing the organizing of the 5th Grade Moving-On Ceremony, or working on a Collaborative Art fundraising project involving all classrooms in the school.

As our children grew and developed, so did my interests. Not only did I learn and share in the schools and across our Town, I honed my listening and advocacy skills. In the beginning, I advocated for my own children. I took advantage of leadership training by the PTA, the League of Women Voters, the Public Policy Institute (now the MA Leadership Academy), and more. Soon thereafter, I was advocating for all children in the school, for Town residents, then for all children in the school district. I volunteered on communication and leadership teams for local debt-exclusion overrides, School Committee, and Selectman candidate elections; drafted letters and fliers in response to state Ballot Initiatives; and spoke up to participate on a state education task force.

Last Friday, September 12, 2014, I was honored to be sworn-in by Governor Patrick as the Parent Representative of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Massachusetts General Laws required that I step down from my role on the Lexington School Committee. I look forward to advocating for the nearly one million children in our public schools across the Commonwealth.
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Articles of interest from the blogosphere and Inter-webs:

From Michigan: The Colorful Principal: Tough to Admit @benjamingilpin

From British Columbia Public Schools: Schools, Politics, and Other Stuff: Public Education is Hurting

From Edutopia: Start the Year by Building Hope @edutopia

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