As an At-Large School Board member, you will represent the entire County, not just a single district. Will you credibly work with diverse groups who may seek seemingly divergent objectives? How?
I am keenly aware the At-Large School Board position represents the entire County. I am also aware that some people feel they have been excluded from important conversations, which is bad substantively and for appearances. I will work hard, as I have been, to seek out every voice on education in our community before making any policy decision, especially those of current K-12 parents, and foster inclusive dialog among all interested parties.
Personally, I am a product of large and diverse public schools, and the values as an Eagle Scout are still who I am. I am not fully bilingual, but conversant, and am the only candidate to put a campaign website into Spanish. I have been reaching across aisles my entire life.
Professionally as a labor and employment attorney, and past president of the almost 500 member Charlotte Area Society for Human Resource Management, I author diversity and inclusion policies for a living. My colleague human resource professionals are on the cutting edge of employee engagement and retention strategies and tactics, which translate well to expansive constituent engagement.
In eight years volunteering as a pro bono attorney with the Council for Children’s Rights, I work with families all across Mecklenburg County who often look and speak very differently than I do. As a trial lawyer, my jury trials require a similar sill set. Effective personal communication across cultures is a critical skill. I am comfortable explaining complex subjects in terms that real people can understand.
In eight months running for School Board, I have made intentional effort to proactively seek out any and all voices speaking on education issues. I am a regular attendee of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum, attended events of ONE Meck and MeckMin, and spoken at length with folks from OneCharlotte, all of whom seek “educational equity”. I have spent hours touring Bruns Academy in Project LIFT on the West side, taught a class at Merry Oaks Elementary, and toured Idlewild Elementary on the East side. I have spent even more time at Olympic High School, and meetings of Alignment Southwest Charlotte, spreading word of their great, even visionary, works.
I have also spent considerable time in Cornelius, Huntersville, and Matthews, and in South Charlotte, listening to their perspectives also, and talking with the business community about what they need out of CMS schools to provide the workforce of the future to fill the high quality jobs in our local economy. I have met with Charter parents and the Board Chair of KIPP Charlotte, and met with many current and former teachers about what they see, and need, in the classroom.
As I have pledged to OneCharlotte, and everyone I have met, if elected I will continue to proactively seek out all viewpoints on every education issue. On most issues, I believe current K-12 parents are the most important perspective, and will engage in robust parent surveying before making any major policy decision. I will always be accessible and responsive to anyone seeking my ear. Simply put, I will return all emails and phone calls promptly and with substance, as my clients for 16 years practicing law can attest.
There has never been, and will never be, anybody with whom I will refuse to meet. As many have seen and commented on the campaign trail, I can, and will, work very, very hard to do this the right way.
There is a reason 29 current and former elected officials from all across Mecklenburg County at all levels of government have endorsed my candidacy; because they agree that I am the best qualified and the only candidate they believe can properly represent the entire Mecklenburg County. With such endorsements comes great responsibility to live up to that trust.
Please vote for me for Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education – At Large, in early voting and on November 3, 2015. I will work hard to live up to your high expectations. Nobody will work harder.