To the Editor:
Last week I for the Sag Harbor School District Board of Education. Having been I must apologize for those who put their trust in me and deeply thank those who actively supported me. I have been on the BOE for 6 years and am proud to be a part of a group of people who have brought wonderful opportunities to the District. Our detailed Facilities Needs Plan, our Pre-k, and our recent acceptance as an IB school are just three of the wonderful projects in which I participated. I am also proud to be member of the team that supported initiatives to improve the overall financial health of our school district, raised the standards of accountability, and promoted greater transparency to the community.
School Districts always have challenges of one sort or another. Sometimes it's financial efficiency, sometimes union negotiations, sometimes it's looking for a new administrator — it's always something. What helps a BOE member get through some of the tougher issues is acquired knowledge gained through seminars and reading, professional guidance from fantastic administrators, and best practice. Knowing the seven members sitting at the table are willing to search for the right answer. To be able to rely on a fellow member for thoughtful suggestions is a godsend. And to be able to trust a fellow member is divine. If you can trust your fellow members you have no reason to be defensive or scheming, both of which are terribly destructive to the BOE governing process.
For the last year and a half there has been very little trust and no dedication to consensus building but there has been mistrust, scheming, grandstanding, blindsiding, and micromanaging. Suffice it to say after 6 years I no longer have the patience or positive mental attitude and it would be better for someone who does to take my seat. But why did I run?
I ran because I believed, if reelected, those who oppose much of what I believe and have been part of, would realize we all have to work together. We have to find consensus. The BOE went so far as hiring a wonderful facilitator from the NY School Board Association to help us with our internal strife. I'm afraid it was for naught. There was no behavioral change and members still interrupted each other, still prevented the President from leading an orderly meeting and members still spoke so long as to skew anything positive.
I truly hope whoever is elected or appointed to my seat is a facilitator, a moderator and a consensus builder. Someone who has the skills to bring people together to work for the common good. I also hope the remaining members of the BOE read their literature on what a school board should and should not do, and attend more seminars to raise the level of their knowledge.
The big three previously mentioned behavioral problems the BOE must avoid are: grandstanding, blindsiding and micromanaging. If the BOE can refrain from these behaviors the future will be much improved over the last year and a half. If not, well.........we shall continue to lose quality administrators, and the politics of who you know will overtake the policy of best practice, at the expense of our children's education.
With much regret,