Updated: March 1, 2013 6:15AM
Time for change at East
I love East Aurora. I love our neighbors, the restaurants, the stores and the wonderful sense of community here on the East Side. I moved to East Aurora because I fell in love with both its present beauty and its potential.
When I see the negative attention that our school district has drawn over the past few months, I worry for the future of East Aurora and its residents. And when I see the current condition of District 131 — from financial irregularities to ill-advised regulations to improper behavior to a revolving door of staff and leaders at the central office — I know this district is at a crossroads. I believe it’s time for change in our district, starting at the top — which is why I’ve decided to run for the East Aurora School Board.
I spend a lot of time talking to teachers, students and parents, and the overwhelming sense I perceive is that questionable leadership and misguided practices have led to feelings of defeat and hopelessness for our children. It all boils down to leadership. For too long in East Aurora, we’ve accepted nominal leadership, even at the highest levels. We need a superintendent and a Board of Education that are motivated to produce the best results, including empowering our educational staff to achieve goals of academic excellence.
We need leaders who challenge the status quo and who know how to motivate, drive and inspire others toward a common vision. We need leadership that elicits trust; acts with complete transparency, accountability and integrity; and knows how to attract and retain the best educators.
As an East Aurora resident who cares deeply about the next generation’s education, I believe it’s time to elect a new Board of Education. The next school board faces uphill challenges, but I believe that the decisions the next board makes will affect the trajectory of our children’s education for years to come.
Lack of respect
Reciprocating respect is a key component of good leadership. The level of respect given will be commensurate to the level you receive back and could determine how those looking up to you will perform their duties.
December 6, 2012, gave our community a rare glimpse into the personal thoughts of the School Board president of District 131.
I shared a small window of my past while highlighting the perseverance and strong work ethic of my 64-year-old mother with Annette Johnson, the School Board president. My mother at her advanced age arose every morning by the grace of God and rode the Pace bus to Elgin State Hospital for a little more than minimum wage until her death.
To have her memory degraded to the level of a freeloader is unacceptable in my circle. I have to describe this instance as utter contempt for my mother and others who find themselves in similar circumstances. How does that contempt translate to the students of District 131 and their parents today?
Eight out of 10 families in D131 are considered low income according to the District Report Card. Therefore each of those families qualifies for free or reduced lunch among other things associated with poverty. I am well aware of the burdens put on the homeowners of D131. I have purchased two homes in the district since 1992. I have accepted that the revenue streams are extremely limited but I have not become bitter. As managers of those limited funds we must not be resentful towards those less fortunate.
The district administration has been referred to as untrustworthy by some board members. If this is accurate the Board of Education should look squarely in the mirror and stop pointing fingers because it’s true that the apple does not fall far from the tree.
East Aurora School Board
East Aurora challenges
I am proud to live in East Aurora. My kids love going to school in East Aurora. My husband is a dedicated 3rd grade teacher in the district. My church has partnered with East Aurora schools for the past decade to provide tutors and mentors and community events and fundraisers to help support District 131’s efforts to educate all children.
I have worked directly with students, parents, teachers, and administrators throughout the district to implement programs and provide opportunities for East Aurora children and parents.
Through all of this, I have seen both the strengths and challenges facing our school district. I am running for the Board of Education so that I can help promote and strengthen the assets of our district — such as committed and passionate educators; students who excel despite life challenges; and parents who want to contribute and be involved, but just aren’t sure how.
I am also running for the Board of Education so that I can work to address some of the challenges, such as:
The negative and toxic image of our district.
Limited resources and fiscal mismanagement.
Low test scores and graduation rates.
Exceptionally low teacher and staff morale.
Families who need support in acclimating to English and the American school system.
Lack of a clear, positive vision and the professional leadership needed to propel our district.
I am committed to partner with the students, parents, residents and staff of District 131 to work for progress and excellence. I am running for the Board of Education to help build a positive place for all to live and learn.
After watching the inauguration ceremonies, one could conclude from hearing all the prayers and invocations, that ours is a Christian nation. But I wonder, can we expect God to answer any of our prayers while we destroy His beautiful creations by the hundreds in our abortion mills. I think not.
Blankets for Hesed
The Sugar Grove United Methodist Youth Fellowship collected more than 50 blankets (in a service project.) Thank you to our church and community for responding in such a generous way.
Blankets were left on the church steps with notes attached, in addition to being brought on Sunday morning. The blankets were blessed during both worship services by Pastor Vickie Hadaway on Jan. 20, and then delivered to Hesed House in Aurora, which serves homeless persons in our area.
This service project came about when youth volunteered at Hesed House last fall and saw blankets were needed.