Why I'm Voting for Barry Walker
A long time ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away...
... I ran for a School Board. It is not a position to take lightly or to vote for "just anyone".
|You've seen the signs...|
Barry Walker is running a tough, but honest campaign. It's not easy when your main opponent is an incumbent with strong political ties and a tendency to play by his own rules. In fact when I ran against him years ago, he used the Middle School directory to solicit votes. As an attorney and a board member - or even as a parent who can read - he should have known that this was verboten, since a "not for solicitation" clause is printed on all school directories. Misuse discourages families from including their information in the future. As the saying goes, "it's easier to get forgiveness than permission." Maybe I'm jealous? Since I wrote the elementary school's directory and had every single email on my computer, I was tempted to do the same - it would have taken me 5 minutes... the difference is, I didn't.
Barry Walker wouldn't use the directory either. In fact I asked him about this when he invited me for coffee a few weeks ago. I have gotten to know him, and he's what I want in candidate. He's well-versed in the district's issues, and has spent a lot of time volunteering for the PTO. Him, not his wife, him. Why? He's a stay-at-home-Dad and I have a lot of respect for men who chose to stay at home to raise kids. Especially in 08807. Even in 2014, I can count only three men I know who do something that so many still consider "women's work". Think it's because he couldn't work? HA! He's got an BS in physics from Carnegie Melon University and boatloads of work experience. And, before he had kids of his own, he volunteered with youth organizations, including the boy scouts, so he's very kid-oriented. He came out to hear me when I was running for the board and that left a positive impression. Since then, he's continued to be involved in the district in a grass roots way. He attends board meetings, so he knows what he's getting into, and as a parent of a "mainstreamed" kid, he has no agenda with special interest groups and is among the vast majority who make up the middle of the academic spectrum.
Barry will vote his conscious. He won't intimidate other BOE members to vote a certain way. At the last BOE meeting I attended a few months ago, the other candidate pushed members to vote with the majority because it looked better for the board to vote unanimously, even though they disagreed. Board of Ed members represent the community - and as such, they should vote their conscious and vote in a way that represents their constituents.
Barry's pushing for increased STEM teaching and he has a special focus on the sciences. He's wants a better relationship between the board and teachers - which is important, as he would be on the board for the next contract negotiations. Barry is very approachable and welcomed hearing my opinions, even when we disagreed (which we did on a couple of things). I respected that.
It's time for new blood representing me and my family. As I mentioned, the last board of ed meeting I attended was directly hostile (I heard last week's meeting was also rather volatile). I was already rather jaded and felt that many BOE members don't care. Members should want to hear from the community and know how much courage it takes to speak out. Barry Walker understand and will work for families like yours and mine and will listen to you. I encourage my friends to vote for Barry Walker on Tuesday!