Last Friday I had a chance to sit down and have lunch with Wendy Jane Royalty, who is a candidate for County Council in District 1. This is the seat held at present by Courtney Watson, who is a candidate for County Executive. Wendy and I had been introduced by a mutual friend who thought we might have some things in common.
Well, we did. Plenty, as it turns out. But I want to focus on one thing in particular, as it is near and dear to my heart: education.
Wendy and I share a deep respect for teachers, and concerns about low morale in our schools amongst our education professionals. Perhaps it is her background as a community activist, her training as a social worker, or her first-hand experience in schools as a parent. At any rate, she sees teachers and parents as partners in the ongoing process of educating our children and lifting our community up.
We discussed fair and positive treatment for teachers, the voice of teachers and parents in school reform, the complex needs of students as human beings, and the need for a dynamic Board of Education that sees an obligation to stakeholders.
Partnership and advocacy mean a lot to me. I want to see people in public service who are leading for the right reasons. Politics isn't a game of upmanship to me; it really should be about helping people. Ms. Royalty is the kind of person who places value on interactions with people--she's focused, listening, thinking. Ready to put it all together and do something.
Anyone who has worked in community activism knows the feeling when you meet someone who combines the right amount of enthusiasm, commitment, and determination. If you walk away from that meeting thinking of projects on which you could collaborate, it means something. It is the potential of working together for positive good.
I'm looking for candidates in all of our local races who support the whole picture of education, and most especially teachers, parents, and students. We can say all we want that "these issues are handled by the Board of Education." That's not enough. We all need to be committed to making our schools a positive and equitable environment.
Now, I don't live in District 1. Perhaps you don't either. But we all stand to win if we support responsive, collaborative candidates.
Give it some thought.