I attended the kick-off event for Kirsten Coombs last night at Historic Oakland. She's running for a seat on the Howard County Board of Education.
I've known Kirsten for a while now, as a friend in the blogging community, and through her work on Tom Coale's campaign. I've watched as her involvement in her daughter's education grew beyond an interest in just one school. I've seen her willingness to donate her time and talents as an accountant to serve on the school system's Citizen Review Board to analyze the budget. I've had conversations with her about the great things that are happening in our schools.
Last night when Kirsten came forward to speak, it was clear that she was doing something right. In choosing to run for the Board of Education she is connecting with her desire to serve the community and her deep love of education. There couldn't be a better match. She brings to her candidacy her experiences in school and community volunteering, her professional skills as an accountant, her day-to-day life as the parent of a child in school, her thoughtfulness, and her desire to listen and learn from the community.
Oh, and a terrific sense of humor. I think that could be extremely useful.
It's a huge risk to put oneself out there for public scrutiny. And it's a massive undertaking to run for public office. I congratulate Kirsten for listening to that inner voice that urged her to run and making it more than just a passing thought. She's willing to listen, learn, think, solve problems, get things accomplished.
All of this will serve her well as a candidate. More than that, these are qualities I want to see in any Board member I choose to vote for. You can learn more about Kirsten here, and follow her campaign on Facebook as well.
This election may feel far away, but the need for leadership on the Board of Education is something we all need to start thinking about right now.