Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Job Well Done

Howard County Board of Education members may not approve of Cindy Vaillancourt, but Howard County voters do. -  - Blair Aimes, HoCo Times (November 5, 2014)

Today will be Cindy Vaillancourt ‘s last meeting as a member of the Board of Education.  Over her years of service she has moved from being a much-maligned voice of dissent on the board into solid leadership. If there were a special gift for the number of times one has been falsely accused she would win it, hands down. Ms.Vaillancourt’s resolve has been tested, and tested again, by people who wanted to get her out of the way and silence her voice. 

To lean a bit biblical here, the fiery furnace was no match for Ms. Vaillancourt. She has shown herself to be to be the embodiment of the now familiar quote:

She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

None of us will ever fully know the extent of the work Ms. Vaillancourt did while on the Board because she was never an aggressive self-promoter. She made few attempts to put herself in the spotlight at public events. She wasn’t in it for that. She was in it to serve the students, parents, faculty and staff of the Howard County Schools.

More than anything else, Ms.Vaillancourt has listened. She listened when no one else would. She used all the methods at her disposal to help when others didn’t even bother to respond. She stood up for special needs parents, children sickened by mold, elementary school music programs, victims of bullying and sexual assault, LGBTQ students, faculty and staff who were being unfairly treated in the workplace, and more. 

She did all this while being the recipient of one false accusation after another. She was often excluded from the inner workings of the Board as a way to circumvent 
her involvement. She never quit.

She never gave up on the people of Howard County who needed her.

In recent years she balanced two open heart surgeries with Board responsibilities. Even when slowed by health issues her priorities have always been responsiveness, transparency, and accountability. Oh, and a deep and respectful sense of human kindness. On good days and bad, that has been Cindy Vaillancourt.

I hear she is looking forward to retirement where she will enjoy being a first-time grandmother and have the time to cook more. She will also now have to ability to speak on local issue as a private citizen.

I am looking forward to that.

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