Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Three new board of education members have been sworn in out on Route 108. Three qualified, experienced, motivated members. Three highly-informed, well-prepared members.

Three women.

I noticed something interesting happen as the evening's events unfolded. No sooner than Kirsten Coombs, Christina Delmont-Small, and Mavis Ellis were sworn in, a community member stepped up to the microphone during Public Forum to admonish them about what they must not do. They hadn't even done anything yet--other than win the election, that is--but a concerned citizen earnestly put forth suggestions about what they shouldn't do.

Well, these three ran with the intent to listen to constituents. And listen they did. In fact, there was even a second Public Forum at the end of the meeting. And the current President of PTACHC  held forth on how the new board should comport itself.

Welcome to public service.

At midday yesterday I noticed an open letter to the new Board Members from a former  BOE member, urging them to set certain priorities as they proceed.

In less than twenty four hours three separate individual had come forward to admonish our new Board of Education members.

Three men.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that these are bad men or men with ill intent. I am saying that there does seem to be "a thing" in our society where perfectly capable women are not permitted to step into positions of power without having some nice fellows 'tell it to them straight'. I am weary of this. 

For this and many other reasons I am grateful to sit in the audience and not on the dais.

I was refreshed by the postings of two other men whose statements about last night were delightfully free of admonishment. Bill Woodcock's blog post on The 53, and this, from former candidate Robert Miller:

Last night’s board meeting made me even more encouraged about our new Board of Education. New members Kirsten Coombs, Christina Delmont-Small, and Mavis Ellis demonstrated competence, insight, and passion, and Chair Cindy Vaillancourt and Vice-Chair Bess Altwerger exhibited their experience, acumen, 
and knowledge. Watching this new era dawn was like a load being lifted off of our collective shoulders, and sparked a new excitement for what could be accomplished in HCPSS. Personally, I continue to be very impressed with all of these people, and I look forward to their accomplishments on the new board. Please count me among the many willing to assist when possible and appropriate. Some people feel that “all change is good”, but I disagree; I feel that “good change is good”, and I am very optimistic that we are witnessing “good change”. Congratulations to the members of the new board, to our residents who helped to bring about “good change”, and to the stakeholders who will be positively affected.

Reading that went a long way towards assuaging my admonishment fatigue. 

As I said on Tuesday, the community's work is not done here, and the Board wants and needs our input. But to every thing there is a season. Maybe, just maybe, we can allow three articulate, successful women to assume roles of leadership with the community's support and goodwill. 

Let's start from there.

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