Before I get started, let me first say that it was a pleasure to hear from three candidates this evening who interviewed for the board vacancy. They were all smart, intelligent, capable people – well suited for a role in IPS governance. I’d really be fine with any one of them joining the board. That decision will be made tomorrow, and I’m already at peace with that decision, however the votes may go down.
There were four applicants, though. Only three of the four were selected to interview tonight. And in my humble opinion, the one candidate who was cut prior to the interview process was single-handedly the most uniquely qualified person in terms of sheer experience.
Annie Roof, who just ended a four year term on the board, and who served as the board president last year, was the fourth applicant, and she was denied an interview.
We did get emails in support of Annie. Several, in fact. We could have gotten hundreds, but I don’t think it would have mattered… No consideration was given to constituent support demonstrated in the emails, just as no consideration was given to the fact that Annie’s recent board experience would have allowed her to hit the ground running.
Some of you might think that I am advocating for a friend. That this is personal on my behalf. While I do indeed consider Annie a friend now, that friendship was not built with sugar and spice. Annie and I had our share of disagreements in the time we served on the board together. Annie’s IPS voting record speaks to her independent streak – we certainly did not see eye to eye on every issue. I find her ability to respectfully disagree and not hold grudges to be a rare, and refreshing quality. If anything, her independence might have restored some balance to a board that is, at times, divided – without compromising the fact that there is a clear majority.
The meeting tonight in which we interviewed the candidates was sparsely attended. Really, I think there was one single attendee besides the media. Granted, there was a simultaneous meeting regarding teacher pay that probably trumped in order of importance for people who would regularly attend these types of things…but the 2016 election is quickly approaching. Four seats (out of a seven member board) will be up for election in November 2016. If you don’t know the politics of your public school board, now would probably be a good time to start acquainting yourself.
My thoughts are my own and do not reflect those of the IPS board in its entirety or any other organization.
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