Today is Slice of Life Tuesday and since most participants are educators that participate in this posting forum, I thought I would share about my experience of running for a vacant seat on our school board.
We had a school board election last April. An incumbent who served for 20 years lost by 18 votes. Shortly after that, another school board member who was starting the last year of her second term, resigned. She was changing her life path and going back to school. This created a vacant, interim seat for ten months – until the elections of next April (2019).
Shortly after hearing about this, I had a discussion with my husband about applying for the vacant seat. I had long thought about running for a seat on the school board, but never did. I was concerned about the politics and the stress it would create for me. My middle son (he is 18 now) had asked me not to run in the past.
But, times change. And, I believe we need change on our school board. This appointment would let me experience the board without a long-term commitment if the stress was too much or I could not take the politics of such a seat. In addition, my son who had asked me not to run in the past, is graduating this weekend, so he would not be around to bear the brunt of my efforts, if there were, in fact, to be any.
Applications were due by May 8th. Mine was turned in about a week prior to that. It was five pages long, single spaced – typed. Thoroughly, I answered each of the six or seven questions posed to us. If I was to be appointed, I wanted to make sure the board knew who they were getting because I have learned over the course of my life that I cannot be anyone other than who I am and will not pretend to be something or someone else. I heard there were three other applicants for the appointment. Two of the applicants had previously run for an elected seat on the board. One had served a term. The third applicant is the person that lost the elected seat this past April after 20 years of service.
The last step in the process was last night. We had interviews for the seat in an open forum, round robin format. I drew the first spot to start, so I had to make my introductory statements first. I had typed them up to be sure I would make sense and not stumble too much. I knew I would be slightly nervous. That part was actually the worst of the evening. I did stumble a little bit towards the end of my introduction, but after that I surprised myself by being able to think on my feet and answer the questions as they were posed.
In short, the interviews lasted about 30 minutes. Votes were taken. The prior board member with experience was the appointed seat winner. She obtained 3 votes to my 2. A board member was missing for this meeting, unfortunately. But, I had thought this would be the outcome, in any case.
All in all, I am really pleased and proud that I took a chance and “put myself out there”. I was proud of how I presented myself, my thoughts on education, and sharing what I’ve done to make our district a better place. It was a great experience for me, and I believe, for everyone who participated. Most of all, I am proud of the fact that I feel I grew as a person due to this process. We can agree to disagree in our society. Adult discussions are possible. It was somehow reassuring to be a part of the process.
After the meeting, I shook each of the board member’s hands and congratulated the winner of the seat. Two of my very closest friends were there to support me and that touched my heart in ways I do not think they’ll ever know.
Running for an appointed school board seat – it was a good thing.