2020 Will Bring a Considerable Amount

The Permanence of Change
Posted on 12/16/2019
Image of David JamesThe only constant in life is change. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that around 2500 years ago. Yes, 500 BC.

I bring this issue up because, as we close another calendar year and reflect -- as we often do this time of year -- I find myself thinking about the upcoming changes in leadership within the Akron Board of Education. Following last month's election, we find ourselves saying goodbye to four of our seven board members.

Reverend Dr. Curtis T. Walker, Sr., Tim Miller, Ginger Baylor and Morgan Lasher were given a thoughtful send-off at our last board meeting of this year on December 9. Collectively, they carry with them about 40 years of board experience with Akron Public Schools. Board President Reverend Walker has 20 years of leadership with our board and has decided, after five terms, that he is not seeking another term. Board Vice President Tim Miller and recent board appointee Morgan Lasher were not re-elected, and Ginger Baylor was elected to another position and will serve on Akron City Council.

We have been blessed at Akron Public Schools to have a strong group of leaders on our board, including Lisa Mansfield, Patrick Bravo and Bruce Alexander, who will continue their elected terms in office as we head into 2020. We welcome new members Valerie McKitrick, Derrick Hall and N.J. Akbar, Ph.D. The board will also be officially appointing one more person who will replace Ginger Baylor.

(View board member recognitions at: Akron School Board meetings. You will find the recognition segment at 22:32 minutes into the December 9 board meeting video.)

Change is good, but -- in a business where we are asked to comply with state and federal rules and regulations and changes in policy that are often based upon political whims and/or philosophies -- there is sometimes comfort in anything that rings of stability. And our board, for the last two years, has benefited from the stability of a group of people who carry with them a wealth of experience and a true passion for serving, especially serving children and families.

Tim Miller said, upon receiving his recognition from Rev. Walker, "Akron Public Schools has been around for about 170 years and will likely be here 170 years from now. The seats (at the board table) always change and always change for the better."

Mr. Miller's words were comforting to many. Those of us who are in the administration of this school district are grateful when our board is made up of folks who support us but who also worthily challenge us, question us and see things we may not be seeing. The board we have worked with the last two years has been thoughtful, inventive, ambitious and always has its eyes on what is best for our students and their families.

Rev. Walker said in his parting remarks, "This is often a thankless job." Many of you reading this -- in fact, most of you -- may have thankless jobs. It is often the nature of work that we toil at many things for what seemingly is little reward. But, we have to find the rewards -- each of us -- within ourselves and not from others. That is what makes a strong board member -- someone who can face criticism and often unwarranted, public ridicule. There are few among us who are not only willing to face that but are not prepared to deal with how that can affect their families. We have respect for anyone who ventures into the arena, as it were, to do good work in the face of criticism.

I am excited to begin my work now with our new board members joining the APS team. We have much to do, many challenges ahead, and some very exciting projects that will challenge and test each of us to do our best.

In the meantime, and until we meet again in the new year, may you and your family have a wonderful, peaceful holiday. As you know, our district is among the most diverse in Ohio. Our students and their families speak nearly 50 languages and bring a richness of culture to each of our 47 schools. Allow me to wish you Happy Holidays in just a few of those languages.

Language Left or Right Presentation
Nepali  मेरी क्रिसमसको शुभकामना
Karen  Image of Karen "Happy Holidays"
Vietnamese   Mừng Chúa Giáng Sinh
Arabic 

 عيد ميلاد مجيد

Farsi 

 کرسمس مبارک

Pashto 

 کرسمس مو نېکمرغه

Spanish   Feliz Navidad
Swahili   Nakutakia Krismasi Njema
French   Joyeux Noël
Hmong   Zoo Siab Hnub Yug Yexus
Chinese   Image of Chinese "Happy Holidays"
Bosnian   Image of Bosnian "Happy Holidays"

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