Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Rocco Gianni is the right candidate for Position 5

Editor,

In the South Whidbey School Board race between Betty Bond and Rocco Gianni there is an attribute consistently addressed, but never named.

While Betty Bond has decorum and professional insight, Rocco Gianni would approach the board with passion. After 30 years of professional life in the district, Rocco would bring his accumulated sense of education here to the board. And this is seen by some as a threat.

I am unaware of professional complaints over 30 years where Mr. Gianni was seen as a threat to individuals he worked with. To the contrary, he is held in awe as a motivational model of a teacher.

I have struggled for several years to understand the roles of the school board and superintendent. Somehow the two seem intertwined to an extent that their roles seem similar. But no, the superintendent is a highly trained and experienced doctor who has mastered the tools of education. The school board, in fact, represents the patient — the group that hires the doctor to draw on this wisdom in hopes of achieving the best outcome.

It used to be polite to be reserved in a doctor’s presence as the “doctor knows best.” Time has taught us we need to be our own advocate, to be verbal and to ask questions for the doctor to truly help.

Likewise, the school board is not functional as an exercise in behavior, in group norms or deference to authority. Yet the promoters of Betty Bond emphasize these qualities. Is the destiny and health of this district, of this patient to be the primary concern? Or are we hoping for harmony above all, even in the absence of the insight a 30-year veteran of the district carries?

We need to ask ourselves whether we support the interests of the children, or of the adults who prefer not to deal with questions or controversy. Much too often these interests are in conflict and compete in our schools.

Were Rocco Gianni truly to be a disruptive presence on the board, he is easily outvoted by the other four members. And remember that the current board chair, Steve Scoles, was nothing if not disruptive and out of step with the previous board.

Having opinions is not a bad thing. Let’s not make passion a reason for disqualification.

GEORGE RUSCH

Clinton

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