Letter: Status quo on school board needs to be changed

Dear Editor,

As a parent and concerned community member, I support Brook Willeford for school board. Don’t get me wrong — I like the Racicots. Mark Racicot was one of my most beloved teachers when I was a student in this district, and I trust that Linda Racicot is a skilled and compassionate educator. Nonetheless, a vote for Linda is a vote for business as usual.

As a parent in the district I’ve witnessed the failure of Linda and her fellow board members to hold the administration accountable to the community they purport to serve. A vote for Linda is a vote for a board that has proven time and time again that they value defending the administration over integrating the community’s perspectives and that they value the superficial appearance of progress over the sometimes hard but worthy work of growing a healthy school culture.

What our schools need most is a community-builder. Brook has a lifetime of experience in community leadership, running his beloved family business in Langley, mobilizing volunteer crews, and building connections in the community he loves. When I’ve reached out to Brook to talk about equity and inclusion in our community, he’s said a warm and welcoming “yes.” As a parent, I’m ready to hear “yes” for the important work of coming together in support of our kids. I’m not hearing it from the current board or from Linda Racicot.

I’m concerned that talk of experience in this race will distract us from the very real harm that comes from defending the status quo. Brook may not have direct experience with school board service, but as the husband of a teacher and as the parent of a young child he is motivated to support our district in growing its health and its sustainability. I trust that with his expertise at community-building, Brook will work alongside the sitting board to bring fresh perspectives as part of a skilled leadership team.

What parents in this district need most is a listening ear — a board open to our input, attuned to our concerns, and eager to partner with us in the work of nurturing our children. By providing that listening ear, Brook Willeford can begin the restorative process of connecting our school board to the experiences, needs, and hopes of parents, students, and community members on South Whidbey.

Sincerely,

Marnie Jackson

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