Two distinct messages were conveyed over the past month. Those supporting Mr. McMillan were primarily concerned about the direction of our schools.Those supporting Mr. Harris were concerned about appearances, personalities and the "face of the board."
I can assure you it was a difficult decision. I did not want the Chairperson to be about power, personalities, politics, and pennies--actually millions of dollars. It needed to be about our children, our community and the careers of those who work for Knox County Schools.
The decision for Chairman of the Board needed to be about the immediate and far reaching future of our schools and community--the health of an entire community that has been devastated and divided.
The word unity was used a lot by people I talked with, in the media, even in discussions on the Board. It has been said, the Board needed a chair that "would unify the board." Personally, I don't believe the board needs unity--where everyone thinks alike and votes in unison. Instead, the Board needs harmony--harmony that includes real dialogue, honest discussions, transparency and a consensus.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, this vote was about who would "be the face of public education for Knox County." My vote was not about that--my vote was about checks and balances. As the Metro Pulse stated: "The executive committee decides the agenda for the school board meeting. Control of the meeting usually begins with control of the agenda." That is checks and balances. Our problems in public education--in our county, state and country--go much deeper. As a teacher, I know the problems are serious and must be addressed for the success and well being of our children, the future of our country, and public education as we know it.
I have so much respect for Mr. Harris. We share a lot of common beliefs--most notably our faith. He is an amazing man who is transforming the world and our community with his dedication, resources, and influence. Mr. McMillan has been steady and stayed the course. He has shown courage by being the lone vote on most of the issues that have come before the Board. (It is interesting that the diverse group of teachers from across Knox County that contacted me strongly supported Mike McMillan.)
Another year and my vote might have been different. I did not take this vote lightly. I have attended nearly every school board meeting since January--and several of the commission meetings as well--to be as informed as possible in making a decision like this one.
I will always have a heart for children and teachers. My vote was from a teacher's heart with children being first, teachers second, and the Board last. Now, let's move forward in harmony.