The following was a closing speech to close a debate during my campaign for school board in the Westfield Washington School District.
Let me start by admitting: I am not a politician. I’ve never run for any office before in my life, so I can’t say I’ve got the practice of political talk or stump speeches down at all.
What I am is a father of three amazing kids who attend this great district, a husband, a former classroom educator, a soccer coach, a friend, a lifelong learner, and a community member looking to represent my community as a part of the Westfield Washington School Board.
Members of the school board do not write engaging lesson plans, cook or serve nutritious meals, or organize and direct the high school musical. What we can do is work collaboratively with Dr. Grate and the district administration to establish high-level policies, procedures, and guidance that can help ensure these beliefs can become reality for each learner. We can provide both the funds and the oversight to ensure our learners are prepared to become future leaders of this community.
With that in mind, let me tell you a little about what I believe:
I believe that schools should be safe environments filled with caring staff and volunteers who embrace the possibilities to bring out the greatest potential in each student.
I also believe that these safe environments and those relationships with the staff and volunteers are the greatest keys to providing safety and preventing acts of violence from impacting in our schools.
I believe the best lessons should be challenging, engaging, memorable, and foster the desire to learn more long after the lesson ends.
I believe in our amazing teachers who work tirelessly developing our learners to not only challenge themselves each day academically but also to find new ways to bring out the best in themselves.
I believe in fiscal responsibility and using the funds granted to us by the community wisely. I also believe that funding our school and our facilities is an investment, not only in the physical property or materials but also an investment in the learners.
I believe in hard work, honesty, respect, and being the change you want to see in the world. You can’t change the game from the sidelines.
I value preparation and insight. Whether walking into a meeting, working on a project, or making decisions for a school district, I ensure I’ve done my prep work to avoid being unaware or underprepared. I also avoid digging into entrenched, immovable positions which may later be proven completely wrong. Again, I consider myself a constant learner, and the more you learn, the more your outlook can change.
I want to ensure the thoughtful decisions I attach my vote and my name to are based in research, careful consideration of facts, and serving the very best interests of the kids and the community we serve.
My greatest historical hero is Abraham Lincoln. After rising from humble means, he tried and failed at politics and at business several times, before finally succeeding, eventually reaching the highest office in the land. And when he won the presidency, he surrounded himself with his team of rivals to challenge him, and ensure he considered the alternatives. All of it was not to raise his personal glory but in the interest of serving the common good.
I can tell you for certain that I am not running to appease a false sense of grandeur that I alone have the answers to what’s ahead for Westfield. I’m in this campaign because I believe the future is extremely bright for this city and for our kids, and I’d like to share my voice and yours too, to make sure that bright future arrives for our students.
I want to give back as a small token of thanks for all the great gifts I’ve been granted. I believe in the goodness of people of this city and the great potential for all the future leaders within it. I hope that with your vote, we can make the most of the opportunities both now and those ahead.