As of this month I’m doing something new: running for political office.
It’s a very small office, and a hyper-local one. I’m seeking election to a new school board for our county. The policy and politics mean a great deal to me, and I’d like to increase my involvement in local education, alongside all of my national and international work.
Here’s the story.
My town, Ripton, is one of seven that share a common school district, the Addison County Supervisory Union (ACSU). Each town has its own school board, which oversees their elementary schools. Another board surveys our unified middle and high schools. Yet another board stands above all. I’ve been on my town’s board for several years, and also served on that ACSU-wide mega-board.
This year the state of Vermont issued a new law, Act 46, which encourages (and also forces) districts like ours to collapse that multiplicity of boards into one. Our towns are going to vote on that unification strategy on March 1st. If we agree, the ACSU becomes the ACSD, the Addison County Supervisory District.
Also on March 1st we will vote for a new school board, assuming Act 46 passes. I’d like to be on that board.
To support my campaign, I started up some online work. I built a little, simple website and added a Facebook page, blogged about one key policy issue, kicked off a discussion on that topic over on Reddit, then posted about the campaign on the local FrontPorchForum. In person I’ve gone around the district pressing the flesh, asking everyone to vote for me. I’ve solicited endorsements. Later today there’s a candidates forum, which I’m looking forward to.
Hopefully the next ten days will see a good debate about policies and concepts for the ACSU/ACSD. I’ve shared my thoughts (demographics, technology, student agency, community-based schools, democracy) here.
It’s exciting to connect my professional work to this handful of towns, to link the future of education as a whole to the very, very immediate problems facing nine small schools. It’s a terrific learning opportunity – I’ve learned a lot by serving on the Ripton and ACSU boards, but now unification forces us to work even more closely with other towns and schools
I’ll blog further about this process. Wish me luck.