It’s been a long time coming, but our board has announced the sole finalist for superintendent. Please help welcome Dr. Thomas Tucker into our school district and our community!
Dr. Tucker is the superintendent of the Princeton City School District in Ohio and has been named national superintendent of the year. Twice. He’s been a teacher, principal, and director of curriculum. He’s passed a bond and levy and understands how important properly funding public education is to the lives of our kids. Perhaps most importantly, he describes himself as a teacher first.
As Douglas County educators, we’ve been through a lot over the past nine years. We fought a politically motivated school board that selfishly severed the 50-year collaborative relationship with its educators and their union—one that fostered a once small rural school system into a large nationally recognized destination district. All to the detriment of our students’ education and learning environment. Despite the reformers best efforts, the DCF never stopped representing our members and working for what is best for students.
We fought an illegal push to take public school tax dollars and give them away to private institutions. We saw the squandering of district resources and incompetent management of our district’s budget. We suffered through the replacement of effective union-built, evidence-based, employee-led professional development with training centered around a flawed evaluation system. We railed as the district valued children differently by telling parents that they were going to pay the elementary art teacher more than the 4th grade teacher, but not as much as the 1st grade teacher.
But the Douglas County Federation organized. Beginning in 2009, we educated each other and our colleagues, then we reached out to the community to warn them of what was looming. We made calls, held meetings, and knocked on doors. We talked to our neighbors and friends and made sure they knew not only who to vote for, but what was at stake for our kids and community. Even though we worked hard, we lost three consecutive elections, but finally, in 2015 we won every seat in the school board election and then we swept the 2017 board races. Douglas County Federation members never quit organizing! Now, with the new school board comes a new direction, a new superintendent, and a new challenge—to all of us.
What we know is that it is easy to tear something down, but takes immense work to build up something of value. So, now we get to work. Superintendent Tucker and our volunteer school board can’t do it alone. In fact, the rebuilding of our students’ education system is wholly dependent on our ability to once again work collaboratively with district leadership.
Each of us has the responsibility—even after the struggle we’ve experienced—to work harder than ever to improve the lives of our students and our profession. That begins in our schools and in our classrooms. It means volunteering to work on committees to improve what’s been short changed for so many years. It means speaking up at board meetings and with building administration to voice your concerns about what we know needs improving. It means being more engaged and moving past the fear we’ve felt for far too long.
Please join me in welcoming Superintendent Tucker to our great district. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I’m sure that he will appreciate knowing that he has DCF members eager to stand beside him. We’ve weathered the storm–thank you to all of you who have stayed and fought for our students; and thank you to those who have joined us. Now we MUST use the new rays of the rising sun to grow something bountiful.
This work starts by showing up to our general membership meeting on Thursday, and by actively working towards increased school funding–there is something you can do now! We’ll see you at the meeting.