If you are able to support our efforts in any or all of the above ways, please let me know as soon as possible by calling me at 803-212-5247 or emailing me at MelissaColefor
Over the course of my lifetime I have seen this district from every vantage point. I was a student, a teacher and an administrator. I am a parent, a taxpayer and a business professional working in the private sector right here in our own backyard.
In all of these roles, I have seen the absolute best that this district has to offer: bright students, dedicated teachers, involved parents and supportive community members. Unfortunately, I have also seen the worst. This is why I decided to offer myself for the position of District Five School Board Trustee.
For as long as I can remember in my adult life, our district has been mired down in division, dysfunction and discord. Quite frankly, we have an absolute mess on our hands. I knew it was bad before jumping into this race. That is one of the reasons I am here – to try to help.
But I did not know it was THIS bad.
Over the course of the past several weeks, we have seen board members or their direct surrogates calling on the boycotting of local businesses supporting candidates other than their own. We have seen adults promoting hate-filled, threatening statements and rhetoric online that our kids in schools would be disciplined for initiating or participating in.
At recent forums, board candidates have been asked what can be done about bullying and cyber-bullying in our schools. Is the irony of that lost on anyone?
If you are listening in certain circles, you have heard talk of the “good guys” and the “dark side.” You have heard board members convey that anyone not in lock step with them is against them. You have heard them say they will continue to fight against the “tyrannical” rule of those who disagree with them on some issues.
I have to ask: How is that working for us?
I have nothing personal against my opponent in this race. I have nothing personal against any member of our board. I commend Mr. Gantt for his twelve years of service and I am appreciative for all that he has tried to do for our district.
But the fact of the matter is – not one board member has been effective in moving us past the gridlock and moving us forward for the sake of our children, our teachers, our schools and our community.
I believe I can help us do this. Here’s how:
1. I can assure you – unless I am transported in a time machine back to the 1770’s – I will not fight against the “tyrannical” rule. In fact, I am not going to fight against anyone or anything. Rather, I am going to put aside personal feelings, reject petty politics and relentlessly advocate for students, teachers, parents and taxpayers.
Theirs is the only side I am on. Always.
2. I will demonstrate respect for ALL members of the community, including those who express dissenting views. All stakeholders who take the time to deliberate on our community’s future should be heard and appreciated for their commitment to the collective purpose we all share.
3. I will renew our commitment to the classroom. No one is well-served when our leadership is too narrowly focused on building new facilities. We need to be focused on growing and developing all students to their fullest potential while empowering and supporting teachers in doing the most important work of the district.
4. I will implement financial and accountability reforms to ensure funds are being used as efficiently as possible and resources are directed where they are needed most.
5. I will promote openness and transparency within our system. When governmental bodies operate in full public view, their decisions are most likely to be in the community’s best interest. The people of District Five deserve access to public information. And when their elected officials make a decision they deserve to not only know what but why.
6. I will continually strive for better schools. We must build upon our strengths, but should not be afraid to address areas in which improvement is needed.
As is the case with any election, you have a choice. That is what it is all about in this great country of ours. Do you want to continue as we are or do you think it is time for a fresh start and different approach? Do you want to merely maintain what we do well or do you want to identify and address areas in which we are weak? Are you satisfied with what has been or do you want to explore what could be?
If you are like me, and you believe we can be better than we currently are, if you believe it is past time for us to refocus on what really matters for our students, teachers, parents and taxpayers, then I would be truly honored to have your support.
Don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.