Wakefield will bring a new vision to board | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

I am writing to urge my fellow islanders to strongly consider voting in favor of Christina Wakefield for school board.

One of the things that I treasure about living here is that this is a community that cares, passionately, about education. This is precisely why I believe it is time for new blood and new vision at the school board.

I want to be clear that I am not impugning the desires or motives of the current board members. This is a difficult and demanding job with few or any perks. But we look to the board for leadership and vision and the results have been disappointing.

In replacing Wilkes and Blakely, we are in the process of spending $70 million dollars for two elementary schools. Aside from whether we should be building one of the highest-cost-per-student elementary schools in the state, what most concerns me about the board’s oversight is that no one paused to ask if it was wise to purchase buildings that enforce a model of education which will be completely outdated long before the buildings come down, and is likely out of date now. In other words, does it make sense to build extravagantly expensive schools when they lack the flexibility to adapt to better ways of schooling?

In parallel, last year’s budget crisis was largely self-created. The district negotiated a wage increase with the teachers at a time when they also knew that a budget shortfall was coming. The result was fired teachers and district-wide chaos. Whether this was accidental or intentional is almost beside the point — is this the way the largest employer on the island should be operating?

And finally, there is BHS, where an emphasis on “achievement” has resulted in a student body that delivers high grades and test scores but is also thoroughly mired in the national adolescent health crisis; the most recent Healthy Youth Survey reports that 65 percent of our high schoolers do not enjoy being at school and that 20 percent of our high and middle schoolers have contemplated suicide in the past year.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Christina about her ideas and methods, and her energy, commitment, and intelligence give me real hope that these issues can be addressed in the way that they need to be. As a public health veteran who spent years in Africa dealing with issues of economics, education, and adolescent development, Christina brings strategic thinking, sophistication in understanding the intersection of data and real life, and a belief that we can best serve our kids by, as she puts it, “a process of nurturing, inspiring, and shaping human beings to thrive.”

She is a rare combination of expertise and imagination, experience and curiosity, and all of us would be fortunate to have her working for our children.


Bainbridge Island

More in Letters to the Editor

Legacy of Messenger House should continue | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I am a third generation Bainbridge Islander who is… Continue reading

Development rules need to change | Letter to the editor

To the editor Bainbridge Island is arguably one of the most beautiful… Continue reading

Foundation fosters student learning | Letter to the editor

To the editor: As a teacher at Eagle Harbor High School, I… Continue reading

Our politicians deserve our scrutiny | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Embarrassing, as defined, means “causing embarrassment” and synonyms include… Continue reading

Highway 305 bridge is a safety issue | Letter to the editor

To the editor Early in his campaign, Matt Tirman, who had not… Continue reading

Congress has our tax money, so let’s tell them how to spend it | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Kudos to the AARP volunteers helping with people with… Continue reading

Some things never seem to change | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Eighteen years and counting these same traffic issues remain:… Continue reading

Volunteer work won’t cost a penny | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Echoing Dave Shorett’s letter to the Review (April 20),… Continue reading

Foundation grant gets things cooking at Wilkes | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Thank you, BSF! “I’m super lucky,” I thought as… Continue reading

Council, city hall ignore the voters | Letter to the editor

To the editor: How did we get from an overwhelming rejection of… Continue reading

Sakai project ends on the right foot | Letter to the editor

To the editor: The Sakai Shoe Project just reached its successful conclusion… Continue reading

Auction benefits youth fly fishing | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Many of you may not know there is a… Continue reading