Last night, three Oklahoma City School Board members ended their terms in office, and three new folks stepped in. District 1 Board Member Lyn Watson gave this parting speech. She outlined the successes that came to pass during her four years in office, and she challenged the board to keep pushing for a better school district. Very interesting.
First I have many people to thank:
Foremost God: to him be the glory, for it was his wisdom, strength and love that called me to run for this position. This board was never on my radar until God directed my focus in 2006 to the children of this district that did not have a voice. I was called for such a time as this.
My family: Brad, Emily and Ben who sacrificed time, family meals and events so that I could serve a larger population of 43 thousand students of our great city. They believe as I do, that every child deserves a voice and I thank them for letting me be that voice for others.
My friends and prayer warriors: who graciously carpooled my children to Klife on Monday nights, supported me and decisions made when tough issues came to our board, prayed unceasingly, and surrounded me and my family during life changing events over the last 4 years.
My constituents of District 1: thank you for calling me regularly so I would be “in the know”, being proactive with educational issues and trusting me with decisions that affect your children and the future of this city.
There are many areas of success that I must highlight from my term in office:
- Streamlining our high school curriculum with ACT/America’s Choice. Truly a move that was student centric as our district’s mobility rate is 30%
- Implementing Great Expectations district wide at the elementary school level
- Creation and implementation of a strategic plan
- Banning pop tarts and hopefully chocolate milk is next
- Creation of academies in our high schools
- Teach for America
- Passage of the John W. Rex charter elementary school in downtown okc
- New Evaluation system from the Studer group that will provide continuity when we experience change in leadership
- Fields & Futures – giving our athletes encouragement and the ability to compete
Now I would like to put forth several challenges or encouragements:
- I encourage the administration to work as a team, to eliminate any divide between our schools and “downtown”, to eliminate any “fear” and to truly be people focused. I encourage you to be proactive, to follow up and follow through with every internal and external customer and conversation. I encourage you to execute effectively and efficiently with corporate partnerships and realize that the Foundation of Oklahoma City Public Schools is our partner and engage them in the day-to-day conversation. I encourage our principals to get creative with their buildings: host community events, invite neighbors to be mentors and be the center of our neighborhoods. Reach out and engage! I encourage the administration to assign a staff person to work and support our charter schools, they are responsible for educating our kids too!
- I challenge the union to walk the talk. If your “blue print” is student focused, then I encourage you to institute real change and help get ineffective teachers out of the classroom and take this burden off the administration.
- I encourage the teachers of this district to continue to love and inspire your students! We all have a story of a teacher that changed our life. I thank you for being “that” teacher!
- I encourage the parents of this district to be the voice of your child and train them in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not turn from it.
- I encourage this board to engage the community as a whole. I encourage you to work together with respect and civility; be a model for our students and administrators. Lastly, I encourage this board to put prayer back in our board meetings. If we cannot pray for the success of our students and district, then how can we expect others to cover our district in prayer? Be bold and pray fervently; for it was the church that created our education system and it will take the boldness of this board to continue this legacy.
I truly feel blessed to have served on this board and am encouraged by it’s direction! I do not know where God will have me serve next, but I am certain that when it’s time, I will be obedient to his call!
Congratulations to Bob Hammock, Justin Ellis and Lynne Hardin. I am thrilled to welcome Bob (another 3 letter name) to take my seat! May he continue to shine God’s light on this board and District 1.