Sunday, July 03, 2005

For some things I'm glad

Two years ago, I was a finalist for an appointment to the Portsmouth School Board. During the process, I was about as transparent as a person could be. Back then,
I said that I would not be a part of the Board unless

(1) the Board and leadership team has and lives by shared values,

(2) the Board and leadership team has and works toward a shared purpose, and

(3) the Board and leadership team actually values differences and uses them as a strength.
One of the very interesting aspects of my pursuit of the seat on the board was an informal get-together I had with Pete Kloeppel and Jean Shackelford . We met at Pete's house over at Swimming Point and chatted for half-an-hour or so. They indicated they were looking for someone who thought like they did. What I heard was they wanted someone who'd vote with the white board members.

Fast forward to this past week.
In a 5-4 vote, Byron P. "Pete" Kloeppel defeated incumbent James E. Bridgeford, to become the chairman of the School Board on Friday morning. Kloeppel, who is white, received the votes of all the white members. Bridgeford, who is black, received support from the black members.

After taking the gavel, Kloeppel promised to work on improving the relationship between his colleagues.

"I'll do the best I can to make sure all of us get along," said Kloeppel, who has been on the School Board since 1995.

But some board members accused Kloeppel of widening the divide over the years.
In a 7-2 vote, Jean H. Shackelford was elected vice chairwoman.

The cynic in me says the divisiveness I saw two years ago is likely to continue.

I am very glad they didn't select me to serve on the Board.

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