Our family moved to Hastings 11 years ago, just before our older son started kindergarten at Hillside. In September, he will be a junior at Hastings High School, and his brother will be in seventh grade at Farragut Middle School.
I’ve tried my best to be involved in the schools. I served on the PTSA Executive Board for four years, and I’ve spent several more as a grade-level liaison. I’m a member of the PTSA’s Inclusion Working Group, and I’m co-president of the Theater Booster Club. I was a class parent the 10 times it was possible (I’ve joked I could’ve gone pro).
All this is to say, I know the schools about as well as a parent can, and after watching five superintendents, three Hillside principals, two FMS principals, one HHS principal, and about 10 assistant principals, I honestly believe the district is now on the right path. Dr. Szymanski is bringing much-needed organization and alignment to the curriculum, and in his first year as superintendent, Dr. McKersie has shown himself to be the involved, steady, thoughtful, communicative leader that our district needs.
It deeply saddens me that our community voted “no” on the budget. At just the moment when we want to retain our leadership and show our teachers and staff how much we appreciate them, we failed to demonstrate our support.
With dedication and grace, the administrators (including the incomparable Maureen Caraballo), came back with a second budget that, I hope, answers the concerns of many who voted “no.” We now have a chance not only to spare our district the disastrous cuts of a contingent budget, but also to show our teachers, administrators, and staff how much we believe in the work they are doing to help our district rise to its phenomenal potential.
I hope we come out in droves to vote “yes.” This is our opportunity — let’s tell our new superintendent we want him to stay. Let’s tell our administrators and building leaders that we are grateful for the many nights and weekends they’ve put in. Let’s tell our teachers and staff we see all the ways that in recent years they’ve gone far above and beyond their job descriptions. And let’s tell our children we want them to be in an environment where they can learn, grow, and thrive. Vote “yes” on June 21.