BY DR. SHAWN RYAN
Superintendent of Schools
In a typical school year, November is one of our quietest months. Students and staff are settled into predictable classroom routines, sports seasons are wrapping up or just beginning, the days are shorter, and there is a calm in knowing that the holidays are right around the corner. As you may have guessed, this November feels a bit different.
I want to acknowledge that these have been difficult times for our collective community – we are worried about our own health or the health of our loved ones, confronting economic insecurity, working full time with children learning at home, or simply just doing our best to get by. I feel this viscerally. Our lives have changed so dramatically in a matter of months, and things continue to change. Still, November is a month of gratitude! So thank you — students, parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders, and neighbors — for continuing to do your part for Clarkston's kids. Your creativity and commitment to our children is nothing short of astounding, and I am proud to be part of such a great community.
There is another group that is deserving of recognition and appreciation: seven community members who have worked quietly behind the scenes to ensure that Clarkston students keep learning. The dedication displayed by the Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education during the past several months is profound and inspiring to me as a school leader.
President Kelli Horst, Vice President Greg Need, Secretary Steve Hyer, Treasurer Elizabeth Egan and trustees Andrea Catalina, Stefanie Crane, and Cheryl McGinnis have greeted the many changes and decisions that have had to be made in a swift manner with a flexible, collaborative approach to district leadership. As the pandemic unfolded, the board's immediate concern, beyond that of the safety and well being of our students and staff, was that every student would have equitable opportunities for learning with all of the tools and resources necessary during this time. This included the approval of our district's 1:1 technology program that now provides every learner in Clarkston with the use of a personal device at school and home.
It is never easy to decide matters that profoundly and directly affect an entire learning community. Making those decisions in a time of crisis only makes those decisions harder.
And yet, our Board of Education shows up time and time again to serve our school community in ways big and small. To our good fortune, three board members recently sought re-election upon the expiration of their terms this year. Kelli Horst, Steve Hyer, and Elizabeth Egan ran unopposed and, amidst the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic, recommitted to serving Clarkston Community Schools for 6 more years. Now that's what I call leadership.
Much can be said about the role of a school board, from policy making to goal setting, curriculum and budget review. But in Clarkston, that role extends well beyond these things because seven people just like you — moms, dads, educators, professionals, community leaders, and neighbors — said "yes" to giving of themselves for the benefit of our children.
Read more: Clarkston School Board Navigating Uncharted Waters (By Matt Mackinder, The Clarkston News)
About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have a virtual academy, an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.
Read more Clarkston Community Schools News at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/news.
Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.