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Avon Grove School Board candidate pledges to put students first

10/29/2013 08:38PM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print, Opinion



Letter to the Editor:

On Nov. 5, voters in the Avon Grove School District will choose four members of the Board of School Directors. I am running for one of two open seats in Region 1, representing Franklin and London Britain townships. I want share with the Avon Grove community why I'm running and why I think this election is critical.

My wife and I have two children in Avon Grove schools. We deliberately moved to this district because of the schools, and we intend to stay for the schools and for the great friends we have made here. I am running for school board because I worry about the future of my children and yours. The world they will enter upon graduation is vastly different from the one we experienced. Post-graduation choices are more expensive, more confusing and may not lead to the success they envision. The quality of education our kids receive at Avon Grove will largely determine their career and college opportunities after graduation.

I have been an active participant in our kids' schools for ten years because I saw the difference that a deep commitment to education by parents can make, not because I had a ton of free time. Despite Avon Grove's success, there are still too many kids who who fall behind or give up on school, too many kids who begin first grade in September and are already struggling by winter break, and too many kids with extraordinary academic and artistic talent but with few opportunities to explore and expand their potential. I'm very concerned that sports, the arts and computer programming are considered "extracurricular" and not integral to a high-quality education.

I'm running for school board because I worry that all the great progress our school district has made in the last ten years could be reversed with just a few years of misguided leadership by a close-minded and short-sighted school board. We already have four members who have been vocal about unions and "local control." Those aren't our big issues. Our big issues are how to find and develop great teachers, how to intervene early and effectively so that at-risk students don't fall behind, how to enlarge and improve the curriculum without adding unnecessary administration, how to break down barriers and create a truly collaborative working environment, how to most cost-effectively fund a long list of capital projects so our kids have safe and clean schools. If the school board gets side-tracked by board members trying to support a political platform instead of kids, we will all suffer. If our schools decline because more teachers and programs are cut, our property values will decline and our community will eventually lose its vitality.

I am extremely passionate about the importance of education. I have spent countless hours studying the issues relevant to Avon Grove, digging into the research, finding out why some schools work and others don't, and talking with business leaders about how to improve education. I bring a wide set of skills and a very broad perspective.

The Avon Grove school district is an extremely valuable asset in which we have all contributed social and economic capital. Our investment requires responsible stewardship grounded in professionalism, expertise and commitment.

For the past two years, I've watched the school board grow more fractured, gridlocked and unable to act on important issues. By words and actions, the new board members have shown a lack of commitment and awareness that is troubling. I pledge to lead by example, bring an open mind to all issues, help build stronger ties to the community and always keep students first and foremost in my decisions.  

If you live in Franklin or London Britain townships, please vote for me on Nov. 5. I will do everything I can to guide the Avon Grove school district towards even greater success. To learn more about me, visit my web site at www.avongrove2013.com. If you want to email me directly, I'm at brian@avongrove2013.com.

 

Brian Gaerity

Candidate, Avon Grove School Board


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