Jacqueline Kelleher, one of three Democrats running in Tuesday’s special election for Board of Education, shares this commentary with OIB about her time as an appointed member of the school board and her role on behalf of city students.
My opinion piece published a few weeks ago was never intended to slam or silence those advocating on behalf of the children and youth of Bridgeport. We all need to actively advocate and be involved in school-related issues. I believe those running for the BOE are doing so because they have the best interest of kids at heart and are passionately going for the mat for their future. I respect that. I also believe that a BOE with that passion as their primary focus and uses student achievement at the forefront of their decision-making–policy, hiring, resource allocation, and so forth–will be successful.
This next BOE has an amazing opportunity to do just that and I am encouraged. I am asking Bridgeport to allow me that opportunity. I will work with and through all ideas and thinking to accomplish this mission for our kids. I never aspired to run for political office, but am in a position to do so because of what I can bring to the table in terms of knowledge regarding the educational acquisition of PK-12, and what the future BOE needs in making decisions for our community. There are many federal and state initiatives coming down the pike that require an educator to be at the table–this is why I agreed to run. We need a BOE member who knows about the state and federal initiatives in education–one who can relay information to the public, garner feedback on the issues, and advocate relentlessly back to the state given Bridgeport needs. I can do this. I understand that my candidacy is not ideal for all voters given the strong opinions concerning the reconstitution of the BOE; however, I am here as a result and wish to continue the work we started and collaborate with this new team to ensure equity across schools. I am dedicated to advocating for resource and fiscal needs of this district at the city and state level. I wish to take on this role on behalf of Bridgeport’s children and can do this work. Further, I can accomplish what needs to be done regardless of political affiliate aspiring for a BOE position–we can all work together. This new BOE will work well together. We’re on the same page: Bridgeport children. Period. We can do this for Bridgeport. Please give the right team this opportunity.