Anthony Lopez: Why I’m Running for the Board of Education

Letter to the editor submitted by Anthony Lopez, Democrat, candidate for Board of Education

The decision to run for the board of education was different for me than for other candidates. As an employee of the board of education, I am legally mandated to immediately resign from my job if I am elected to the board. When most people hear this for the first time, after their astonishment, they ask if I am sure that I want to do this and not have a job. After all, a seat on the board of education is not a paid position. My answer is unquestionably yes. I explain that I am the owner of a small business consulting company and will be okay. More importantly, my wife and my 3 children emphatically agreed that being able to serve students in a higher capacity is worth it.

I have dedicated my life to education for almost six years. In that time I have served as a special education assistant, a dean of students and student enrichment coordinator at a K-8 Bridgeport school, and taught first grade in summer school. I have authored building-wide policies on student behavior, electronic devices, and submitted a school-wide behavioral management system referred to as “the best system to ever come across my desk” by the Head of School. As dean, I created and maintained the first behavioral tracking and monitoring system in the eleven year history of the school.

Despite my experience, I think there is something more important that I bring to the board – passion. The board is more than just a group of policy makers. It requires that those who serve do so with the utmost respect and empathy for students and families. As an educator, my motto is that we deal with people and not paper. As the parent of a special needs student, I have never lost sight of this truth. I am driven to ensure that the needs of all of our students and their families remain at the forefront of every policy decision I make. I believe in the power of human interaction, especially in education. I plan to visit all 17 of our public schools at least once per quarter. I will meet with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and all other staff members regularly in order to remain in tune with the climate in our schools and district. As a board member, making the right decisions at the right times requires consistent interaction with the people who make up our school district. I will carry their needs and concerns into every board meeting.

I am convinced that students and families want board members who understand that policy making must rely on more than just experience. Building relationships with those whom we serve, and working towards consensus with fellow board members is the only way to be successful. My experience in different roles in education helps me to meet the basic qualifications for the board. But, my focus on dealing more with the people I will serve, and not just policy papers, that is what makes me the right candidate for the board. For these reasons, I ask for your vote on November 3rd.