Letter: O’Neill is Willing Listener Who Values Concensus

letter to the editorTo the editor:

Barbara O’Neill has demonstrated leadership, knowledge, and community awareness during her first term as a member and chairman of the Board of Education; she should be re-elected.

Supporting new technology initiatives, gaining BET and RTM approval of fiscally responsible budgets, and securing state approval for a racial balance plan that maintains neighborhood schools can be counted among her accomplishments.

What cannot be quantified is her ongoing dedication to working with others to ensure that each child receives every available educational opportunity. Barbara maintains her own standards of excellence, however she willingly listens to others and gives new or different ideas careful consideration. She values consensus before embarking on a course of action because she knows that without support any plan faces unnecessary obstacles. She is willing to admit and correct mistakes as she and the board did in the case of the unsuccessful attempt to change the traditional February break – now restored!

Barbara exercises discretion. She recognizes that in her role, it is essential to respect the person’s privacy hence, she refrains from public commentary. Nevertheless, her ear is close to the community, and she is willing to investigate and set correctional wheels in motion to rectify an alleged deviation from stated policy. After learning that a student recovering from an injury was in danger of failing courses, she investigated the policy governing additional tutoring. The student passed.

Barbara’s years of educational experience as both a teacher and an administrator are valuable assets for service on the BoE. I respected her for the many years we worked together, and I continue to admire her commitment to service.

Those seeking office with the attitude, “If I ran the school, my child’s needs would be better served” or “I went to school, so I should be able to run one,” are not qualifications that necessarily serve the best interests of the community.

Support for Barbara O’Neill is support for building a stronger educational system.

Susan Mulvey Rattray
Cos Cob

NOTE TO READERS: The deadline for letters to the editor for the Nov. 3 election is Friday, Oct. 30, 2015.