Schools are the very heart of our community and they contribute to the well-being of every community member.

I know that serving as an elected official is not about me. It’s about you and your kids and our shared values and goals. I promise to do my best work for all of you, because we are all fortunate to be a part of this great community.

Here are a few ideas I've been talking about while doorbelling, attending forums, and speaking at other events. You can let me know what you think at darcy@darcyhuffman.com.

Building Community

I have a good friend that says, “Communities move at the speed of trust.”  I agree.

When people trust each other they’re more likely to take risks together, see greater opportunities, and respond to change in smart and coordinated ways. Leaders who trust each other are more willing to dig into disagreements, challenge their assumptions and beliefs, and have the bold conversations that can lead to innovative ideas.

With trust, we more easily forgive each other for the bumps in the road that inevitably arise when working together. And as we’ve all experienced, a lack of trust brings progress grinding to a halt and makes collaboration incredibly frustrating and unproductive.

You build trust in a community by getting to know those you serve and those you serve with. I commit to building more relationships in my district by volunteering in my neighborhood schools and by attending booster club meetings and other school events. This will give me the opportunity to have conversations with parents and educators in my own district. During my conversations with former school board members, they told me that spending time in the schools was immensely helpful to them in understanding the challenges and issues of the district. I know it will be for me as well. I look forward to learning from you and building new relationships and community.

Increase Career & Technical Education

I’d also like to expand the pathways to graduation for those students who are not college bound, or at least not heading to college right out of high school.

We already have great programs like the Freedom Farm and those skills offered at New Market, but we can and should supply more opportunities for our students to learn technical skills. Two candidates running for Port Commissioner agree with me that we should attract more internship and apprenticeship programs so that we can train more electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and other trade skills before our kids get out of school, so they can walk into good paying jobs and work their way to family wage jobs.

I will also investigate partnering with our county officials, city officials and business leaders to determine what kind of jobs we need today and, in our future, so that our kids come out of high school confident and ready to contribute to our community.

Communication and Accountability

I have heard through emails, doorbelling and conversations with neighbors, parents, teachers, and staff at our schools that they are very discouraged by what they perceive as a lack of transparency, accountability and communication coming from OSD. To be honest, this isn’t a surprise. I have never been a part of a large organization where everyone felt like the communication was satisfactory. Have you?

There are things we can do to improve the communication and accountability at OSD. I will suggest a “communication audit” that looks not only at how we communicate within OSD, but how we interact with the public and how the public interacts with us. This might include training, public hearings, a work group, and a public survey.

Making people feel heard when decisions don’t go their way is difficult. It takes patience and practice. I have both, and I will work hard to make people feel heard and have confidence that they are a part of the decision making.

Our Community Values

I’ve heard my opponent say that he has withdrawn his kids from our school district and put them in private school because he doesn’t believe that our district shares his values. While it is absolutely his right as a parent to choose a school for his kids that best meets their needs, I’m not sure what he means when he says OSD doesn’t align with his values. I’m guessing other voters question this too.

As for me, I am excited about being a part of a community whose values respect and celebrate diversity, instructs our students about history and race without blinders on, and does so in a way that unites us and makes us stronger; one that respects gender identities, adopts a long overdue non-biased dress code, and puts students’ health and learning readiness first when it comes to school start times.

I am grateful that our community, school board, educators and staff place value on our students being compassionate and kind, having the academic and life skills to pursue their individual careers, civic and educational goals, and to being critical thinkers who contribute to and collaborate with our local, global, and natural world. 

I ask for your support and your vote by November 2.