Moving on to new work

Dear fellow citizens of Chapel Hill and Carrboro,
By the end of this year, it will have been my great honor to have served this school system, from which I graduated so many decades ago, as a Board of Education member for eight years, including two years as chair.  Given that turnover is good for boards, and given that I want to take on the chance to serve students and teachers at a broader level, I won’t be standing for re-election this year as I commit myself to work across the state.
I have truly enjoyed my time on the board.  Through all the long hours, all the complicated issues, and all the passionate advocates, I’ve found truly fulfilling work in trying to make a difference for the students, staff, and community I’ve called home for over 40 years. There are too many individuals to thank, so perhaps by category will capture most of them, starting with my wife and children, who have been always supportive — maybe even eager to have me gone so much! And thank you to: my friends, who put up with my lack of diversity in subjects to talk about over dinners; my church family, who let me learn board leadership starting in my 20s; the Justice United community, who showed me how to organize power to drive change; my mother, who used decades of experience as an educator  to keep me accountable to teachers; employees of CHCCS, who are always willing to answer my dumb questions and share their stories for how we can do better; the central office staff, who hopefully still know that I challenge the pace (and even direction) of their work because of the urgency I feel for our students’ success; the parents of CHCCS, who are never satisfied but know that I’m always a willing ear to bend; my fellow board colleagues and former board members who taught me from even before I ran right up through now why change in schools is so hard; the county commissioners and town council members with whom we try to work to make our community better; the nonprofit supporters of public education in our community, who make this such a special place with their recognition of our teachers and support for our students; the media, who may not always quote me correctly, but are always open to hearing what’s going on; and, most important of all, the teachers of CHCCS, who put up with constant demands and low pay and respect to deliver overall education unparalleled in our state, and their students, whom I’ve watched grow up and share all the amazing things they are capable of doing.
There is such good work that needs to be continued in our district.  I wholeheartedly endorse my current colleagues Margaret Samuels, Pat Heinrich, and Rani Dasi if they choose to run again in November.  They are smart people who care, and I know are committed to the success of each and every student in our district.  But I am also willing to talk with anyone else who wants to consider running. I don’t need to agree with you on everything: I just know that better-prepared board members will better serve our students.  We can talk process; we can talk policy; we can talk board dynamics and the nitty-gritty of serving. But if you are considering filing in July, I encourage you to reach out now to folks who know this work best and learn what a huge job it is to campaign and serve well on the board.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, one and all.  I’ve had the best 8 years of my life doing meaningful work.  And each and every one of you had some part in making that happen.
James
cell (919) 593-0592
James as a salesman in Music Man at Seawell Elementary
Great organization bring networks of people together for positive change
NC’s first varsity lacrosse team in public schools
The new Chapel Hill High coming soon!

 

Dr Baldwin with most of our current board running for Education
James with his mother at teacher recognition breakfast

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