To the editor:

As responsible citizens, it is our civic duty to vote. Some political races likely weigh more heavily on your reasons as to why you are voting versus others. For some, the presidential vote may be the most important vote they feel they will cast, while other races contain a list of names — some of which are familiar and some that are “unknown.”

Let’s take the DeKalb Central School board races for example. Though some may not be giving a lot of attention to this race as it is non-partisan, it is one that should garner more attention. The elected officials for the school board, after all, are the people who make the unseen decisions for our children’s schooling, determine the quality of the buildings in which they spend their days learning, assess safety, and determine whether the entire board and administration are meeting the expectations of the community. Basically, the school board oversees the academic, legal and financial condition of the school district while balancing public interest. The school board certainly has a broad list of responsibilities, but also has one of the greatest impacts on our children’s education and future.

When I think about what I expect in effective school board members, I think about characteristics like: integrity, selflessness, courage, curiosity, empathy, fairness and someone who is an advocate for the students and teachers but also the community.

An effective school board member should have a wide range of skills and knowledge that can be utilized for the betterment of the entire school district. One key skill is the simple act of listening. Not just listening to hear but listening to understand and then consider. Other important attributes of an effective school board member, in my opinion, are being able to communicate with all people, is genuine, committed to public service, is faithful, has vision, works well with others, is responsive, and is most importantly unbiased. School board members should also not have any conflicts of interest such as a family member who also works within the school district. Some may ask why this is important to our school district. Some may say that being a school board member with family members in the district is a good thing as they understand the needs and see the issues. I believe as a school board member not having a family member in the district, enables people to come to the table with a fair and a selfless perspective allowing them to think objectively and make difficult decisions. After all, it is only human nature to protect your family and loved ones.

I believe that I, Jeff Johnson, embody all of these characteristics and attributes. I am proud and pure in my reasons for running for school board and have no agenda other than to help make this the best school district in the area from top to bottom. I am committed to serving our community, teachers and students, and want to lend my expertise to maximizing the potential of this school district, not just for my daughters, but for everyone’s children and best interests of the community.

I encourage you to please consider and vote for the “unknown” name of Jeff Johnson on your school board ballot and not just something that seems familiar in the Fairfield/Smithfield seat. Take a moment to get to know me and what I can bring to the table, if you haven’t already, by reaching out to: Jeff Johnson for DeKalb Central School Board on Facebook. I can also be reached by email at Crookedlake92@yahoo.com.

I humbly thank you for your consideration!

Jeff Johnson for DeKalb Central School Board

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