Shirley Saffer withdrew as a candidate for the election of the Christina School District Board of Education seat today. This leaves it down to three: Jeff Day, Meredith Griffin Jr., and Kimara Smith. There will be no incumbent for the race since Saffer withdrew.
I’ve met both Day and Griffin before. Smith is a relative unknown. One of the candidates concerns me… A LOT!
Griffin serves on the Rodel Foundation of Delaware Advisory Board and is on the Governing Board of the Delaware Charter Schools Network. Neither of those positions would disqualify him as a candidate for the Christina board but it gives me great pause.
I believe it goes without saying that the Rodel Foundation is a huge supporter of Delaware charter schools. As well, the Delaware Charter Schools Network is the state cheerleader for charters. For those who aren’t in the loop, there was a major lawsuit against Christina and the Delaware Dept. of Education last year. The parties wound up settling over the local funding formula. As well, Griffin serves as a member of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission. While these are all worthy volunteer efforts by the well-known Wilmington minister, I find his membership on these organizations, specifically Rodel and DCSN could cause a conflict were he to win the Christina Board of Education. The DCSN Governing Board is elected by the different charter schools that make up the network. Christina School District consistently loses more students to charter schools than any other district in the state.
Without knowing his platform or why he is running for Christina, I would be hard-pressed to judge his motivations. I can only go by what I know. Delaware is filled with folks who serve on multiple boards, committees, task forces, and even elected positions concurrently. The clincher for myself would be who files for Red Clay’s board seat. The deadline is Friday, 4:30pm. I just don’t like the idea of charter friendly folks getting on local school boards. If they want to spend their time on charter boards, go at it. But this…
6 thoughts on “Christina Board Race Down To Three. Is There A Concern With One Of Them?”
At one point pastor Griffin’s children attended Newark Charter. I don’t know whether that is still the case (I intend to ask). If that is still true, I would need substantial reassurance that he could support district schools even in cases–such as the recent lawsuit–when that would work against his children’s interests. Our state leaders, in their wisdom, have pitted these schools against each other in competition for children and the same pool of public dollars. However well-intentioned someone may be (and I am certainly willing to believe that Mr. Griffin is well intentioned in this regard), it is almost impossible to play both sides of the charter-district divide–particularly in cases where relationships between schools are particularly hostile, as has been the case with Christina district and Newark charter. If Mr Griffin has a child in a Christina school, or is willing to move one of his children into the district as a gesture of good faith (and “skin in the game”–there’s no stronger stake in the district’s health than your own child) I would feel much more comfortable with his candidacy for this position.
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I emailed Pastor Griffin to ask where his children are enrolled in school and will let you know if I receive a reply.
And a quick follow up: I’ll let Pastor Griffin speak for himself at upcoming public forums (stay tuned for more info in that regard), but I did get to talk to him briefly this afternoon and learned two things that I find reassuring, in relation to the concerns I expressed above. One, his older child attended Christiana HS (I don’t know where his kids went to school when they were younger–didn’t ask). Two, his younger child, currently at NCS, will graduate in May. So this alleviates (in my view) the direct conflict of interest that could come from serving on CSD’s board while having a child enrolled in a “competing” public school.
Beyond that, I look forward to hearing from all the candidates soon about their views on public ed. and board service.
Senior and Founding Pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship
Pastor Griffin is the senior and founding pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship. He is an ordained minister in the Chesapeake District of The Wesleyan Church, and serves as District Secretary, a member of the District Board of Administration, and District Board of Ministerial Development. Pastor Griffin is also a board member of Delaware Charter Schools Network (SCRUBBED IN LAST 48 hours here: http://www.decharternetwork.org/About-Us/Governing-Board) Pastor Meredith L. Griffin, Jr., holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Hampton University, a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Regent University.
I would love the chance to speak with you regarding my candidacy for Christina School Board. Email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5188609977
Thanks for reaching out Kimara. I plan on sending out questionnaires to all the school board candidates in Delaware later this week. I have endorsed one candidate in Red Clay thus far because I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever what an incredibly awesome board member she will be. But for the rest, I need to hear more. Thanks again!