2018 was a year of heroes and zeroes! Shakers and movers! The list here includes some well-known Delawareans and ones that came out of nowhere to shock us all. One isn’t even a person. Another is from out-of-state. One is anonymous. But they ALL made an impact in 2018!
Billie Jo Bullock
When she was removed from her post at the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company, Billie Jo made it her mission for the truth to be told. The source of her ire? None other than Patrick Miller. Miller serves as the President of their board. He was also the Chief Financial Officer of Indian River School District. She discovered Miller was messing around with money at IRVFC and made it known. As a result, Miller manipulated the members of the fire company to remove her. While the results of her own investigations have yet to see the true light of day, she proved, once again, that one person can make a hell of a lot of noise. She hounded legislators up and down the state to take action. She is a force to be reckoned with and I see bright things in her future. I’ll have much more to say about Miller later and that is, in part, because of the actions of Bullock.
A Former City Educator
Last February, I received a hand-written letter in the mail. It was a teacher’s letter, talking about what really goes on in inner-city classrooms and schools. It tugged at our heartstrings. It opened my eyes to some cold and stark realities. It doesn’t really matter what the latest “plan” is going to do. There are some things a “plan” can’t take away. The heart and soul of an inner-city teacher was on full display in this letter. One of the most moving things I’ve ever read. It was my immense pleasure to receive this letter and put it on my blog.
Margie was everywhere in 2018! The Head of School for Las Americas ASPIRA Academy shocked everyone when she became the President of the Board of Directors for Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security last Winter. By forming a partnership with the Colonial School District, she was able to save the school from extinction at the hands of the Delaware Department of Education. But she made a colossal error. Her mistake was keeping Herb Sheldon as the Head of School. When she became the Head of School at DAPSS as well over the summer, she kept Sheldon on as DAPSS’ finance guy. By the time the school year started in August, the seeds of DAPSS’ destruction came into bloom and the school shut down weeks after the school year began. She ticked off many and baffled even more. Her plan to turn DAPSS into ASPIRA High School blew up in her face. But have no fear because she will be handing in an application for a major modification to the DOE to add high school grades to ASPIRA very soon.
The Air Conditioner
With over 10,000 hits, a very quick post about a broken air-conditioner at Delcastle Technical High School took off like gangbusters in early September. It became the second-most read post on here for 2018 and went “Delaware viral”. I’m sure it wasn’t the first ac unit to break down and cause students and teachers to feel like they were melting. But it became so hot they had to send students home. The issue went on for a week. The students got a special four-day holiday for Labor Day weekend because of it. What made people boil (literally) was the district’s response. New Castle Co. Vo-Tech didn’t want to pay for the necessary repairs which delayed relief for the denizens of the classrooms affected.
For someone who has probably never stepped foot in Delaware, the actions of this teenager created controversy in The First State along with the rest of the country. When Cruz brutally gunned down 17 students and staff members of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, it brought school safety and gun control back into the minds of the American consciousness. It triggered tons of debate here in Delaware. The bumper-stocks ban passed in the General Assembly, but tougher measures on gun control failed. This created a massive swarm at Legislative Hall in June as members of the group Delaware Gun Rights planted themselves in the Senate chamber to protest legislation that would restrict certain rights for gun owners. The State allocated extra funding for school safety which schools are beginning to receive now. The Valentine’s Day massacre also resulted in a student walk-out day across the country.
Delaware citizens collectively shook their head when the Delaware Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Trinity Carr. Carr beat up Amy Joyner-Francis in a bathroom in 2016. I don’t care what any court says! This caused Amy’s death. But the judge for Carr’s appeal felt there was no way Carr could have known about Amy’s very rare heart condition which was ultimately ruled as her cause of death. Carr’s intentions were very known before the beating even began. She wanted to hurt Amy. The March 1st decision angered Delawareans and made us all question what justice even means. Meanwhile, the family of Amy Joyner-Francis is suing the New Castle Co. Vo-Tech School District for negligence in their daughter’s murder.