Delaware School Board Candidates 2020!

So who is running for the Delaware school boards this year?  We have some incumbents and lots of new faces.  Some of these races are going to be riveting.  But it all means squat unless you actually get out and vote.  Do some homework on the candidates.  It’s your local taxes at play here so it is important.  And for many, it is your children in each district.  Go to the debates if they happen.  And vote!  Congrats to the solo filers.  You won without doing anything more than signing a piece of paper.  For the races, be fair, don’t get anyone to steal signs, and be honest.  Voting goes down on May 12th.  Be there or be square!

Appoquinimink 

At Large: Wayne Meadows, Michelle Wall 

Brandywine 

District B: Sydney Jones, Kristin Pidgeon 

District E: Karen P. Gordon 

Cape Henlopen 

At Large: William W. Collick 

Area B: Jason Bradley 

Caesar Rodney 

At Large: Joyce Denman 

Capital 

At Large: Anthony DePrima, Dennis S. Hallock Sr., Leandra Casson Marshall 

Christina 

District A: George E. Evans, Althea Smith-Tucker 

District D: Naveed Baqir, Claire O’Neal, John M. Young 

Colonial 

District B: M. Lucille Kennedy 

District D: Christopher Piecuch 

Delmar 

At Large: Raymond T. Vincent 

Indian River 

District 1 (Two seats available): Anthony Cannon, Leo Darmstadter III

District 2: Gerald T. Peden 

District 4: Gregory M. Goldman, Constance T. Pryor 

Lake Forest 

At Large: James L. Rau 

Laurel 

At Large: Barbara Erkline, D. Brent Nichols, Jana B. Pugh 

Milford 

At Large (2 seats available): Rony Baltazar-Lopez, Scott Wiley, Jean Wylie 

Red Clay 

District B: Sarah Fulton, Lillian Oliver, Martin Wilson 

District G: William Doolittle, Grace Otley, Catherine H. Thompson 

Seaford  

At Large (5 years): Jeffrey T. Benson 

At Large (2 years): Troy R. Purnell 

Smyrna 

At Large: Christine B. Malac 

Woodbridge 

At Large: Darrynn S. Harris, Julleanna B. Seeley 

 

The official filings and contact info can be found at the three county websites below. 

https://electionsncc.delaware.gov/PubSchool/candidates/2020_sch_cand.pdf 

https://electionskc.delaware.gov/school_districts/2020_SB_Cand_Filed.shtml 

https://electionssc.delaware.gov/2020%20SB%20Filings/2020%20School%20Board%20Member%20Filings.shtml 

 

 

Lazarus Mike Matthews Comes Out Of His Facebook Sabbatical With Big News!!!

Well over a year after former Delaware State Education Association President Mike Matthews resigned from his position, he announced last night he is seeking a seat on the Executive Board of DSEA.

Hello, friends. Hope you’re doing OK. Not going to take a lot of your time.

Just reaching out to all of my friends and Delaware educators on here to let you know I’ve just submitted my petition to DSEA to run for a seat on their Executive Board. New Castle County gets 16 seats and 8 of those seats are up this year.

As a former state and local leader, I want to continue to be an advocate for educators and students in Dover. Times remain turbulent in education today and we need assertive voices in the mix to make sure our concerns are front and center with both our state union leadership and elected officials in Dover.

The election will be in January. You should receive your ballot by email. If you’re a DSEA member, I would love having your vote and I would love it if you would consider sharing this message to let your friends know I’m running.

This is not a statewide election. Only members who work in New Castle County will be able to vote in my election. I would be humbled to earn your vote.

Thank you all for your continued love and support over the last year. It has gotten me through a really tough time, but I like to think I’m back and my engine is fired up again.

In Solidarity,

Mike

I wish I could say I was shocked but I’m not.  Matthews is not one to stay quiet for too long.  I couldn’t believe he managed to stay off Facebook for seven months.  But the Red Clay teacher isn’t quite done with his union work.  Will Matthews get back into DSEA?  Could this be a sign of Matthews seeking the Presidential seat again at some point?  Time will tell!

Breaking News: Mike Matthews Is The New DSEA President

Mike Matthews just put the following post out on Facebook.  Congrats to Mike for his victory.  This was a long and hard fight, but he finally did it.  Look for a different kind of DSEA in the future!

An email has just been sent to all DSEA members. Results were shared this morning and I won the run off election for DSEA president. I’m thrilled and so happy for this. Thank you to all my supporters and thank you to my three opponents, Karen Crouse, Dom Zaffora, and Danny Rufo, who ran really great, issues-based campaigns.

Biggest thank you to my best friend and always-running mate Jackie Kook. This win is bittersweet for me, but I know she will always be there to support me and this organization.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone, and I hope that you have a great weekend.

Vote Mike Matthews & Jackie Kook For President And Vice-President Of DSEA

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I hereby endorse Mike Matthews as President for the Delaware State Education Association.

I hereby endorse Jackie Kook as Vice-President for the Delaware State Education Association.

I’m not a teacher.  Just a parent.  But I have been very aware of DSEA the past few years and their role in education.  To say that relationship has been frosty at times would be an understatement.  I do not always agree with DSEA on issues.  But when I heard Mike and Jackie were running a joint ticket for DSEA leadership, I immediately rooted for them.  And then Danny Rufo announced his candidacy as President.  So I was torn for a long time.  I’ve known all three of these educators since shortly after I started blogging in 2014.  Danny is awesome.  But Mike and Jackie bring many battle scars to these roles.  Battles fought at the Delaware DOE and Legislative Hall.  Fought in front of cameras as they loudly advocated for teacher, student, and parent rights.  To me, they are more of a voice for teachers than the current leadership at DSEA.  They know the players and they know who to watch out for.

I get that these leadership roles change people.  You can’t just say whatever you want.  I don’t know Frederika Jenner very well at all.  But I do know Mike and Jackie.  I know Danny.  Crouse and Ingraham, endorsed by Jenner, just seem to be missing something.  I can’t pinpoint it.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have never seen them before.  Maybe it’s because when I asked three of the candidates their thoughts about student data privacy, the Matthews/Kook team and Rufo genuinely and thoughtfully answered.  Crouse and Ingraham gave some robotic Facebook response.  When I asked for more, they endorsed not getting into Facebook “battles” and having off-line conversations.  Sorry, Delaware has suffered immensely from those kind of talks.  The fourth candidate, Dom, I couldn’t pick out of a line-up.  No offense Dom!

What the package of Mike and Jackie could bring to Delaware education is a dream team beyond compare.  They know the issues.  They have great ideas on how to address those issues.  I’ve heard some say they are worried about Mike’s ability to “go along to get along”.  I firmly believe Mike will bring his A-game to the role and not put aside the issues he has fought for much longer than I have.  If there were a way to have co-Presidents AND a vice-president, I would say throw Rufo on that triumvirate!  But with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act and some crazy stuff coming up in education, Delaware’s largest teacher association needs people who will look at every angle.  Who aren’t afraid to go outside of the box for help.  Who will fight not just for teachers, but also what our students need.  The symbiotic relationship between teacher and student is a relationship like no other.  Teachers have had it rough.  But I think because of that fight, many in DSEA leadership have capitulated towards those in favor of corporate education reform to the detriment of that symbiotic relationship.

Between vouchers, personalized learning in a digital environment (which is the gravest threat to teachers in my opinion), and more charter school enrollment going up, the teacher unions have never been more vulnerable than they are right now.  They need a very strong shield, and Mike and Jackie are it!  So I urge every single member of DSEA to vote for Mike and Jackie on January 9th.  Don’t wait, vote that day.  Some will say a non-DSEA person should mind their own business and not get involved.  Too bad.  Freedom of the press baby!  Don’t like it?  Too bad.  At least I’m not making fake Facebook accounts trying to start trouble.  I will leave that right there.

Some will say I am only endorsing Mike and Jackie because I’m friends with them.  I’m friends with Danny too.  And do you want to know what drew me to all three of them in the first place?   Education.  If I never started blogging I wouldn’t know the first thing about any of this.  But this is the world I live in.

DSEA President Battle Heats Up As Three Vie For The Top Spot

To date, three Delaware educators have announced their intention to run for President of the Delaware State Education Association.  All three have announced this on Facebook.  I know two of them, but I haven’t met the other candidate.  Two of the candidates are running on a ticket with a Vice-President candidate.  Who are these brave souls? Continue reading

Mike Matthews and Jackie Kook Announce Run For DSEA President & VP

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Delaware teachers Mike Matthews and Jackie Kook announced they will run as a team for President and Vice-President the Delaware State Education Association.  These leadership positions are currently held by Frederika Jenner and Karen Crouse.  Their terms end on July 17th, 2017.

Mike Matthews was the most recent past President of the Red Clay Education Association while Jackie Kook currently serves as the Vice-President of the Christina Education Association.  Both are widely known throughout Delaware as advocates against many of the destructive and disparaging policies coming out of the Delaware Dept. of Education.  The educators spoke in favor of better teacher evaluation in the DPAS-II system.  They both support a parent’s right to opt their child out of the state assessment and spoke in support of House Bill 50.  As members of their district unions, they both publicly denounced former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and called for him to step down, which was echoed by DSEA at their next representative assembly.  Both were highly involved in fighting for their teachers, students and districts during the troubling priority school fiasco initiated by Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE.

Matthews and Kook have launched a Facebook page for their candidacy here.  DSEA members will be able to cast votes by paper or electronically between January 9th and January 23rd, 2017.  Please support Mike and Jackie.  I can’t imagine Delaware education without them.

 

 

Exceptional Delaware Endorses Tara Greathouse For Appoquinimink School Board!!!

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Tomorrow is school board election day in Delaware!  For Appoquinimink, Exceptional Delaware is endorsing Tara Greathouse.  This is a woman with a lot of soul, and a lot of grit.  During the great debate about parent opt-out, Greathouse has been there in the trenches with other parents at every important occasion: Delaware PTA Town Hall, The House Education Committee, and the full House of Representatives vote.

What impressed me the most was the House Education Committee meeting on House Bill 50.  She came with a prepared statement, but after hearing the arguments against the bill, she chucked her speech to the side and winged it with absolute perfection!  This is a woman who isn’t afraid to take chances and can adapt to a situation easily.  That’s exactly what a school board member needs, and she has it in ample supply.  She would be a fresh new voice with all the love and devotion of a parent, but with the knowledge and strength for what needs to be done for education in Delaware.

She has a deep and abiding concern about the impact of standardized testing on our students.  She understands special education and knows these matters need to be seriously looked at.  She knows the Common Core standards are not good enough for our students and she believes in local control.  What more do you need?

Don’t get lost in the number of names on the ballot, because only one should stick out, and that’s Tara Greathouse!

Why Trey Paradee Is Getting My Vote For Delaware State Representative in District 29 @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @DoverPost @TheStateNews #netde #eduDE #Delaware

I have actually been going back and forth on who to vote for in my district for a few months now, Democrat Trey Paradee (the existing State Rep for my district) and Republican Pete Kramer.  I’m going to be completely honest.  Up until 14 months ago, I had absolutely zero interest in state politics.  This is my fault as a human being, but I was ignorant of many things going on in Delaware, and I really didn’t care.  And then things happened….

As any long time reader of this blog is well aware, my son had some (okay, numerous) problems at a “charter school in the County of Kent”.  When things blew up and became unsalvageable with the school, my wife and I were weighing our options to see what avenue to take next.   She reached out to Trey Paradee, and we did get a call back from one of his staff members and explained what was going on.

Flash forward as few weeks later, and I read a post on this blog called Kilroy’s Delaware about how some charter school meeting was held in secret and not open to the public.  People were pissed, and this was my intro to Kilroy’s blog.  Going ahead six months to last Spring, my situation with the charter school was resolved, but I had still had a lot of questions.  I told the story about what happened to my son on Kilroy’s blog after a few weeks of “vetting” him.  I really didn’t trust anyone at the time, but Kilroy and I had several chats about the state of education in Delaware.  By the time I finished telling my son’s story, I had decided to start my own blog, but I wanted to pay Kilroy back for letting me tell my very long story for a month.

In my last post on Kilroy’s, I promised to go to Legislative Hall to drum up support for House Bill 23, which would make all school boards digitally record their meetings and put them up on their website.  I invited any  who wanted to attend, and I made a couple posters and went down.  I doubted anyone would show up, but I was determined.  So I made the drive downtown, and started walking around the front of Legislative Hall with my posters.  Several people asked me what House Bill 23, and some of these were legislators.  It was a solo act I was doing, but I didn’t care.  I started memorizing faces and made a decision to find out who these people are.  It started to rain a bit, so I put the posters in my car and decided to actually go into the hall and see what they did there.

My first visit was to meet my House Rep, Trey Paradee.  His secretary called him and he agreed to meet with me on the spot.  I was impressed right away.  I went into his office and there was this rather large dog sitting there.  Trey introduced me to Belle, and he explained there was a dog group there and he was going to be in a picture with Belle.  I explained why I was there, and that I was very concerned with special education in Delaware. He agreed, and explained some of his own personal journey in the world of special education with a member of his family.   We agreed to talk more.

I met a few other politicians that day, most noticeably Debra Hudson to find out why the bill she sponsored wasn’t going up for a vote.  She explained it needed more public support, but she would ask about it.  Never heard back from her at all!  I got home and reached out to his opponent in the election, Pete Kramer.  He explained he was against Common Core and standardized testing.  My decision was made right then and there, as Kramer was against the same things I was.  The next day I started this blog.

Within weeks, I became involved in the political landscape in Delaware when the US Department of Education declared Delaware was one of three states and Washington D.C. to need federal intervention with special education.  I read about it in the Delaware News Journal, but it was missing a lot of facts, so I did some quick research on it and posted an article on my blog.  This was my first huge article on Exceptional Delaware.  Within days, the Senate in Delaware created a concurring resolution to create an IEP Task Force, but there were no parent reps on the task force.  I emailed every single house rep and senator in the General Assembly advising them not having a parent on this task force would be a slap in the face to special needs parents across the state.  When the Senate voted on it, they passed it without a parent rep.  I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook to have a re-vote to allow parent reps.  A couple days later an amendment was added allowing a parent from each county which was my suggestion in my email to them.

But life has a funny way of throwing curve balls when you least expect them.  Paradee and I became friends on Facebook, and we would chat here and there, nothing too significant.  On the morning of 4th of July, he was looking for volunteers to support him in the 4th of July parade.  I knew my son would be very excited marching with a real politician and giving out candy to kids.  We got there, and unfortunately my son had a very bad reaction to everything going on.  Part of his disability is sensory processing, and parades can be very stressful, especially without comfortable shoes (which was my fault for not getting them from the car for him)!  He broke down, and Trey Paradee didn’t say a single negative word about it.  Usually when this happens, my son will get weird looks, but Paradee sensed he was having a hard time, and he asked me if he was okay.  I advised him about his sensory processing and he understood.

My son joined back up with the parade about 10 minutes later and had a blast.  Afterwards, I was talking with Paradee for a while about politics and education.  We talked about House Bill 334, which would replace DCAS with the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  A few weeks before, the Delaware House of Representatives had passed it, and then a couple weeks after that the Senate voted no, a few of them flip-flopped, and then they voted yes.  Markell would have used executive power to make it happen either way, so the whole thing was an exercise in futility.  Paradee explained to me that he genuinely felt kids were getting tested too much with DCAS and since Smarter Balanced was once a year it would be better for students.  He explained that he heard from many parents in our district that were upset about the multiple tests.

A week or so later, Pete Kramer was going to houses and he came to ours.  I was at work, but my wife spoke with him and she advised him of our son’s Tourette Syndrome.  He emailed her back advising my son is lucky cause he will grow out of it in a few years.  This occurs sometimes with TS, but for most afflicted with this disability, it stays.  It may become more manageable but it is not normal for it to just go away.

To draw to a conclusion, this is why Paradee is getting my vote.  He listened when I talked about my son.  Kramer listened, did some quick research which I’ve seen on Wikipedia, and responded to my wife with something I felt was highly inappropriate in trying to help a potential constituent.  I truly believe Paradee loves connecting with people.  I have yet to meet Kramer even though I’ve reached out to him a few times.

Yes, Paradee voted for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, but I’ve since learned Secretary of Education Mark Murphy had already bought the test for the state and it put the legislature in a very difficult position.  I’ve also questioned how much information members of the General Assembly who aren’t on the education committee received prior to the vote.

I’ve seen the signs all over my area, and Paradee’s are simple, vote for him.  Kramer put up a few that say “Paradee raised taxes” and so forth.  I’ve received mailers from both, and Kramer’s are all about why Paradee shouldn’t be elected.  Paradee talks about what he’s done and what he wants to do.  If his worst act as a House Rep was raising taxes when he said he wouldn’t, who cares.  Sometimes taxes need to be raised or you don’t get the services you need to survive as a community.  It’s unfortunate, but there you go.

While Kramer is against the same education things I am, he doesn’t have the connection with people that Paradee does.  I am also certain that some day soon, parents are going to revolt against Rodel and Markell and their whacko education reforms.  I have faith that Paradee will vote with his conscience when this happens and support what families want and not what Markell wants.

In conclusion, I endorse Trey Paradee for House Representative of the 29th District in Delaware!  Vote for Trey!