To the people of Lyons:
We have been humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we received after announcing our candidacies for the Lyons board of education. That support has prompted us to write this message, so that we can clearly articulate why we are running.
First, we are not running against any one person, nor any one thing the board of education has done in the past. We know that all members of the board, past and present, have worked passionately and selflessly for the school. Instead, we hope to renew a sense of optimism — not just on the board, but throughout the entire community.
It is the most important job of any board of education to see the forest through the trees. Lyons is not so unlike many other rural communities across the country, where populations are getting smaller, older and poorer. Jobs are not easy to come by, and it is not clear whether the community at large is heading in a positive direction. That said, our message is not one of anxiety, but one of hope.
We believe the first step in reinvigorating our community starts at the school and with the kids. Schools that build solid foundations and prepare kids for the adult world can then create communities where those kids want to return. Every student at Lyons deserves a chance to reach their full potential. Every student, regardless of upbringing or home life, deserves a solid education, guidance and direction. That is why we are running.
Lyons has a seven-member board of education. Electing three brand-new members would be like opening up the windows to let the fresh air in. We are running to change the culture, not of the board but of the community as a whole. Just because our community’s problems are not unique, does not mean our solutions cannot be home-grown. Our demeanors will be optimistic, our efforts will be realistic.
Lyons is lucky to have talented teachers who share in our belief that the kids come first. We hope to not only partner with them, but to increase the number of collaborative efforts between the school and local institutions like the town government, Lyons Community Center, the Main Street Program, public library and more — anything to give our kids the best foot forward.
Each of us would bring our own unique qualifications and backgrounds. Together, we have an eye on both the past and the future, with families that have gone through the Lyons school system, families that have worked in it and families are looking forward to attending. Each of us had separately mulled the possibility of running for the board in the past. And while we found encouragement in running together, we have no intention of being a solid voting block on the board. We are our own people, with our own voices.
We sincerely hope you can help amplify those voices by voting on May 15.
Martha Bailey, Karissa Blamble and Imelda Dobbins