Voters in Columbia County districts 1 and 4 will be able to cast ballots for their school board races whether they vote on the Republican, Democrat or non-partisan ballot. Our school system is a vital part of this county. It is often cited by residents as the main reason for residing here.
I would like to offer my endorsement for candidates in both of these elections. Roxanne Whitaker, the incumbent from District 4, is the best choice among the three candidates. It has been my privilege to serve with her during my tenure on the board.
Without a doubt Whitaker is arguably the best-informed and engaged member of our board. She stays abreast of all activities and concerns with the schools of her district. She continuously communicates with school and community leaders and shares this information with the board and superintendent. She is a zealous advocate for her constituents while considering the needs of the entire school system. Her votes on the board are always well-researched and objective.
Whitaker is the kind of leader who drives our schools to high achievement. She deserves to continue to represent District 4.
In District 1, the incumbent Wayne Bridges has chosen not to run for re-election. He has been a very effective board member and I will miss his intelligent perspective on school issues. Three newcomers are listed on your ballot. Two of them are good choices to fill this seat. While I believe that both David Dekle and Carolyn Chase would make good replacements for Bridges, it is my conviction that Chase is the best candidate. I first met her during the opening of River Ridge Elementary several years ago. As their PTO president she had many questions about the new school and establishing the bylaws for the PTO.
I was impressed with her leadership skills then, and continued to be as I have watched her involvement as a parent leader and school advocate. She has a passion for student achievement and a drive to serve her community. I encourage the voters of District 1 to vote for Carolyn Chase for school board.
(Regina Buccafusco is chairman of the Columbia County Board of Education.)