by Tina Certain, District 1 Alachua County School Board Member
As we begin this new year, I stand before you, not just as a school board member but as a member of our community, with a resolute spirit to foster unity and optimism for our educational future.
The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us of the ongoing fight for equality. In our schools, we face disparities that persist—segregated systems and unequal opportunities. It’s time to ensure that a student’s zip code or race never dictates their access to quality education.
Every child in Alachua County deserves an excellent education, regardless of where they live or their background. Public education was designed as an equalizer, yet persistent underfunding and diverting funds to private institutions challenge this ideal. The recent approval of universal vouchers also threatens to drain our public schools further.
We cannot afford to ignore the warning signs of inequity and inefficient financial operations. Inaction only perpetuates the divide. Our commitment must be united and resolute. It’s time to set aside past divisions and collaboratively address the challenges ahead.
The strength of our community comes from its diversity and inclusiveness. Listening to and understanding every voice is key to addressing the needs of our students effectively. We need to unite and advocate for policies that ensure every school, regardless of its location or demographics, has the resources necessary for academic excellence.
This year, let’s honor Dr. King’s vision by actively working to dismantle educational barriers related to zip codes and racial backgrounds. Our mission must be clear: to create an environment where every student, no matter their circumstances, has the opportunity to thrive.
To meet these high standards, exceptional leadership is essential. The role of the superintendent is central in driving our schools towards these high ideals. Therefore, I have urged my colleagues to undertake a national search for a superintendent. This is a crucial and bold step towards ensuring that our students receive the best educational leadership available. We need a leader who will bring innovative perspectives and effective strategies to our district, aligning with our unwavering commitment to providing the best for every student in Alachua County. This action is not just a choice but a necessary step in fulfilling our promise to our students and community.
Achieving our goals requires leadership that is innovative and effective. Therefore, a national search for a superintendent must be a part of our broader effort. However, our focus extends beyond leadership appointments. It encompasses comprehensive policy reforms, community engagement, and a relentless pursuit of resources and opportunities that elevate the educational experience for every student in Alachua County.
As we move forward into 2024, let’s channel our efforts into creating a future where our educational system is a beacon of equality and excellence. This must be our commitment, our resolve, and our promise to every student we serve.
You can share your feedback and concerns during regular school board meetings which are held the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6pm at the District office (620 E University Ave). You can also email the Board at email@example.com.