Education Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: ACSD board candidate has shown true leadership

The views expressed in the following letter are mine and are not meant to represent the congregation I serve. 

Ellen Whelan-Wuest is running for the ACSD school board. That’s good news for our towns and schools, families and children. If you know Ellen, I hardly need to say more. But given Ellen’s aversion to grandstanding, and her inclination to redirect personal accolades to the teams she leads, I want to say a few things that Ellen would not. 

The discourse around the current state of our schools (and their future) could use a lot more of what Ellen has to offer. I’m thinking about Ellen’s kind, calm, non-anxious presence; her genuine interest in and openness to different perspectives; her willingness to take on challenging projects and see them through; and, her ability to articulate thoughts in very clear, generative ways. 

Ellen is one of the best collaborative leaders I’ve ever worked with. She works hard and smart, and she draws out the best from the company she keeps. She’ll tell you all about the “group effort,” and she’s not wrong, but the groups she works with are obviously strengthened by her considerable gifts.

Over the past year, Ellen has led an effort to establish a childcare center, the Red Clover Children’s Center, at the Congregational Church. As you might imagine, this has been a complicated project. No instruction manual. Lots of reaching out, asking questions, discerning a way forward. Everyone on that board has contributed a great deal of time, effort, and expertise. And everyone on that board will tell you that Ellen’s leadership has much to do with the group’s success.

If you think it’s time to mend what’s frayed in our district’s schools, then I would commend Ellen’s candidacy to you. She’s got my vote. It will bring me joy to pencil in the oval beside Ellen’s name on March 7th.

Andy Nagy-Benson


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