Council approves Spears’ second term with Madison Board of Education
MADISON – At its May 12 meeting, Madison City Council voted for Connie Spears to serve a second term with Madison Board of Education.
Spears has served since 2009, and her slot was up for renewal this year. Two other finalists were Dr. Emily Cook and Timothy Holtcamp. Other applicants included Scott Edwards, Antonio Gellineau, Joseph Irvine and Wyndie Meyer.
With the appointment process complete, Spears feels many emotions — relief, happiness and motivation. “I’m motivated to continue to speak up for our students and our schools … and use the experience I’ve gained and contacts I’ve made over the last five years, both in Montgomery and Washington D.C.,” she said.
“Mostly, I’m honored to be allowed the opportunity to continue serving our students and the whole Madison City Schools family,” Spears said.
Some individuals criticized Spears’ support for Common Core. “I’ve been a cheerleader for the Common Core, but I’ve also been a cheerleader for our students, our teachers, our PTAs, our city and our state,” Spears said. “When we label a person as one thing, we do them a disservice as a human being.”
“When you’re brave enough to stand out in front for your beliefs, people tend to sling labels and mud at you. I will proudly be a muddy cheerleader, if it’s right for our students,” she said.
Spears now can fulfill her appointment as vice chairperson of the Leader to Leader committee with Alabama Association of School Boards. This committee “spearheads advocacy grassroots efforts and mentors new schools board members,” she said.
Madison school board members are appointed to five-year terms with a two-term limit. “My biggest goal is to continue to help guide (the district) as we strive to continually improve,” Spears said.
She hopes to see students and parents involved more at the district level. She is researching the possibility of a non-voting student member on the board. “This idea intrigues me. We tend to only hear from parents, when they serve on (a) committee or are unhappy.”
“If we can develop channels of open, honest communication with our stakeholders, we can build relationships of trust, respect and support, which will work for the good of our whole community,” Spears said.
Does Spears hope to maintain the district’s current climate? “There is no ‘status quo’ in education. Either you are improving or you’re falling behind. Our targets are continually evolving; therefore, our policies and programs must continually evolve,” she said.
Madison’s school populations continuously challenge themselves and suggest improvements, which the board often implements. Spears cited scheduling and electives changes in secondary schools for the 2014-2015 school year, “the result of challenging ourselves to do better.”