Saturday, June 10, 2006

Kathleen Harkey Confirms Her Attendance at Thursday's School Board Candidates' Forum

Kathleen Harkey, who is the school board member for District 8 (central-south Davidson County, including Eakin and Percy Priest, which my oldest attended when she was younger), is up for re-election in August, and she e-mailed me saying that she has committed to attend Thursday's forum for the school board candidates.

She was also kind enough to recommend an article on public involvement and education that she says is very applicable to this school board and that reflects her own philosophy of public service. It is a PR primer with solutions for overcoming the interface problem between conventional "quick sale" market approaches and essential aspects of public engagement in education. In this article, Scott Widmeyer outlines a dozen lessons learned during decades of reform:
  1. Publicity and promotions are not enough to make a real difference or a lot of money in education;
  2. Invest time and talent to create informed education consumers;
  3. Be patient and prepare for fallout from unintended consequences;
  4. Listen carefully to what the public is saying -- and use polling data wisely;
  5. Beware the perils of pandering to public opinion;
  6. Gain support by behaving like experts;
  7. Help people ask good questions;
  8. Paint a variety of pictures of success;
  9. Take time to educate the education reporters;
  10. Keep corporate leaders at the table;
  11. Be willing to consider real structural changes; and
  12. Make communications an engine of the learning enterprise.
Kathleen Harkey looks like a strong candidate deserving to be returned to the Board of Education. For those interested in getting to know more of her, she is having an ice cream social over in Dragon Park behind Eakin from 4:00 to 6:00 tomorrow. You will also be able to ask her questions should you attend Thursday's candidates debate.


  1. C mon mike, it is common knowledge that Kathleen takes all of her direction from City Hall. I don't think she has ever had an original thought. She is merely a puppet.

  2. And anonymous commenters always have the market on "common knowledge" cornered.

  3. I don't know all the school board members, but I do know and respect Kathleen Harkey enormously, and I know that she is one of the most independent, thoughtful and well-centered persons I've ever known.

    The idea that some cowardly anonymous poster could snipe at Kathleen without a scintilla of 'evidence' is a sad commentary on at least some of the people who are not supporters of Kathleen.