In urban public school districts such as ours, where challenges are many and resources are limited, the importance of electing qualified, engaged board members cannot be underestimated. Change for the better can only occur with great effort and commitment to the future of the children growing up in our city.
We’re fortunate to have three candidates running for the school board, but one in particular, Laura Massenat, seems to stand out with the qualities needed to be an effective board member.
Among the candidates, Laura has had the broadest experience as a parent with children in the district. She has seen firsthand what works in the district and what does not serve its students.
right Oklahoma Gazette publisher Bill Bleakley
Her children attend district schools at all levels and types. Two children attend Wilson Elementary School. One is enrolled at Classen School of Advanced Studies, and another is at Harding Charter Preparatory High School. One of her opponents has chosen home schooling and the other has two children at Wilson Elementary.
There is nothing better than firsthand experiences as a parent with children in a school district to have a full understanding of how, and if, it meets the needs of the students and community.
Laura is fully involved as a parent in each of her children’s schools by participating actively in the Wilson PTA, Classen Parent Teacher Student Association and the Harding Parent Organization.
Her concern about the growing crisis in child nutrition and the threatening epidemics of obesity and diabetes among our schoolchildren resulted in her co-founding Eat Wise OKC. The nonprofit organization works with the school district to address the nutritional quality of the district’s school lunches.
In addition to her involvement as a parent in the district, Laura owns and operates Elemental Coffee Roasters, a retail and wholesale business in the center of District 4. Her experience employing a significant workforce gives her a unique perspective much needed on the board, which most likely spends more than 85 percent of its budget on personnel costs.
Laura is totally committed to the future of our inner city, not only as a resident, school district patron and business person, but also as a board member of Midtown Redevelopment Corporation, a nonprofit serving Midtown. Through that participation and her other endeavors, she serves the development of one of the most vibrant areas in our city for which strong public education is essential.
right Laura Massenat
The next District 4 school board member will face many hard decisions. The district’s budget is limited and the needs are great. It is vital that the voters elect a candidate who is independent and has no political ties or political obligations to detract from making independent decisions about what is in the best interest of district students and our community.
The voters of District 4 should strongly consider voting for Laura Massenat on Tuesday.
Bleakley is publisher of Oklahoma Gazette.