Three letters to the editor in support of Iowa City school board candidates

Iowa City Community School District — Adam Burke/Little Village

Local elections take place Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.

By Michael Tilley, Iowa City

With four years of prior experience as a board member, Ruthina Malone is an exemplar of what a school board member should be. I was proud to have supported Ruthina when she ran for school board in 2017, and she lived up to my high expectations. Ruthina and her fellow board members have been a beacon of strength and courage during the pandemic, standing up for student health and safety when other communities were bowing to political pressure. She has been instrumental in making diversity, equity, and inclusion a central part of how the ICCSD thinks about every issue, and yet she does this as she builds mutually beneficial and respectful relationships with fellow board members, administrators, teachers, and staff. She is also not afraid to push for changes, and she is thoughtful, deliberate, and eminently reasonable about each of the critical issues facing our district. I count it a privilege to have been her friend over the past 5 years, and encourage you to join me in voting for Ruthina Malone for Iowa City Community School Board on November 2.

By Jeff Allen, Iowa City

We have six candidates (including two incumbents) to fill four seats on the ICCSD school board. One of the new candidates is Dr. Krista Burrus, an educational researcher and mother of two children attending school in the district. I’ve worked with Krista for the last 7+ years and I’d like to tell you why she’d be an outstanding addition to our school board.

First, she will make decisions based on evidence of what’s best for our kids. Krista has a keen ability to use data and evidence that is relevant to the decision at hand, evaluate the quality of the research and understand if it is generalizable to our district. Her research experience will boost the board’s capacity in this area and be an important complement to the other directors’ skills and experiences.

Second, Krista is someone who can be trusted to be respectful, collegial and curious in her interactions with other board members, district leaders and community members. Krista is a great listener and learner. She will help maintain the strong working relationship that the board and district leaders have demonstrated in recent years, which is especially important during times of unprecedented challenges.

Third, she’ll use objective and principled decision making to support diversity, equity and inclusion in our district — and ultimately make choices that support the health of our community. Please join me in voting for Krista on Nov. 2.

By Rebekah Tilley, Iowa City

Jayne Finch is the embodiment of “be the change you want to see in the world.”

After a negative experience with Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) school administration that profoundly impacted her son, Jayne opted to volunteer in the ICCSD to positively reform it from within. For four years, she served on the ICCSD Equity Advisory Committee, including three years as chair, where she successfully advocated for changing the ICCSD disciplinary protocols in ways that will begin to counteract racial disparities in school discipline.

For the past year, I served with Jayne on the ICCSD Equity Committee and thus have a good sense of the type of school board member she will be. She is a careful listener, thoughtful actor, and advocates for and amplifies the voices of underrepresented and voiceless students. She is extremely knowledgeable of the past and current issues facing the ICCSD. And she has the temperament to work positively and effectively with the current members of the board and the ICCSD administration.

Finch is exactly the kind of inclusive, collaborative leader needed on the ICCSD school board.

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