I want to take a moment to let you know that on the 28th of February I filed paperwork to run for the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education.
At the time, I planned to spend a little time to launch my campaign website and open a bank account before making the official announcement. But as we all know, things around us began to change very quickly around this time, and like you, I've been working very hard to adapt to this new way of life.
As many of you know, I campaigned hard but narrowly lost the election for this same position in 2016. During that campaign, I highlighted my many years of experience leading PTAs and PTOs as an active parent in OPS. I talked about the need for meaningful community engagement, the importance of recess and unstructured play, and how parents, teachers, and community members deserve to have their voices heard. This remains true today.
In 2016 I also talked about how my background in technology would provide an important perspective on our school board to help our district and students prepare for 21st-century challenges. But I had no idea then, or frankly even three weeks ago, that we'd be dealing with what we're up against today.
The reality is that we've been caught flat-footed. We don't have the technology or digital literacy to quickly adapt to the uncertainties we face now. On any normal Sunday evening, our children would be preparing for another week of school. But not tonight. It's so bizarre that we have no idea when our next "school night" will be. Meanwhile, neighboring districts have been able to adapt more effectively because their educators have the professional development and their students have access to the technology to allow it.
In the 2020-2021 school year, I'll have a freshman at Central High School, a 7th grader at Lewis and Clark Middle School, a 3rd grader at Wilson Focus School, and a 1st grader at Edison Elementary. I'll have nine years as an active parent in Omaha Public Schools. But on top of that, I'll have the background and skills necessary to help our school district overcome this gap in technology. I promise to do everything in my power to work with board colleagues and our district to make sure we are prepared.
Here's what's next: I have one opponent in this race, which means I won't appear on the May primary ballot.
Sometime between now and this summer, I'm going to ask for your financial support so I have the campaign materials to reach voters in Subdistrict 3. But I'm not asking for your money tonight. Instead, I'm asking you to tell your friends and family about this campaign. I'm also asking that you reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas to help support our public school district.
Call or text me at 402-514-7535, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to chat. All perspectives are welcome. I'm also on Facebook at facebook.com/GatesForOPS and Twitter at @GatesForOPS.
More soon. Until then, take care of yourselves and your families. And wash your hands.
Lots of love.