As I read Patti Rasmussen’s endorsement (Sept. 16) of Teresa Todd for the William S. Hart Union High School District’s board seat in Area 3, I was taken aback by her statement that read, “Through a series of appointments and cancelled elections, four board members of the governing board – not voters – have decided who represents this area for 13 years.”
It is true that, in 2017, a vacancy arose. As there was only one year remaining for that position, board policy required that an appointment be made. Five individuals applied for consideration, among them Cherise Moore and Teresa Todd.
Because of her stellar credentials and proven track record as a leader in the educational field – she has worked with educators across the country, held teaching positions at every level, and proven her capabilities in administrative leadership while director of numerous programs in Chandler, Arizona, Burbank and in our own Hart district – the board made a very wise decision in choosing Moore to fill that position.
In 2018, the Area 3 position was up for election. Yes, election by the people living in Area 3 election for a four-year term. The board had no part to play in the 2018 election as Ms. Rasmussen would have you believe. Having seen Cherise Moore in action, witnessing her capability to lead and get things done, the Area 3 community chose her to continue to represent them. No one contested her bid for election, not even Ms. Todd, and, running as an uncontested candidate, her constituents duly elected her by acclimation.
Among the many things that Moore either initiated or had an integral part in completing as a board member over the past four years include the expansion of career technical education offerings, the establishment of school wellness centers, the development of ratios that differentiate site-based funding based on student demographics, the creation of a strategic plan and new purpose statement for the district, the development of board governance guidance, and the establishment of a more inclusive environment where all students feel welcome through the equity and diversity collaboratives. She also advocated for increasing base funding which was finally realized this year and took action on policy that enhances educational excellence for students. Moore knows how to get things done and her record proves that.
In the last two and a half years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators have faced challenges no one could have ever imagined. Sadly, the challenges were not just the result of the health crisis or the pivot to online learning, but also, as we see throughout our country, from those seeking to take control of public education. Moore, herself, was attacked and maligned on many occasions at board meetings yet she maintained the poise, dignity and professionalism that she is so well-known for. She never let these personal attacks get in the way of doing what she was elected to do: protect public education. For her, it’s about putting students first. It’s about engaging parents as partners in their children’s education. It’s about honoring and respecting the highly qualified, educated and skilled professionals who teach our children every day.
Supported by students, parents, community members and educators who agree that students matter, representation matters, and leadership matters, I know that Cherise Moore will continue her mission when re-elected in November by the residents of Hart district’s Area 3.