As we close out the year and usher in a new one, I would like to thank everyone who supported my unsuccessful November bid for re-election to the Beaufort County Board of Education. Whether you assisted with the petition process to get on the ballot, provided financial assistance, campaign sign distribution or collection, advice, words of encouragement or a vote, I sincerely appreciate it. A special thank you to my wife, Barbara, and my family for being so tolerant and understanding during my years of public service.
I also want to express my appreciation to those of you throughout Beaufort County who have become more aware of and involved in our public schools. Those improvements made in our schools recently are due in part to your engagement.
I encourage you to remain involved and aware, and to get others to join you. Ask about and become a part of the mandated School Improvement Council in your neighborhood school or schools. Businesses, retirees, military, non-parents as well as parents of our students need to be a part of the School Improvement Councils.
For the past six years, you have given me the opportunity to serve as a public education policymaker for all of our children. While not always successful in achieving my expectations for the school board or myself, I hope that I have helped promote and demonstrate the proposition that there is strength in the diversity within our county AND that working together for the common good results in better outcomes for our students and our community as a whole. Let me thank those competent teachers, building leaders and staff throughout the school district who make positive contributions to our success daily.
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My congratulations and support is extended to the recently elected school board -- seven new individuals and four returning. While elected as individuals, please never lose sight of the fact that you are a member of a team (board). Don't fall into the trap of parochialism. Each of you possesses assets that could assist in the academic and personal improvement of ALL our students, but you must establish a common path to apply your talents.
In closing, I challenge you, as elected public education leaders, to demonstrate to our students, the school administration and community in general how to maximize problem solving and minimize problem creation.
Fred Washington Jr. of Beaufort has served as chairman of the Beaufort County Board of Education since 2006.