I am a third-generation Coeur d’Alene native and, proudly, a fourth-generation educator. My mother, Betty McLain, was a longtime servant of Coeur d’Alene – first as a district teacher, followed by a long career at North Idaho College and, in retirement, a member of multiple community boards, including the North Idaho College board for years. People tell me they miss her and share consistent themes about her as a board member and chair: thoughtful, thorough, open-minded, tolerant, listener, willing to hear all sides. She was a facilitator and, in trying times, a consensus builder.
Betty might use the word “blather” to describe the current flurry of opinions and political controversy surrounding our board, through social media, blogging and public speaking.
I can hear her voice of reason, advising the trustees: respect your given position of public trust. Focus on the children and the operations of this large system of people. Your position does not provide you a voice for political/personal viewpoints and single-minded agendas that distract you from your mission. You represent all of this community and district, as diverse in our backgrounds and cultures as we are in the many roles we fill.
You represent us all.