Dear Chapel Hill-Carrboro Voters:
Amy Fowler is the best candidate running for a seat on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board in this election cycle. I say this with great confidence, but I did not arrive at the conclusion lightly – and I’d like to briefly share my reasons in the hopes that my enthusiastic support for Dr. Fowler will inspire other voters.
But first, a word about me: While I cannot say that I know what it’s like to be on our local school board, I can say that I know what it’s like to live with someone who does. For the past four years my spouse Andrew Davidson has served on the Board. During that time I have not, to the surprise of some folks and to my own occasional consternation, been exposed to confidential information. I have, however, been exposed to many, many single-parent nights during which my partner was attending a board meeting, a hearing, an SIT meeting at one of the schools in our district, or else preparing for one or more of those activities. (Our family’s decision for Andrew not to pursue another term is in fact based precisely on that time commitment away from home.) “It’s part of the job,” Andrew will tell me when people stop to talk to him about their problems with the bus scheduler app, or the funding for the DL programs, or a concern with a teacher while we are out grocery shopping, or sitting in the waiting room at our pediatrician’s office, or walking our dog in our neighborhood. Once, a constituent we’d never met before showed up at our house, rang the doorbell, and ranted on our front porch about her kid’s high school teacher while our children were still asleep on a Saturday morning. True story.
Back to Amy Fowler, and to that pediatrician’s office: We got to know Dr. Fowler when she joined Chapel Hill Children’s Clinic as a provider. We found Dr. Fowler to be an uncommonly sensitive physician, the kind of doctor with not only clinical expertise but also the proverbial “bedside manner” that patients love. She asked us good questions about our kids and took the time to listen to us. If you have a child with special needs, you need a doctor to take extra time with you. We did not need to explain that to Amy Fowler. She has always been a source of information and support for our family and for many others who are in our large medical practice, too.
We got to know Dr. Fowler still better when she took over the leadership of our district’s Special Needs Advisory Committee. Talk about a selfless commitment: Directing SNAC and its many initiatives to ensure that, at least in our district, “all means all” in terms of the programs and supports offered to our most fragile (often literally) populations, Dr. Fowler joins a list of legendary special needs advocates and community leaders in this district, including Jamezetta Bedford, Adela Van Name, Linda Varblow, and Lisa Kaylie, who have championed the rights of students who require extra help to get through the public school system for reasons to do with medical, mental health, and emotional exceptionalities. The reason our school system has the reputation as one of the best special education providers in the state is in large part down to the work of Dr. Amy Fowler.
Over these past weeks, the public and I have had the opportunity to observe and evaluate the perspectives and agendas of the various school board candidates. Dr. Fowler is not a flashy person; she’s got a quiet countenance and an understated demeanor. That’s because she’s busy pursuing greater equity in this district—not only for special needs kids, for all kids. If I could sum up Dr. Fowler’s candidacy in one word, it would be “inclusion.” She advocates inclusive education so that all our kids get a fair shot at life and success. If you are a person who “moved here for the schools”—and that’s what Andrew and I hear all the time when we’re out in the community, testimonies of people who, like us, did just that—then you need Amy Fowler on the school board. She is not only passionate about pursuing high standards of achievement; she is a hard worker, and a determined advocate who means what she says.
A lot of local friends send me private emails asking what I think about the upcoming school board election—perhaps because they might think I have some “inside information” on the candidates. Rest assured, I do not. But I’m going to tell you readers what I tell them all: Vote for Amy Fowler for CHCCS School Board.
Thanks for your time,