Cook for School Board

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Editor, Smithfield Times

I am writing in support of Kirstin Cook, who is running for Isle of Wight School Board from the Smithfield district. I’ve known Kirstin for years, but learned of her dedication to our students in 2009 when she helped spearhead a campaign to change the county’s grading scale.

When I approached the school board about our antiquated grading system, I thought it would be a simple matter of pointing to the research that had already been compiled. I soon discovered, though, that the school board was full of old men with old ideas. It became apparent I was going to need help. Kirstin was the first to step forward.

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At the time, Kirstin was president-elect of the Hardy Elementary PTA. Not satisfied to just be a member, she wanted to help direct the organization towards positive goals. Kirstin carried that same devotion into putting Isle of Wight students on par with others across the nation when vying for college admissions and merit-based scholarships.

When it became obvious we would need community support, Kirstin gathered a group of like-minded parents to garner that support. After nine months of meetings, a facebook and email campaign, TV and newspaper coverage, person-to-person conversations, letters to the editor and a county-wide survey of parents and students, we finally convinced the school board to adopt a modified 10 point grading scale.

The fight to change outdated thinking wasn’t easy. It took a concerted, tenacious effort to get the word out in a way that was informative and convincing. Kirstin never wavered in her commitment to implement a better, more just system of ranking our students alongside millions of others across America. Her efforts will make college education more accessible and less costly to numerous Isle of Wight students for years to come.

We need a person of Kirstin’s experience, character and commitment to our children on the Isle of Wight School Board.

Chuck Dunlap
Newport News