Beloit deserves a better district

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It's a new day, and a new board, with an opportunity for change.

THE SCHOOL DISTRICT of Beloit needed a fresh start, and it's hard to characterize the current situation any other way.

The "old-timer" is the current board president, Pam Charles, who was elected just two years ago in 2016. Next is Wendy Sanchez, elected in 2017. Then there's David Wilson and Kyle Larsen, elected in 2018. And the three newcomers, just appointed to fill vacancies: John Wong, Jeff Klett and Nora Gard.

So there's not much history here, and in a district frequently plagued with deep conflicts and management issues, that can be a positive thing.

NAME ANY ORGANIZATION, and what makes or breaks its chances for success can be summed up in a word - leadership.

Good leadership builds sound management structures; clear goals and policies; solid tools for measuring success or failure; open channels of communication; and fosters a culture of excellence, coupled with accountability.

Importantly, in the public sector, good leadership insists on transparency and inclusivity with all stakeholders.

None of that is a revelation or requires a revolution. It's how success occurs, by empowering people to be their best and holding them accountable for performance.

The "product" in this situation is the students, who are entrusted to the district by their parents with the understanding they'll get a good enough education to allow them to emerge as functioning and successful adults. Making sure that "bottom line" is met is the job of the board members and the adults who work in the district. Failure is not the kids' fault. It's the adults' fault - and that includes parents.

THIS NEW BOARD has something of a clean slate, an opportunity to stabilize the district and set a new direction laser-focused on turning mediocrity into the measured pursuit of excellence. Outcomes for students is what counts, not the push and pull from the adults in the schools or the boardroom.

Beloit needs - and deserves - a better school district. Let's get to work.

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