This summer, we lost a dear friend and an incredibly passionate member of our community. Cindy Crowe was a wonderful person extremely generous with her time, her attention, and any help she could provide. She served on the Westerville City School’s Board of Education for over 14 years, right up until she passed away at age 50 after a year-long battle with ALS. She was a loud advocate for any program or initiative that could have a positive impact on students of this district.
Out of over 600 school districts in the state, Westerville is impressively the 12th largest district in Ohio. There is a lot of diversity, high rates of ESL and free & reduced lunch families, and we have heralded special education programs. Managing such a large district can be unwieldy. It’s certainly expensive. And it’s definitely important to get things right.
For the past few years, there has been a very vocal anti-tax group here in Westerville that fought against school levies, teacher raises, new hires, and even attempted to repeal a successfully voted-in levy. Our School Board Members were attacked repeatedly for "not listening" to "cost saving plans" from this group.
When I think of Cindy, this video of a board meeting from before I was ever involved with the district always comes to mind.
Says Cindy - "The plan that we keep hearing about… is not a plan. We’ve looked at it. We reviewed the requests that were made."
The group’s cost saving ideas that she fights against in this clip:
- A 15% decrease in salary for ALL school district employees
- A health insurance plan which actually would have been *more* expensive because of our teachers’ average years of experience
She says bluntly, "that solution isn’t going to work."
Watch this YouTube Clip
Does this video highlight the beautiful, pleasant, fun, charming person that Cindy is? No.
Did everybody agree with everything she had to say while she was on the board? No.
But more valuable than trying to please everybody - since we know that’s nearly impossible - is working to accomplish what feels right, especially for the greater good, and being strong enough to stand up for those principles when they are questioned and threatened.
Unfortunately, the loudest voice typically triumphs. Negative noise has made would-be dreamers pipe down, back down, and abandon their initiatives.
Does this video highlight the strength and resolve that Cindy displayed? Yes.
She makes it clear that she will not be strong-armed into backing down. We could use more people that will not only strive to make a difference, but also push back against the negative voices. We could use more people like Cindy.
Final Note and Link:
"I surrounded myself with people who are givers and not takers. We should be givers in this world. It just seems right." - Our good friend Cindy Crowe
Interested in helping Cindy’s organization for ALS research?
My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video.