7 Days Until the Election: When Educators Vote

IMG_8751Teachers-

My belief in public schools isn’t newly found. I’ve trusted each of my kids to San Marcos public school from their first day of kindergarten. When my littlest starts school in the fall, all three of my kids will be in SMCISD.

Now, I’m asking for your trust. When educators vote it matters—and I need your vote. Early voting is continuing today from 10 AM – 2 PM at the Hays County Government Center on Stagecoach Trail.

Jeff and I work hard to teach our kids about their rights and responsibilities as citizens of this great nation and they are always excited to go to the polls with us. They’re particularly excited today. We’ll be casting our votes later this morning and I hope we see you there!

No one will work harder than I will for our schools and our kids. With your vote, together we can make sure the district keeps putting kids first!

Thank you,
Anne

8 Days Until the Election: And I’m Asking For Your–Early–Vote

Friends,

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 4.33.14 PMJeff has been out-of-town at a conference for a couple of days, so in addition to getting all three kids where they need to be, I’ve been meeting more folks, putting up more signs, and filing my second campaign finance report. I’m grateful to the many dear friends–old and new–who have offered their help in the form of fixing us dinner, fixing fallen down signs, taking my kids to softball practice, taking a bumper magnet, building a spreadsheet, etc. etc. Thank you! Today, I had a great time chaperoning my son’s 1st Grade field trip to the San Antonio Zoo with a terrific group of kids, teachers, and parents.

Now, early voting is underway and I need your vote! If you’ve already voted, thank you! If you haven’t, the polls will be open tomorrow, Saturday, May 2, from 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M., Hays County Government Center, 712 S. Stagecoach Trail. We’ll be stopping by tomorrow afternoon between t-ball games and the Heritage Home Tour–I hope to see you there! And THANK YOU!

–Anne

9 Days Until the Election: Experience

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 10.43.40 AMI have the vision, the experience, and the work ethic to help make San Marcos schools truly exemplary. As your board member, I will listen to the community and make decisions with integrity and with common sense.

I have managed multi-million dollar corporate and non-profit budgets. I have hired, trained, and supervised staff.

I have served on the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Parent Cooperative Preschool in San Marcos, and was a member of the Local School Council in Chicago. Recently, I was appointed to the San Marcos Historic Preservation Commission. I graduated from Macalester College and received my master’s degree at NYU.

I am a consensus builder. I will bring a fresh perspective and my extensive professional experience as I work in good faith with the administration and the other members of the board to address our students’ needs and provide our kids with the education they require to succeed.

Here are some examples of the professional experience I will bring to the board:

Media Director, The Poetry Foundation | 2005-2010

  • Led Foundation’s media initiative, producing a wide range of programs for radio, television, web, podcast, print, and film with partners including American Public Media, The Library of Congress, Garrison Keillor, HBO, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, WGBH/Boston, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Reader’s Digest, The New York Times, and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Film Studies Program.
  • Directed the Foundation’s media relations, press communications, and community outreach. Served as Foundation spokesperson and primary public relations contact with press.
  • Co-directed national communication campaign for Poetry Out Loud with the National Endowment of Arts.
  • Worked with President, CFO, Trustees, and external stakeholders in rollout of plan for new Foundation headquarters. Collaborated closely with other members of the senior staff to conduct research and develop high-level strategy for all programming areas and events in support of organizational mission.
  • Managed multiple creative and communications agencies and staff. Negotiated contracts, managed annual budget, tracked program implementation and success. Evaluated funding requests and served on multiple prize committees.
  • Editorial consultant on A Child’s Garden of Poetry and Classical Baby (I’m Grown Up Now): The Poetry Show, produced by HBO/HBO Family in association with the Poetry Foundation, winners of the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program in 2010 and Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program in 2011.

 

Executive Assistant to Dean, University of Illinois at Chicago | 2002-2005

  • Worked with university public relations office to coordinate announcements of faculty achievements and  lectures. Organized annual year-end showcase highlighting major faculty research projects for press, local community leaders, and state legislators. Compiled and managed research portfolio on Federal reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

 

Consumer Marketing Manager, Bravo TV | 2000-2002

  • Developed and implemented successful national advertising campaigns for Bravo programs, including Cirque du Soleil, Inside the Actors Studio, Second City Presents, Independent Spirit Awards, and The It Factor.
  • Managed annual department budget of $12 million. Managed staff, negotiated agency fees and agreements. Developed strategy and oversaw media buys within budget, maximizing returns through use of franchise positions and frequency options.

10 Days Until the Election: Great Teachers

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 10.41.27 AMAs I toured the high school a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to see students in Jack Moore’s theatre arts class reciting William Blake’s classic poem The Tyger.  When I asked about it, Mr. Moore explained that he routinely asks students to learn a variety of classical and contemporary poems to help them, among other things, learn how to articulate and enunciate their words.

Students memorizing poems under the guidance of teachers who understand the power of language and the value of studying great literature is music to my ears.

For six years, I worked with the Poetry Foundation and National Arts Endowment in creating and implementing Poetry Out Loud,  a national recitation contest that provides free teaching resources to classrooms across the country and annually awards $50,000 in student awards and school stipends.

The study of great literature is part of a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Research shows that studying poetry helps students understand the way in which language is constructed. It helps students learn how to write coherent sentences and paragraphs. It helps students learn that most necessary of life skills—how to successfully communicate.

Research also shows that the consistent presence of a single caring adult in a young person’s life can make the difference between that child staying in school or dropping out, between the child realizing her potential or failing to achieve her dreams. Many times, a teacher or a coach or a school staff member plays that role in a student’s life.

The teacher who gave my adolescent self the confidence and the skills to succeed was Ruth Michaud.

For thirty years, Mrs. Michaud was a much-beloved English teacher at Mount Vernon High School. With her signature wit, high expectations, uncompromising standards, sophisticated style, exacting intellect, and her unfailing kindness and generosity, Mrs. Michaud taught a generation MVHS students to be readers, writers, and engaged citizens of the world.

Through her teaching of poetry, literature, and composition, as well as her personal attention and devotion to students as individuals, she left an indelible mark on me. She truly changed my life.

Mrs. Michaud taught me to how to punctuate a sentence and construct an argument. She also taught me how to speak with empathy and curiosity. She was strict. She never let me off easy. She insisted on rigor, on discipline, on thinking and working harder. She pushed me to weigh what I witnessed, to think critically and from different perspectives, to develop a vocabulary of compassion and justice, to study, to be precise, to edit, and then to trust my imagination, my intelligence, and my vision of the world.

It was my great good fortune to be in Mrs. Michaud’s classroom many times during my high school career. For the last twenty-five years, moreover, I have been fortunate to call her my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. Mrs. Michaud was sharp and bright and brilliant, and I will be forever grateful for the model she set of a life lived generously, in service to truth and education. It’s no exaggeration to say that Mrs. Michaud was, and is, my hero.

Ruth Michaud died on September 13, 2014. I miss her being in this world and I work every day to live up to her example and honor her tremendous legacy.

11 Days Until the Election: I’m Anne Halsey and I Believe in Public Schools

IMG_8742Thanks very much to the San Marcos Area League of Women Voters for hosting a great debate last night. Thanks to the other candidates for their thoughtful and collegial dialog and thanks to the many voters who turned out and asked great questions. Every family and taxpayer in San Marcos has a stake in this election and an informed electorate strengthens our democracy. And thanks, especially, to all of my terrific friends—and to my dad!—who came out and showed their support. I appreciate your trust in me and I know that working together we can give our kids the education they require to succeed. –Anne

****

I’m Anne Halsey and I’m a mom who believes in public schools. I have 2 kids currently in the district and my youngest will start kinder in the fall.

When we went to put our oldest into kindergarten, many people told us we should not send our kids to San Marcos schools. We were shocked. But we decided to assess the schools for ourselves, and thank goodness we did.

For five years now, our kids have been thriving. My parents were public school educators in Iowa, where I grew up. I’m a proud product of—and champion for—public education. I am running for the Board of Trustees because I believe public schools are the backbone of a healthy community. If chosen for this position, I will work tirelessly to make our schools the very best that they can be.

I have toured every one of our campuses over the last few weeks and I can say with certainty that great things are happening in our district every day. I have seen exceptional teachers and administrators in action. Above all, I have seen classroom after classroom of students engaged in meaningful learning.

We have to send a new message to every child and family in San Marcos: You belong here and you will succeed here!

12 Days Until the Election: League of Women Voters Debate

JH, LHW, EPW, AFH at 34 Post Crossing CrowleyNearly one hundred years ago, my great-great aunts Abigail Halsey and Lizbeth Halsey White were among the first members of the newly-formed League of Women Voters. Both women were writers and both also served terms as Town Historian, as Regents of their local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and on the board of their local American Red Cross.

My family’s longstanding commitment to civic service makes me especially proud to participate in the League of Women Voters Candidates Debate, tonight, Monday, April 27, at 7:00 P.M., at the San Marcos Activity Center. I hope to see you there!

–Anne

 

 

13 Days Until the Election: Expanding Community Partnerships

IMG_8779On Sunday afternoon, my kids participated in the annual Texas State University String Project Spring Recital. The String Project is a wonderful program started by Texas State professors Ames Asbell and Karla Hamelin that instructs elementary school children in the Suzuki method, while also training college students to become music teachers.

One of our greatest strengths as a district is our access to a wealth of community resources, including Texas State, as well as numerous church communities, innovative small businesses and nonprofits, and multinational corporations.

We need to expand access across the district to programs already on offer that draw on the resources of our community partners.

School Fuel—originally a partnership of First Baptist Church and CTMC, which provides hundreds of kids with nutritious food every week—is a prime example. Another is the after school computer coding club at my children’s elementary school that was created by Eduardo Rios, an SMCISD father who works at Microsoft.

We need to emulate and build on programs like:

  • Creation in Motion, a modern dance class for kids taught by college students and created by Kaysie Seitz Brown in the Dance Department at Texas State;
  • Early Act First Knight, a character building program sponsored by the Rotary Club;
  • Lego Robotics, an after school club started by SMCISD father Johnny Vargas;
  • ArtSpace, a studio art class for children held at El Centro and directed by Professor Linda Kelsey-Jones that trains Texas State art majors to become art teachers.

I believe that participation in extracurricular activities increases a student’s overall engagement in his or her own learning process.

As a board member, my priorities will be working for student equity, improving early childhood education, expanding extracurricular opportunities for all students—and especially at the elementary and middle schools, and ensuring that all of our students graduate college and career ready.

–Anne

 

15 Days Until the Election: For My Mother

imageOne of my favorite quotes about parenting is from the writer Meghan O’Rourke who says, “A mother is a story with no beginning.”

April 24 is a difficult day for me. It’s the day four years ago when we said good-bye to my mama.

My mother died a few weeks after the cancer that we thought she had beaten returned with a vengeance. When she got sick, I took our three children and went to Iowa to take care of her while Jeff finished out the semester at Texas State. It was an incredibly hard time in our lives, but this community opened its heart to us and rallied around me and my family in an amazing way. I will never forget the outpouring of love and support we received and it’s one of the reasons why Jeff and I are so glad to be raising our family in San Marcos.

My mom was tough, and smart, and funny. She didn’t pull any punches, and you could always count on her to give you her honest opinion. She loved to read and she loved children. When I was in elementary school she served as a class mom and co-led a Great Books club.

Born during the early years of World War II, my mom was raised on a farm in Iowa. My grandfather farmed and my grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse. They were frugal folks who knew what it meant to scrimp and save, who knew what it meant to conserve, who understood the value of a dollar. They didn’t have much, but they made do. And they placed a great value on hard work, responsibility, and education. Just as her mother had for her, my mother saw to it that both of her daughters received great educations.

I miss my mother every day, but I’ve been especially missing her lately. I know how much she would love to see our new house and to watch the kids play ball.

The other day my littlest, who was less than a year old when my mother died, said to me completely unprompted, “I wish your mommy was here to vote for you. I think she’d be really proud of you.”

16 Days Until the Election: Real Time

IMG_0047Over breakfast this morning as I was packing lunches, signing homework folders, filling out field trip forms, putting white t-shirts for field day into backpacks, folding uniforms, bagging snacks for the team, and helping put the finishing touches on a mountain lion habitat, I was also clipping Box Tops and counting my blessings. I’m proud to live in a community in which so many people give so freely of their time, talents, and personal resources to support our kids. Like the PE teachers who sort all of the Box Tops that parents collect in order to buy basketballs and jump ropes. Like the parents and teachers who run the after school robotics, and gardening, and computer coding clubs. Like the many teachers I know who, after putting their own kids to bed, grade papers every night until midnight.

Tomorrow night, I will be joining other moms and dads in helping with the Crockett Carnival—our PTO’s annual school fundraiser. Come by and dunk Mr. Wozniak and play some games for a good cause. And then on Monday, get out and vote in early voting. Make a difference. Our kids are worth it.