Because of a longstanding prior commitment, I regret that I am unable to attend Monday's rescheduled board meeting.

This is the greatest leadership challenge I have faced.

I appreciate those of you who are able to see past your very real anger and frustration and sadness and are able to recognize the efforts being taken throughout our schools to better meet the needs of all of our students, with special care to recognize and dismantle institutionalized racism within our school system.

I also acknowledge many that I've heard from who may be able to see good intent and perhaps even some movement towards equity goals, but who are tired of being asked to wait, or be patient, when the status quo is actively working to perpetuate systems that oppress and endanger people based upon race or gender/identity/orientation.

I honor the logical and reasonable feelings you express, especially those of you with children who are disadvantaged by this status quo. I know that these efforts don't seem to be fast enough.

I recognize that there are some of you who do not believe that our district is serious about confronting these real challenges. To those of you with no hope or confidence in our board or our district leadership, I understand that disrupting and demanding action may seem to be the only logical option afforded to you. Please know I will endeavor to hear you no matter how you choose to express yourself.

Continued disruptions, however, impede my ability to fulfill the core values that led me to run for office: values that I bring to my board service. As such, I can not condone board business coming to a halt.

These values guide me as I strive to make the best possible decisions that come before me:

Please understand: I am listening. I am motivated to help. This has been true throughout my board service. You do not have to disrupt meetings or make loud demands in order to have an opportunity to talk with me. Any time I hear concerns or frustrations or reports that our district isn't meeting the needs of students, I will respond. I will follow up.

Our community and our children depend on our schools. I'm hopeful the school district will move past this current crisis and emerge stronger and more capable of meeting the needs of our students and community.

Vanessa Sanburn