Thursday, March 8, 2012

Time had flown by, and the election is next Tuesday.   Anyone living in any town in the district is able to vote for any candidate.    As an example, I am a Durham resident and am able to vote for candidates for the Lee and Madbury seats.   I strongly endorse the following candidates.

Maria Barth  Lee .   She has  prior school board experience and was the chair of the Kittery board.  She is well versed in both Robert's Rules and Right to Know Law.

Tom Newkirk  At large.   He is a nationally recognized author and educator.   He has worked with district teachers on reading and writing.

Ed Charle Madbury.  He is a very experienced physician that has worked with a wide variety of age groups and provides a fresh prospective.

Please Vote March13 

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Return of Day Baseball

It's hard to believe but I did not attend my first night game until the late 70's.   Wrigley field,  pictured above, would not have night baseball until the 1988,  and I was in high school when I ventured into the old County Stadium to see the Milwaukee Brewers.  Head East did a pregame concert and every Brew Crew home run resulted in Bernie Brewer dunking into a giant beer mug.   I couldn't believe we didn't do this at Wrigley and wondered if we would ever get with the program and join the modern world.   It wasn't until the early 90's that I would hop on the green line in Oak Park and ride up to the circus that was Wrigleyville for my first Cubs night game.  It was so much fun that I figured that the antiquated day game was for little kids and geriatrics.

20 years later as I find myself on the doorstep of 50, and  I've finally come to appreciate the simple pleasures of day baseball.  Sitting in the shade in our seats at loge box 138  eating takeout Thai food from Pad Thai,  I find myself thinking it just doesn't get any better than this.    As luck would have it during our ticket drawing for this year's Red Sox season,  I was able to grab all day games, and find myself back where I was in the 70's.   Older and a little wiser and still enjoying baseball.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vote March 13

Al Howland For The Durham School Board Seat
Experienced Educator: Former high school Biology and Earth Science teacher.  
Invested in Oyster River Schools: Three children in the schools , one in elementary, one in middle school, and one at the high school.
Engaged in the Schools:  Volunteer at the Moharimet library; assumed the role of Captain Balance to help promote this year’s Moharimet school theme; help run the ORMS ski club.
Our school district has experienced significant changes in a short period of time and as a result, we’ve had conflict.  How can we resolve our differences and move the district forward on a productive path?  We can:
Improve communication between community members, teachers, and the school board.  Encourage open dialogue and clearly articulate goals.
Examine academic programs and align the budget to our strengths and weaknesses.
Engage parents as volunteers and participants in enrichment programs.
Please vote March 13

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring Training is Almost Here

For the last 10 years,  the mid point of February has marked the time that our group divides our Red Sox weekend season tickets.   Another year of cramped seats, no cupholder,  and great conversation.   It also reminds me of the long list of amazing games I have attended over the last 40 years.   Before our move to New England and my introduction to Fenway,  I spent many a summer day at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.   The sad news of Gary Carter's passing has me thinking about that wonderful time in the mid 80's that was a golden era.   Harry Caray belting out an off key rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, the crushing disappointment of 1984, the beginning of night baseball, and the power house Mets.   RIP Gary and thanks for your part in my baseball journey.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Who Am I?

I am Al Howland and Iʼm running for the Durham seat on the Oyster River School Board. My family and I have lived in Durham for thirteen and a half years, and despite the power outages, think this is a remarkable area. My wife Janet Perkins is a full time OB/GYN at a private practice. We have strong ties to the schools as a result of three children in the district: one at the elementary school, one at the middle school, and one at the high school.
Before I embarked on my current job as cook, driver and volunteer (read: stay-at-home dad), I worked as a high school science teacher in suburban Chicago. In addition to teaching Biology and Earth Science, I had an opportunity to coach girlsʼ cross country and boysʼ track. One of my most memorable experiences came working on a grant directing students to conduct a building energy audit. It is a remarkable thing to watch engaged students take charge. Recently, I have had the chance to volunteer at the Moharimet library, and, despite my poorly guarded disguise, I am Captain Balance! These opportunities have given me a chance to learn about our kids and many wonderful elementary programs. Iʼve also learned a great deal from parents as a result of helping to run the ORMS ski club and Kids Who Care Club, started by my wife several years ago.

One thing that is clear to those of us living in this area is that our schools form the bedrock of our community. They help to provide our kids with the tools they need to succeed in the future. They have introduced us to amazing teachers and parents, helping us form some of our best friendships. They help our area remain attractive to families and that helps maintain our property values. It is to everyoneʼs advantage to have our schools thrive. Despite those incentives, our district is experiencing painful conflict. We have become diverted from our primary task of evaluating our academics, keeping those which work and discarding those that donʼt. In order for us to move forward on a productive path, we need to know how effective our programs are and how best to allocate our limited resources.

As a board member I would encourage all parties involved to speak freely, regardless of their point of view. It will be my duty to conduct all district business in a manner that meets the Right to Know law. I must evaluate the superintendentʼs ability to provide efficient and effective academic programs. It is my aim to improve community dialogue in a civil and constructive way so that we can address the challenges confronting the district.

I value: Honesty, fairness, equal opportunity, fiscal responsibility.

Things that are important to me: All students have the opportunity to maximize their talents; our schools demonstrate academic excellence; we support teachersʼ and studentsʼ quests to seek innovative solutions to real world issues.

My strengths: Working with parents, teachers and students; listening to and considering all points of view; intellectually curious

Thank you for your consideration.

 Al Howland Durham