In the wake of the most trying times in my lifetime, I would shudder to think what being a superintendent of schools may entail. The job, the expectation, the perception, the responsibility and the accountability seem to change so frequently. Dr. Andrea Whitmarsh and her administration have consistently listened, heard and acted on what they believe—and what parents believe—is best for our children; and when necessary, they PIVOT.
I’m not saying they are perfect, and I wouldn’t expect them to be. I am saying I trust Dr. Whitmarsh, our administration and our educators with my children’s lives and their welfare because they have proven their competency over and over again. They have navigated some of the most tumultuous and challenging storms this country has faced—let alone Greene County—with grace and integrity. Dr. Whitmarsh’s children attended Greene County Public Schools (GCPS), and she has many family members who attend GCPS, so she understands the decisions made by administration and the school board affect every child in the county. When the pandemic began in 2020, she understood why some students needed to be in school for instruction, and why some families didn’t feel safe doing so. Our administration, under her direction, developed a plan that accommodated both. This year as things seemed to begin normalizing again, our administration had a plan for safely getting our children back into the school building. That plan had to change once again to align with the state mandate for masks, but our administration—under her direction—did what was best and safest for our children.
As a parent, apart from the pandemic, when I have had concerns to address at the superintendent/administration level, I have always felt welcomed and encouraged to contact Dr. Whitmarsh and her administration without hesitation, and I have always received thoughtful responses/proposed solutions.
I know emotions are at an all-time high right now, and I recognize people are passionate about specific issues (e.g., masking, vaccinating, bullying), but I would encourage you to consider having to make decisions for an entire county—comprising multiple races, genders, income levels, education levels, ability levels, etc. It’s easy to be an armchair warrior and say what you would do in their situation, but how many of us would actually step forward into an official public role to be criticized, alienated and held accountable? I, for one, appreciate their flexibility, transparency, communication and willingness to turn whining and groaning into feasible solutions. I applaud our district for its leadership and for accomplishing the unthinkable.
Dr. Whitmarsh, you, your administration team, your educators and your staff are truly remarkable. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.