Hartmann: through servant leadership the Scottsdale community will persevere

If you care and you can, you must.

Kim Hartmann

This is my most important take-away from my four years on the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board. Community service and volunteering has always been a vital component of vibrant communities. However, it is clear to me that this is more important than ever.

My motivation to pursue the SUSD Governing Board was always a simple pay-it-forward plan. My two children attended K-12 and graduated from SUSD. I am happy to report, four years later, they have both graduated from college and successfully launched their careers!

I have much to be grateful for and ever more committed to public education.

However, it is also clear, that at this moment in time, that every cornerstone public institution, belief system and commitment, including public education, seems to be under attack by some one or some group. In my experience, more often than not, the most extreme views, are not even close to being in the majority.

In fact, these views and voices are typically a small but very loud, vocal and organized group. However, they attract attention. It is also in my experience that the vast majority of parents, teachers and community members are just doing their day-to-day, very best job at being good parents, teachers and neighbors without much time to get involved in the fray.

It is for this reason, that I share with you my personal experience: if you care and you can, you must.

Share your voice. Share your commitment. Share your time, talent and treasure, whatever that may be, to the institutions and causes that mean the most to you. For if we do not all take just a small amount of our time to serve others, others without the same positive intent will, and it is not without consequence.

So here are a few ideas, as they do not need to be as time consuming as running for an elected position. Send a note or email to a principal or teacher and let them know how much you appreciate them. Attend an SUSD board meeting and speak during a three-minute public comment and share what you like about your school and child’s experience.

Join the PTA or PTO of your school. Write your Legislature and let them know how important public education is to you and your family. Vote.

I have helped to create, with the collaboration of other passionate volunteers, two sustaining SUSD organizations that support our students in important ways. The first is Business United for Scottsdale Schools, which is a workforce initiative housed in the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce.

If you are a professional with time, talent or treasure, we are looking for speakers, mentor, field trips that provide students exposure to real workforce and career experiences. Organization such as Nationwide, Walgreen’s and the Scottsdale Rotary have already stepped up in meaningful ways and are changing lives.

The second is the Coronado Success Initiative, which is in year two of a multi-year high school academic turnaround plan. CSI is about to launch its Tonalea K-8 academic support plan as well. You can get involved and the community needs your support.

Join or contact the Scottsdale Charros, Chamber, SUSD Foundation or Coronado Foundation and ask how you can get involved. These are extraordinary organizations with exceptional people that are also focused on students, education and our community.

So, as I conclude my SUSD School Board service which I would characterize as one of the most exhausting but exhilarating, risky but rewarding, community service roles there may be, I say from experience: if you care and you can, you must.

The reward is tenfold. I am happy to support, direct and connect you any way I can. My email is khartmann@susd.org.

Editor’s note: Ms. Hartmann is a member of the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board

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