I am a member of the Down Home NC committee which interviewed Ms. Forney. I was impressed with her thoughtful responses to the questions we asked. Her answers were neither reactionary nor impractical. Ms. Forney listed three priorities which led her to see herself to “be a voice for the voiceless:”
• Improve and develop communication with the board between parents and the greater community.
• Attend to an inclusive curriculum (from earliest grades through high school) which integrates diversity, especially Black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC).
• Concentrate on increasing numbers of school personnel of color, especially teachers, recognizing how important it is for children of color to see and relate to professionals who may more closely represent their identities.
In addition, Ms. Forney related other concerns. She stressed the importance of both physical and mental health supports; supporting teachers who stand for equity and fairness; providing meaningful district-wide training for active anti-racism; and advocating strong policies to make bullying for any reason widely unacceptable.
I believe that electing Tausha Forney is an ethical and enlightened response to the times we are in. Her work as co-director and teacher at the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center further equips her for this position. Her educational background in sociology as well as her passion for service and her own life experience growing up in Haywood County schools magnify her qualifications.
On a personal note, as a former public school teacher, I would have been so grateful knowing that a school board member had my back as I tried to foster academic rigor, critical thinking, democracy, kindness and equality in my classroom.
Dr. Russell Binkley