An Extraordinary Stand for Change

If you want to see ordinary people taking an extraordinary change for change, look no further than the leaders of West Concord Public Charter School, in the small southeastern Minnesota town of West Concord. And never, ever give up.

After five long years, the ribbon was cut and the people of West Concord opened their own K-5 public charter school last week. I joined them for their ribbon cutting ceremony August 28 with about 100 other people because they were a model of all chartering can be. The 7-member charter school board, led by West Concord Mayor Jeff McCool (pictured right), put forth enormous effort and faced down numerous obstacles to open the school. In short, they overcame their own “Zero Chance of Passage.” Five years? Think about that. It took only three years to pass the first charter school law! Friends of Education traveled the journey with them as their Authorizer.

 Board Member Paula Finne

Board Member Paula Finne

 Neveah with her mom, Jessica

Neveah with her mom, Jessica

 Board Member Lisa Westlund

Board Member Lisa Westlund

The kindergarten room was ready for action. One of the new kindergartners, Neveah (“Heaven spelled backwards”) looked pretty excited with her mom, Jessica.  So were special education teacher and board member Paula Finne and board member Lisa Westlund with her own future WCPCS student, Payton Klevos.

I was pleased that both local legislators attended, including Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) and Sen. Matt Schmit (D-Red Wing), (pictured left). What a joy to see the community celebrate this welcomed addition to their town!

Read more in the Rochester Post-Bulletin and Byron Review. Congratulations to School Director Nicole Musolf, teachers Shallyn Slack, Sarah Schaefer, Amanda Braithwaite, and Paula Finne, all the visionary board members, and the parents who enrolled their children and helped make it happen! I wish you all a successful school year.