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Letter: Election Creates Community Loss

To the Editor:

Tuesday’s election had a very serious shortcoming … one of the hardest working, most innovative, most caring, most committed ACPS Board members, Helen Morris, didn’t get reelected. Exit interviews confirmed that they voted for her competent competitors because she was a board member during the Mort Sherman era.

Helen Morris worked tirelessly to bring parents into the student-teacher relationship. No one was more of an advocate for our district’s students than Helen. She championed the concept that each student has a unique potential and that our classrooms and teachers should be dedicated to identifying that unique potential and nourishing it. She battled anyone who didn’t put the students of Alexandria first. Her indefatigable passion for our teachers and the challenges they face in our classroom often put her at odds with anyone who didn’t applaud the often thankless job being done day in and day out by our team of outstanding educators. Helen is an innovator who championed the International Baccalaureate program at Jefferson-Houston as another step toward making J-H a representative model of the evolutionary success in our schools.

Helen had a clear understanding of the needs of our students and a vision for the transformation of every grade in every school to meet and exceed the expectations of our parents. As Dr. King wrote, “… progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; and the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” No one is more tireless or passionate than Helen Morris … she was tireless in teaching, tireless in learning and tireless in listening.

Helen Morris’ elegance, commitment, honesty, leadership, dedication and integrity will hopefully be emulated by all or some of the new board members. Alexandria’s students, teachers and parents deserve nothing less.

Alan Hilburg