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The missing piece: Parent Perspective

Better Together

What drew Amber Polk and Brian Boatman into the election for Shelby County Board of Education is the opportunity to build trust and collaborate with school leadership and the people of Shelby County at every level. The past few years have brought about unprecedented issues. In the current state of the world, we need leaders who are in touch with the pulse of the families and community they serve.

 

But why together?

 

Early in the process of considering to run for Shelby County Board of Education, Amber Polk and Brian Boatman were connected through various community organizations. Amber and Brian both have a passion to protect and improve our local education system. But the challenge for most average citizens desiring to serve in an elected position is funding. Amber and Brian are both "everyday" Shelby County parents raising children; paying for braces, extracurricular activities and saving for college educations. The funds necessary to engage in a legitimate county wide election are vast. When the idea to campaign together was suggested, it just made sense. Not only is it fiscally responsible, they are aligned in many of their ideas and values and are willing to work together in areas where they have differences. Developing strong partnerships is the core of how they intend to serve once elected so why not start with their campaign.

 

Amber and Brian are committed to working for the people of Shelby County to promote partnerships between the Shelby County Board of Education and the students, the teachers and communities they will serve.

 

Partnership with families. Partnership with teachers. Partnership with community.

The Shelby County Board of Education is elected to serve the students, families, tax payers and communities they represent. We are blessed with leaders who bring a wealth of experience in education and business, but there is more to be considered when making decisions that will impact students and the trajectory of our schools. Currently, there are no members on the Shelby County Board of Education who have students in Shelby County Schools.

We are missing a parent's perspective on the Shelby County Board of Education.

Amber Polk and Brian Boatman hope to provide that missing perspective soon by earning your vote to the

Shelby County Board of Education on May 24th.

      Amber Polk                    Brian Boatman

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Meet Amber POLK

Place 1

I am a proud Christ-follower, wife, mama and Mississippi girl who has lived in Shelby County, AL since 2001. My husband, Dustin, and I have three children.  Our oldest daughter is a sophomore at Chelsea High School. She plays Varsity Volleyball, JV Basketball and is active in the Health Sciences Program at CHHS. Our middle daughter is a sixth grader at Chelsea Middle School and our youngest son is in fifth grade at Forest Oaks Elementary. All of our children are involved in various community sports and our church, Liberty Baptist in Chelsea. After having a successful career in pharmaceutical sales, I chose to stay home with our children. I have always been involved in our children's schools and have volunteered within my community. I have served as room mom, team mom, and even a homeschool mom for a couple of years. Currently, I'm serving in middle school ministry at Liberty Baptist Church, on the Code of Conduct Revision committee and VOICE Parent Advisory Team for Shelby County Schools, as Community Outreach Coordinator for LOCAL Alabama and athletic boosters for Chelsea High School.

Learn more about Amber

My husband, Dustin, and I have raised our family in Shelby County for 16 years. We have three children active in Shelby County Schools. Being a mom to a high school, middle school and elementary school student gives me a comprehensive understanding of challenges facing our students, parents and schools at all levels. I am in our schools on a consistent basis, not as an employee but as a parent volunteer, a spectator of many sports and a member of the community. I have a background in pharmaceutical sales, but chose over a decade ago to pause my career to focus on my family. Since leaving the corporate world, I have served my family, church and community. When I was considering running for Shelby County Board of Education I hesitated because I do not have a background specifically in education. It was then someone pointed out the only true qualification needed is willingness to learn and serve. After many discussions with educators, administrators and other parents, I now consider my lack of experience as a traditional educator an advantage for serving on the board. I believe due to unprecedented changes in our country, it's time to re-evaluate how things have always been done. It's going to take someone unrestrained by years of training in a public school system to look at our challenges in 2022 with a new approach. I am not afraid to ask questions to understand the "why" behind our school system's processes 

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and decisions. I thrive on persistence and thinking "outside of the box" to find resolutions that will consider everyone involved and provide the most benefit.. I am passionate about education and ensuring the students of Shelby County are provided every opportunity to be successful. 

We are experiencing unprecedented growth in Shelby County. We have three of the fastest growing cities in the state of Alabama in one county school system. It is inevitable with this rapidly growing population our schools are facing unique challenges. It is the responsibility of the Shelby County School leaders and community leaders to work together to develop strategies to mitigate the growing pains. Because many of these issues are due to budgetary limitations and capital projects, I want to collaborate with business and development leaders in each community in Shelby County to pool our resources to lessen the burden on tax payers as much as possible. We have the opportunity to utilize the experiences of other school systems who have faced similar situations. Several school systems in Alabama have developed successful strategies to continue providing excellent quality of education while adding top notch facilities to elevate the educational experience and community pride. I am confident that with leaders, businesses and citizens all working together this can be accomplished in Shelby County also.

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For me, serving on the Shelby County Board of Education is most importantly about the opportunity to connect families, communities and teachers with school leaders. I want to always be accessible to teachers and parents to learn their frustrations and victories. Our teachers and parents are on the "front lines." They daily see what is working and what needs to be addressed. They are our school system's greatest resource. I will promote transparency and open communication for constructive feedback for leadership. I will build on the encouragement of the Superintendent of Shelby County Schools to have parent involvement at every level. I will advocate for students, parents and educators. I will consistently stand for parental autonomy over children's health decisions. I will be vigilant in discerning curriculum content and programs being used in Shelby County Schools. I will be a voice for teachers, students and parents. Our public leaders are also public servants. Servant leadership requires an attitude of humility, compassion, courage and integrity. I will serve Shelby County Schools as a servant leader in an effort to rebuild the trust that seems to be lost in leaders across this nation, this state and this county.

 

In an era when common ground is uncommon, it's time we work together to utilize our resources on the local level within the home, classroom and community to impact change here in Shelby County. I have been given the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between families, educators and communities. I would be honored by your support to serve on the Shelby County Board of Education so we can be "better together."  On May 24th, please vote for Amber Polk (Place 1) and Brian Boatman (Place 2) for Shelby County Board of Education.

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Meet Brian BOATMAN

Place 2

It is time for a new generation of energetic, more conservative leadership that will bring a Parent Perspective to the Shelby County Board of Education.  After multiple tours and finishing my command of the Army Aviation Rotary-Wing Night Vision Training Company at Ft. Rucker, I went to work in the private sector in the medical/pharmaceutical industry.   My wife, Robyn, and I have been married for 31 years.  We have proudly called Helena and Shelby County our home for the past 21 years.  Robyn works for the YMCA and we are active members at Hunter Street Baptist Church. Both of our children have attended Shelby County Schools since kindergarten.  Our daughter played Varsity Soccer at Helena and recently graduated. She is now at UAB.  Our son is in 11th grade at Helena High, works at Chick-Fil-A and competes in Varsity XC and Track.

Learn more about Brian
 

A new world of competitive education and choice is emerging before our eyes. The Shelby County School System must be able to successfully compete in this new, educationally competitive, world of vouchers, online/home schools, co-ops and apprenticeships. We must insist on a culture of excellence that rewards high performance and innovation, by students, teachers and community leaders, so that Shelby County Schools will grow stronger and be the system of choice for the future.

We must invest in first class facilities in every part of Shelby County. To meet the challenge of our rapid growth, there must be a coalition of cooperation and partnership with leaders in each of our communities, in order to gain the greatest efficiencies and reduce taxpayer burden as much as possible.         

 

We need to respect and guarantee the rights of parents to determine medical and academic decisions for their children.  Each school should strive to develop a welcoming, respectful atmosphere to encourage parent and volunteer involvement.  It is incumbent on us all to be patient and kind while focusing on supporting our families, students and teachers.

As a former Army officer, I highly value our God-given freedoms and Constitution. I believe there is knowable, objective truth and the first purpose of every elected official is to promote truth and protect the freedom given to us by God and guaranteed by our Constitution.  I want our children to be able to breathe free, learn more and be better.

 

Like many of you, I have been concerned with the direction of our country and our schools in the past few years.  During Covid, the bureaucratic over-reactions our families were subjected to, and what our children lost in terms of learning opportunities, socialization and memorable experiences, have been reprehensible.  This time period also brought to light many examples of very disturbing and divisive policies and curricula that are present in many schools, even in Alabama.

To ensure Shelby County Schools are faithful to the foundational principles of our American Republic and perform at the highest academic level possible, we must insist on transparency throughout our school system so that everyone can see the truth of what our children are being taught.  Only then can we begin to rebuild the trust between our parents, schools and communities that has been so badly damaged these past few years. 

We must move quickly to adopt a curriculum that equips and challenges every child to develop the best academics and strongest moral character. A program of instruction should be adopted that teaches and promotes the freedom that comes from God,

 and how it is secured by our Constitution, so that our children learn to love that freedom and know how to benefit from the opportunity it offers. We must carefully scrutinize our entire curriculum, and all supporting material, to verify the content is appropriate and constructive.  To secure the foundation of our children’s future, there can be no room for divisive, destructive ideologies (CRT, SEL, etc) in our classrooms, instructional material or staff training. 

 

Only by building our future on a firm foundation, can we be “Better Together”. Please help us build a brighter future for all our children and our country, by Making Education Great Again in Shelby County.  Amber and I would be honored to have your vote on May 24th. 

May God bless and keep us all!

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