As I read the various opinions regarding the location of the new Elementary for Urbana City Schools, I am astonished at the continued short-sightedness of our community. In 1998, when I was first considering moving to Urbana to take the Principalship at Urbana South, I made three phone calls. I called the Chamber of Commerce and two Realtors and told them that my family and I were planning to relocate to Urbana and I wanted to hear about their thoughts of Urbana City Schools. All three people told me that I did not want to live in Urbana City School’s district and that my child would receive a better education in one of the county districts. During my interview, I shared this information and all seemed shocked by these opinions. I, however, saw it as an opportunity for me to make a difference. I had already sensed an amazing and exceptional quality of the staff at UCS, and was intrigued by the thought that I could help create a stronger bond between the school and the community, as I knew good things were happening here and it seemed many were misinformed.
Regarding the new facilities for the district, it seems everyone has an opinion about what should be happening. I understand there are many details that must be worked out. But when do the fingers stop pointing and when does a heart of resolution begin?
I have known Superintendent Charles Thiel since my arrival in Urbana in February of 1998. I have found him to be a man of integrity and willing to listen. We did not always agree on everything, but I always felt that I was respected and valued as an employee of the district.
Do you believe in your community? Do you believe that new schools will encourage others to want to become a part of the city of Urbana? If so, then I encourage you to seek ways to help instead of casting stones. This is our community and I am wondering if we have learned nothing over the years. Should we just tell newcomers to move elsewhere? Will we continue to point fingers and blame others, or will we come together and create solutions as a community that will make this city one where folks want to come and thrive? It is time for everyone to bring solutions to the table. Is Urbana worth it?