LETTER: For Madhu Pai, Better Communication Starts With Listening

by The Village Green
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To the Editor:

This Tuesday, I am proudly voting for Madhu Pai for the Board of Education.

As stated in her bios, professionally, she is a strategic marketing specialist and as part of the Board of Education, she has drawn on her communications expertise to lead the Community Engagement and Outreach Committee and championed initiatives like Board Office Hours. These initiatives that she has spearheaded are so important, because Madhu recognized that probably the most important part of communication is listening.

Over the course of these forums and debates, it is appropo for candidates to advocate clearly and vocally about our issues. But over her term as a member of the Board of Education, Madhu has proven that she has the capacity to listen. To hear what individuals are saying, to be perceptive enough to hear what is not being said, and to be present at every event to listen to people’s concerns.

To listen does not mean she offers immediate solutions. However active listening enables her to understand the needs of the community, and to represent that perspective in decision making and in the development of policies that will have long term ramifications for the education of our children. She is a tireless advocate who represents those points of views and those experiences, because to Madhu, the betterment of the education system that is befitting to this great community is the reason she continues to run for a second term. The way to be an effective voice is to be present, engage and listen.

Her work on the Board of Education is documented and accessible via minutes and televised board of education meetings. But I want to make mention of the work she does and continues to do, that many do not see but is just as valuable. As part of her many responsibilities, she is the Board of Education Liaison to the Columbia High School Loft. Her warmth, attention, and passion for helping at risk kids was palpable and evident, not just to the committee but more importantly, to the students who recognized her, who smiled at her, and who saw her as an advocate who took the time to listen to them.

As a member of the Board of Education, it is also important to listen to your peers. Representing the needs and concerns of a diverse community requires someone who is open to weighing the pros and cons of every decision. Following on that, Madhu has demonstrated her effectiveness at achieving consensus, moving forward to improve the school district, as she and Wayne Eastman have done by working diligently to craft the Access and Equity Policy, which passed unanimously among the Board of Education members.

Madhu Pai has my vote of confidence that when she is re-elected, she will continue to propose more opportunities to listen to the community. With Madhu Pai representing my voice, I know that the needs of my children are heard.

Candice Davenport
Maplewood

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