To The Editor:
Having spent significant time on school boards over the past few years, I can speak with a measure of accuracy when I say that it can be a frustrating and thankless way to spend ones time.
I was, therefore, relieved when my neighbor, Darrell Merkel, asked me to sign his nominating petition for another term on the Morristown Central School board. Having served with Darrell on the Morristown board, I can say with absolute certainty that he is the type of board member we dont see enough of these days. He has a sharp intellect and outstanding critical thinking skills. When board proceedings get contentious he has a way of bringing people together toward the best outcomes for all concerned. As important as the qualities that Darrell takes to the position, are the qualities he doesnt take to the board table. Darrell is not an ax-grinder, a grudge holder, or a scatter-brained, small-town egomaniac desperate for an audience. Nor does he carry to the board table some ill-advised advocacy for any particular special-interest cohort.
In my experience, Darrells attendance at board meetings and at committee meetings is impeccable. He is always prepared, has always read his board packet prior to the meeting, and has his homework done when he arrives. I have never known him to waste everyone elses time asking questions that would have been answered by reading his board packet. He is, without a doubt, one of the two or three most professional school board members it has been my pleasure to serve with over the years.
Board service is consistent with Darrells demonstrated values. If we were all to emulate his selfless and caring service to our community and to individuals in need in our community, the world would be a better place.
These are difficult times for public education. The situation gets worse on an almost daily basis. We have a legislature and a governor who avoid the issue entirely, leaving the solution to state-wide problems up to local communities. There is no room for any but the best on our school boards. Darrell Merkel represents the best we can hope for going forward.