Congratulations to Brenda Stephens and Sarah Smylie on your election to Board Chair and Vice Chair of the Orange County Board of Education, respectively - as well as to new Board Members Hillary MacKenzie and Will Atherton. 

Over the next four years you have the opportunity to lead Orange County Schools, one of the most important institutions in our county. Orange County Schools educates and shapes the lives of over 7,400 young people and employs close to 1,000 staff. 

We are eager for you to bring the change to OCS that you promised to over 250 leaders from Orange County Justice United on April 10 at Lattisville Grove Missionary Baptist Church: 

  • To increase teacher diversity to match the diversity of the student body over the next four years (which would require hiring roughly 140 teachers of color); 
  • To hire bilingual front office staff for every school; 
  • To provide more resources to help immigrant students access higher education. 

During the hiring season this summer you have the opportunity to deliver progress on these commitments. 

This summer we urge you to remember some of the voices and stories you heard at the April Justice United Assembly - the frustration faced by immigrant students who have to translate for their parents, even when they are just trying to call in sick; the importance for young students of color to have a role model that looks like them in the front of the classroom; the need for all talented students to realize their potential and find a pathway to higher education. 

We will be in contact soon to invite you to a second public meeting this fall to review the results of hiring this summer and to evaluate how we are moving forward on these important issues. 

Rev. Patty Hanneman, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Hillsborough Rev. George Crews III, Lattisville Grove Missionary Baptist Church 

For Orange County Justice United