Rating the Suburbs - Maple Heights

Pamela Poindexter-Crews, 47
school board vice president
When I first moved here, there was the perception that the west side of Maple Heights’ schools were better than the east side schools. They looked at that because there were more white on the west side, and more black on the east side.

The board decided
on changing the schools to grade-level buildings. It’s been good for the teachers, because they’ve been working more together grade-level-wise, getting ideas, building on each others’ strengths. And every kid is being taught the same thing.

During the nasty
teacher strike of 2002, we organized a parent group called Concerned Parents of Maple Heights. We staged a walkout with students — parents picking up their kids. We held candlelight vigils. We learned we had some influence over how things are going.

That’s one thing
I tell my parents: “You guys have the power. Don’t think you don’t have power to change anything, because you do.”

The little red schoolhouse
— our historical schoolhouse. I found out so much history about Maple Heights just in that little building. I found out Henry Mancini, the piano player, came from Maple Heights.

Our seniors
stay involved. That’s what I love about them. We’re building five new schools, and we passed a bond issue this year. Without the help of the seniors, I don’t think we could have done it.

When I decided
to run for school board, I quit my job, dedicated my attention to running and went back to school. I’m going to continue and get a master’s in education. I would love to teach.

At graduation
, I  asked the other board members if I could wear my cap and gown. I wanted to start a conversation:Why’s she wearing that? The message is: “Don’t give up. If I can do it, you can do it.”

I thought
I was a very active parent. There’s more to it than bringing cupcakes on a birthday.
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