Heather DuCloux, who joined the board of directors last summer, recently moved to Savannah, Georgia. The Rethinking Schools board of directors oversees our financial and personnel matters. Heather has two daughters, Madeleine, 13 years old, and Emma 11. She found time in her busy schedule to talk with Rethinking Schools managing editor Jody Sokolower.
Q. I know your connection with Rethinking Schools started with your friendship with our board president, Stephanie Walters. How do you know Stephanie?
I lived in Milwaukee for a long time, and Stephanie and I met at the YMCA about 14 years ago. We were both running on the indoor track. I was just coming back from a pregnancy, and I was out of shape. I saw her going by and I thought to myself, “That girl is going to beat me. I wish I could run that fast.”
Over time, we became good friends and running partners. We’ve been in six marathons together. And I’ve been hearing about Rethinking Schools all that time.
Q: As a parent, why were you drawn to Rethinking Schools?
I’m a big public school proponent. Last year we lived in Cleveland, and my girls went to a community school they could walk to or ride their bikes. That was great. As soon as we got there, I went and introduced myself to the teachers and gave them my cell number. They were surprised because parents often don’t get involved. Now my girls are in the Savannah-Chatham County public schools. Emma just go accepted by the STEM Academy, which is part of that system. If we just put effort into the schools we have, we’ll have really good schools. It’s all about the teachers and the parents and guardians.
Q: How are you hoping to contribute to Rethinking Schools?
At my recent job, I was the chief fundraiser. That’s the one thing I’m hoping to bring to Rethinking Schools. I’m not shy about asking for money. The first year, like most people, I was afraid of the “no.” But it can’t hurt you. Now I just say, “Can I come back and ask you another time?” Usually they say, “Yes, actually you can.”
I also want to figure out what I can do about spreading RS ideas at a regional level. Here I am in a red state. The schools in this part of the country tend to be organized by county rather than by cities. It is my opinion that this allows the education board to cast a wider net of diversity: racially, economically, and academically.
There are seven counties in my area. It is my objective to connect families and educators with the grassroots work that we are projecting at Rethinking Schools. I’m excited about those possibilities.