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Annie Caiola announces resignation from School Board, three seats now on Nov. 5 ballot

Business Decatur

Annie Caiola announces resignation from School Board, three seats now on Nov. 5 ballot

Annie Caiola. Photo obtained via the Decatur Education Foundation
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At-large Decatur School Board member Annie Caiola is resigning effective Aug. 1.

Caiola, an attorney, said she could no longer juggle the responsibilities of being a business owner, a mother and a School Board member.

“Stepping back is not an easy choice for a woman who has always unflinchingly said ‘sign me up’ when it came to driving carpools, chaperoning field trips, serving on boards, advocating for public education, or taking a leap of faith to start a women-owned business in a male-dominated field,” Caiola said. “But as my business is growing and my children are getting older, it’s become increasing difficult to say ‘sign me up,’ and it’s become increasingly apparent that something will have to give.”

Her at-large School Board seat will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot along with the seats held by Garrett Goebel and Tasha White. Goebel isn’t running. White is.

“The Board will appoint a new member to serve from August through December to fill the vacancy caused by this resignation,” the School District said, adding. “The Board will accept letters of interest from qualified individuals interested in serving for those four months. Details about the selection process will be shared in the near future.”

Here’s Caiola’s resignation letter:

Dear Decatur Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that I have decided to resign from the School Board for the City Schools of Decatur, effective August 1, 2019.  Since my election in 2013 and my re-election in 2017, my personal and  professional obligations and demands have increased significantly.  Two years ago, I launched Caiola & Rose, a Decatur-based national law practice.  While I am thrilled and humbled that the firm has flourished so quickly, I have found that balancing the time and energy required to manage the growing demands of my job and the personal needs of my family, while simultaneously serving the School Board at the level it deserves and requires, is nearly impossible.

Stepping back is not an easy choice for a woman who has always unflinchingly said “sign me up” when it came to driving carpools, chaperoning field trips, serving on boards, advocating for public education, or taking a leap of faith to start a women-owned business in a male-dominated field. But as my business is growing and my children are getting older, it’s become increasing difficult to say “sign me up,”  and it’s become increasingly apparent that something will have to give.  Leaning back, when all I’ve ever done is lean in, does not come easily.  But working is essential and childhood is fleeting. And if I follow the advice I give my own daughters and allow the peace that comes with prayer to guide my actions, then I know I’ve made the right decision.

Resigning from the School Board is not an indication that my passion for public education has dulled; on the contrary, my passion has only intensified by serving on the School Board.  I will continue to advocate for equity in education, supports for students with special needs and learning differences, community engagement and administrative and financial support for our teachers.   I look forward to re-engaging in public service work, full-steam ahead, when the time is right both personally and professionally.

I want to thank Decatur for electing me in 2013, for supporting me, working with me, teaching me, and sharing with me.  School board work is not easy.  But between the long hours, late nights and sometimes critical emails – there are small moments that have big impacts: like the moment we refused to allow the students at Trinity Walk and Allen Wilson to be transferred out of our schools while their homes were being reconstructed; the moment we decided there was no amount of money worth saving if it meant our severely disabled students would be forced out of Decatur Schools; the moment where we stood side-by-side with our transgender students and showed the opposition that we are unmoved by threats and that hate would not be tolerated here; the moment when we had the chance to back off of prioritizing our racial equity work when it got hard, and we chose to stay the course; the moment we validated Dyslexia by saying the word, recognizing our shortfall, hosting a community listening session and committing ourselves to doing better.  These are just some of the moments that have mattered most.  And while our work is never over and the fight must continue, it has been an honor and a privilege to play a small part in the moments that have made a difference in our children’s lives.

I want to thank Dr. Dude, Lewis Jones, Tasha White, Garrett Goebel and Heather Tell for their personal sacrifices, hard work, thoughtful leadership, and unwavering advocacy for our students, staff and community members. Over the next couple of months, I will work closely with the Board to help facilitate a smooth transition to my successor. And even after my last day on the Board,  I will look forward to continuing to work with you as a community advocate and volunteer.

Warmly,

Annie Caiola

Here is CSD’s full statement on her resignation.

Board Member Annie Caiola has announced that she is resigning from the School Board effective August 1, 2019. Ms. Caiola has been a member of the Board since 2014. She served as Chair for two years from 2016 to 2017.

Ms. Caiola explained, “Since my election in 2013 and my re-election in 2017, my personal and professional obligations and demands have increased significantly.  Balancing the time and energy required to manage the growing demands of my law firm and the personal needs of my family, while simultaneously serving the School Board at the level it deserves, has become impossible without making sacrifices that I simply can no longer make.  For someone who has only leaned in, leaning back does not come easily.”

Board Chair Lewis Jones said, “We are deeply indebted to Annie for her service on the board. She has been an extremely effective board member and leader—a passionate advocate for teachers and students, a gifted communicator, a team player whose judgment commands respect, and a good friend. It is no wonder her law practice is booming. We’ve all marveled at Annie’s ability to juggle her personal and private responsibilities with the demands of the school board for as long as she has, and therefore we understand and respect her decision to step down at this time. We wish Annie continued success and thank her for giving so much for so long.”

The November 5, 2019, election will have three seats:

– Annie Caiola’s at-large seat. The Board will appoint a new member to serve from August through December to fill the vacancy caused by this resignation.

– Garrett Goebel’s seat in district 1. Mr. Goebel previously announced his decision not to seek re-election.

– Vice Chair Tasha White’s seat in district 2. Ms. White is seeking re-election.

The Board will accept letters of interest from qualified individuals interested in serving for those four months. Details about the selection process will be shared in the near future.Superintendent David Dude said, “It has been wonderful working with Annie Caiola. She has devoted so much time and energy to this position and has been a tremendous support to me as I transitioned to Decatur. Annie is always focused on what is best for kids and she is a tremendous champion for public education. She will be missed but I am happy that she will have more time to focus on her family and career.”

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