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"If you just communicate you can get by. But if you skillfully communicate, you can work miracles." - Jim Rohn
Communicating - it's my job.
It's what I earned my bachelors and masters degrees in at Murray State University, and it's what I do for a living. I communicate with the written word. In fact, I communicate much more effectively with written words than I do verbally. But, I try to do both. (Emphasis on the word "try.")
During my more than eight years here at the Enterprise, I have learned so much about the power of communication. I've learned how good communication can be extremely effective, and I've seen how detrimental poor communication can be for a person, group, council, commission and/or community.
Right now, our community is at odds regarding the recent resignation and termination of Marion County Superintendent Donald Smith. People are jumping to conclusions. People are making assumptions. Some people are making accusations.
We can't allow this to divide our community, and the only way we can prevent that from happening is to communicate with each other. And communicating is not just talking - it's also listening.
What happened last week with Smith and the Marion County Board of Education was not something that happened over night. After covering school board meetings for more than eight years now, including the 18 months that Smith was superintendent, I can assure you that this was not a hasty decision. And, according to the board and Smith himself, this decision was what was best for the school children of Marion County. But, I realize many people in this community don't believe that to be the case. And, unfortunately, some people are choosing to believe that Smith resigned, or was forced to resign, solely because of his race. I can assure you that is simply not the case.
Obviously, I have my own beliefs on why this happened. After covering meetings for 18 months with Smith in the superintendent's seat, it's natural for me to have developed my own theory as to why he resigned, and why the board unanimously accepted his resignation. But, I can also see why Smith's resignation might be disappointing for our community, especially the African American segment of our community. Smith was the first African American male superintendent in the state of Kentucky. And, for his superintendency to end like this is a huge letdown for his supporters. I get that. I truly do. And I empathize with you. But, it's important that we don't point fingers and throw accusations around right now. We need to try to understand why this happened and move forward for the sake of our children and our community.
I encourage the community, along with the school board, to attend the upcoming meeting of the Marion County branch of the NAACP. The topic for this meeting will be black and white community relations, and the termination of former Superintendent Smith will also be discussed.
The meeting will be held Sunday, Feb. 6, at 3 p.m. at Centre Square in Lebanon. It's open to the public. For further information, contact J.F. "Jerry" Evans, branch president, at (270) 692-5579 or (502) 762-5878.