2020 required many pivots
January is School Board Recognition Month and fittingly the theme is Navigating To Success. The Arlington ISD Board of Trustees had to navigate through some uncharted waters in 2020. We wanted to get their thoughts on the year and what they’ve learned in helping lead a district of nearly 60,000 students and more than 8,000 employees through a pandemic.
Name: Dr. Aaron Reich
Board of Trustees member since: 2009
〉Ties to Arlington ISD:
I have two children who graduated from Arlington ISD schools.
〉What’s been the toughest part about being a board member during a pandemic?
In March through May it was going by the schools and holding back tears as they sat completely empty and thinking of the surrealness of the situation. Throughout the pandemic, the toughest circumstance has been trying to govern and make decisions with limited ability due to state and federal constraints and mixed signals all while knowing we are in a no-win situation where the community has been so very divided. No matter our decisions, we knew at least half of the population would be upset, all while we were doing the best to make decisions to protect students and staff as much as possible as we all navigate uncharted waters.
〉What have you learned about yourself in the last year?
I can push even harder, even longer as we pivot, pivot, pivot. I’ve also learned that I do have limits and need to check out intermittently for my mental and physical health.
〉What’s helped you get through the last year?
My faith, my love for my family and a positive outlook. Having a constant awareness that no matter how I have been negatively impacted, I am truly blessed and there are so many in far worse situations.
〉The theme for the month is Navigating to Success. What do you think has made the Arlington ISD a success?
Incredible people at all levels of the organization sharing the common value of student success and safety above all else combined with a focus on innovation and risk-taking to make effective and positive change happen.
〉How have you seen Arlington ISD students rise to the challenges presented to them over the last year?
They are incredibly resilient and act as a beacon of hope for our future. They have adapted to virtual extracurriculars, drive-by celebrations and shown true joy with all of the pivoting changes to the norm even during the COVID slide. It hasn’t been easy for them at all, but they serve as an example and inspiration for us all to persevere.