Keith Sutton was channeling Matthew McConaughey from the "We Are Marshall" movie when he gave his speech Tuesday on being the new Wake County school board chairman.
Sutton said that the school system's "reputation has been a bit tarnished" in the last few "tumultuous" years and that the board "must accept responsibility for our part." He said it's the board's job to restore Wake's "luster" and "regain the trust of this community."
Sutton urged his board colleagues to "provide the kind of exemplary leadership that is expected of us by this community" for "we are Wake County."
Here's the text of his speech Tuesday:
“It is indeed an honor and a privilege to serve as chair of the Board of Education of North Carolina’s largest and the 16th largest school district in the United States. I graciously and humbly accept this challenge.
It is no secret to anyone that our beloved Wake County Public School System has had a tumultuous past two years. In a relatively short span of time, we’ve gone through a tremendous amount of change. This change has generated a significant amount of stress. Some good and some not so good.
This has occurred against a backdrop of fiscal uncertainty and political polarization that our country has rarely, if ever, seen before. But now it is time to slow, proceed with caution and optimism and allow time for the district to recover.
Wake County is still one of the best places to live, raise a family, conduct business and educate your children. Our students are doing well and our schools are thriving.
But our reputation has been a bit tarnished. As leadership of this school system, the bucks stops at this table and we must accept our responsibility for our part. It is now time to heal. It is time to restore the luster and the spirit of excellence that was once the expectation of anything associated with the Wake County Public School System.
We have a tremendous amount of heavy lifting to do, including, but not limited to: improving an approach to student assignment, hiring a permanent superintendent and promoting a school bond referendum. Additionally there is much work to be done in order to regain the trust of this community and other key stakeholders. We as a board are up to this challenge.
We the Wake County Board of Education will provide the kind of exemplary leadership that is expected of us by this community, and I intend to lead us in that direction. I ask my colleagues around this table to join me in this commitment and this effort for we are Wake County."