Melinda Weathers, the Danville Independent School Board of Education’s newest member, said representation is crucial to her and her decision to apply to serve on the board.
“Probably the number one reason that I am interested and wanted to sit on the board was for representation,” she said. “I know how important it was for me when I was a student to see people who looked like me in leadership positions, and I wanted to provide that same thing for the Danville Schools and for kids who are in the system currently.”
Weathers is a Danville High School graduate herself. She is currently the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Centre College. She previously spent about 15 years working in child welfare through the Commonwealth of Kentucky, then worked at Eastern Kentucky University providing training to social workers, then as a senior curriculum developer for the training.
She has served on several boards and committees in the local community, including for the Art Center of the Bluegrass, the DISD, and Ephraim McDowell Health. She also volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters for many years.
“My work has been in protecting our most vulnerable population, which includes children, and making sure that we do all that is necessary to make sure they have their basic needs met, so things like shelter, but also access to education,” she said. “So, that’s been a passion of mine for many years.”
With that comes the opportunity to think about equity, she explained. She said it’s important to understand that there are students who require additional support due to systemic barriers that exist.
This is not Weathers’ first time serving on the DISD’s board of education. Last summer, she filled a vacancy for several months before her term ended on Dec. 31.
“The short time I was on the board really gave me insight on how I could make an impact and give back to my local community,” she said.
After getting a taste of what it would be like to be on the board, she applied for the most recent vacancy on the board due to her desire for representation.
“Representation is so critical so students have an opportunity to aspire for different things,” she said. “If you see someone who looks like you and they’re accomplished, they’ve done some incredible things in the community or in many different fields, it gives you that courage to know, ‘If they did it, I can do it.’”
Her emphasis on representation extends to the classroom as well — one thing she wants to focus on during her time on the board is more representation within the teacher population, hiring people from diverse backgrounds.
For example, she said “I think there’s opportunities to work with our teachers’ assistants and get them on a pathway to having the credentials to teach in the classroom.”
Weathers said she is thankful to serve on the board.
- Danville Independent Schools
- board of education
- melinda weathers