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Gwyn Gittens: Plans to Make Lee County School Board More Transparent

3:33 PM, Nov 21, 2018

Contributors

Jalyn Henderson, Shari Armstrong

If you are active in Lee County Schools as a parent or a student, you’ve probably heard the historic news by now. Gwyn Gittens. The first Black American to serve on the School Board.

Gwyn Gittens' Breaks Barriers in Lee County School District

“I’m unapologetically Black,” Gwyn shared during an interview with HelloSWFL.com. “I bring empathy where there’s been sympathy because I’ve been through everything. However, I have succeeded getting to this point with the help of everyone in my community.”

Gwyn, a retired teacher, was sworn into her District 5 seat on November 20.

“I woke up one morning out of a dream. In that dream, I saw myself sitting in one of the chairs of the school board, and over my head was a lighthouse,” Gwyn recalled.

“The concept of the lighthouse to me is that it guides, leads, saves and influences people. You don’t hear it - you just see it.”

The dream led Gwyn to pay closer attention to Lee County’s School Board meetings, “I said to myself, ‘We’ve got to do better,’” she shared.

Gwyn said some good things are happening in the school district, but admits minor tweaks are needed.

One of the first things on her to-do list is to make Lee County School Board more transparent, specifically for parents, students and Lee County taxpayers.

“We need to do more town hall meetings,” Gwyn shared. As part of her campaign, Gwyn went knocking on doors to get a sense of what the community needed in Lee County schools. “You actually hear what their thoughts are.”

Now that she has a seat on Lee County’s School Board, Gwyn wants to make sure the efforts are collaborative. "We need to serve as a team,” she said, explaining that everyone doesn’t have to agree on everything, but instead work as a team to show the rest of the district how things can get done.

“We have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of good things happening, but I think the voters have said ‘ the good things are good, but we want to see some changes.'"

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