To the Editor:
I am writing to encourage Oak Ridgers to vote for my husband, Jim Dodson, for City Council. I know I am biased, but I have a unique perspective as to why I think he will make a good council person. Many people may ask, why is a middle school art teacher running for council? What makes him a good candidate? I believe it is precisely because he is a middle school art teacher that he will make a good candidate.
Jim has taught middle school for 30 years. If I had a nickel for every time a teenager or adult called out to him in the grocery store, park, football stadium, church—“Hi, Mr. Dodson”—I would be a rich woman. Most of the time these students/adults go on to tell me that Mr. Dodson is/was their favorite teacher. I believe it is because of two of Jim’s character traits: He is always respectful, and he always strives to be fair.
It’s not always easy showing patience to middle school kids, especially when they are acting out, mouthing off, showing little effort in class, etc. But somehow, according to the kids, “Mr. Dodson never loses his cool.” Now, more than ever, our world needs candidates who show respect to all (even those whose ideas or comments he doesn’t agree with). Let me be clear, Jim is not a pushover, he is in control of his class, but he rarely has to raise his voice to command control. By showing respect to the kids, he obtains their respect to meet this goal.
Secondly, I often describe my husband has having an overgrown fair bone in his body. He advocates for all his students—and does so most passionately for the underdogs, the most vulnerable. On Council, I believe he will review the cost versus benefits of issues as he seeks fair consideration of all sides. Jim has also advocated his whole life, in the classroom and in the community, for the value of art. He strives for a balanced approach for our culture to value science, math, humanities, and the visual arts. His passion for the arts is strong and evident to others. I know my husband is equally passionate about the city of Oak Ridge. He loves its unique characteristics of arts, recreation, business, not for profits, diversity, and the unique history. He will strongly advocate for our city as he has done for his students and as he has done for the arts.
Finally, an art teacher teaches art but more importantly teaches “the four Cs”: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Our city will face difficult issues in the future, and I believe his unique perspective will be necessary for success. I believe this skill set, which he has mastered as a teacher at Jefferson Middle School for the past three decades, would be a great addition to the Oak Ridge City Council. Hope you agree with me!
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