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***The event mentioned below has been rescheduled for Tuesday March 5th at Linton beginning at 7pm.***

This may shock you (sarcasm intended if you know me). I am proud of being a lifelong (minus about 6 years) resident of Penn Hills. You may say that I’m just loyal to (and blinded by) my hometown. Yes, I’m loyal (many aren’t) but I am not blind. We do have struggles, we do have warts, we have made missteps, but every town does and I won’t use that as a reason to give up and ignore the good.

Today, I want to focus on a very integral part of the Penn Hills School District. Dr. Nancy Hines is the Superintendent of our school district. Not part of the district when the financial mess we are in started, she has worked tirelessly to dig us out. I have been to other districts athletic events and watched superintendents show up for the first time on senior nights and stand prominently, bathing in the attention. Dr. Hines comes to many games and sits quietly off to the side. She does more than anyone would know to help us survive. She would (and will) be upset with me for putting her in this spotlight. I just want people to know that I believe in and stand with her.

One little example of her leadership will be on display this Wednesday evening. She sat in on a seminar run by former FBI agent Micheal Finnegan regarding online predators and cyber bullying/crimes. As one of, if not the only, educator there (most were attorneys) she was mortified at the danger our kids are in. She spoke with him and asked him to do a presentation for our community. He agreed to come and teach us how, even though some of us think we know, we have no idea of the dangers our kids face. This event will cost attendees nothing. This is because she made it so it costs the district nothing.

Rather than putting her head in the sand and hoping the districts finances magically improve, she is working hard to find a way out. Rather than give up, she is still looking at ways to love and protect our kids. I’m sure that “bring in a former FBI agent to protect our kids” isn’t in the superintendent manual. Yet, caring for our kids, families, and communities is (or should be). She continues to do that in the face of much scrutiny.

The event is this Wednesday night and I fear that many will not attend. A previous event on drug use and school safety went largely unattended. I will do my very best to make sure that this doesn’t happen this time.

It’s easy to sit back and complain. It’s easy to shrug your shoulders and feel defeated. It’s normal to wait and react to tragedy. We have done that well here in Penn Hills with far too many of our Indians gone too soon. My question is, can we be great at being proactive and acting before tragedy strikes?

I will be there Wednesday night. I ask you to join me and be proud of and care for Penn Hills. The event is from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Here is the link to the event.

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