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Kings Board of Education President, Stacie Belfrom
As we end Black History Month, we want to take a special moment to celebrate Kings School Board President, Stacie Belfrom.
When Mr. Belfrom was elected to the Kings School Board, he became the first African American to serve on the team of five in Kings history.
We asked Stacie a few questions...
KNN: What does Black History Month Mean to you?
SB: That's an interesting question because its meaning has changed for me over the years. When I was a young student it meant that February was the only time in the year that I would see any emphasis on contributions that African-Americans have made to society apart from what I learned at home. The experience was usually pretty tepid and once the month was over largely forgotten about by my friends and teachers. 
Now, it should be much more than that. It means that we have an opportunity to not only focus on contributions made by African-Americans but to also widen the lens and give attention to how African-Americans are woven into the fabric of American history from its outset. That should not just be limited to the "feel good" stories that we traditionally entertain in school but it should include those things that aren't usually emphasized but are equally important. History can become clearer when we attempt to put everything in its proper context.
KNN: How can we make sure that all families feel welcome in our classrooms and buildings?
SB: I think we first need to come to a consensus on what that comfort looks like. To me, it means that we have a standard that each student, parent, and staff member are all treated with more than a modicum of respect and decency that shouldn't hinge on any social dynamic. Not race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or the like. Unfortunately, that hasn't always been the case for our African-American students and others here and elsewhere. But going forward, we need them to know explicitly that when they walk into these classrooms and buildings here in Kings that they should expect to receive that respect and that they will. 
How do we do that? By implementing policies from the top as a Board of Education that address diversity and equitable practices in the district. But it's also the steps that we take to implement those expectations each day and the rigor that we apply to maintain them by driving cultural competency through the diversification of staff, widening the lens of source material for curriculum, and teaching strategies, and building relationships with our students and families that build on a respect for our differences as a start. These things should be ongoing for all of our students eventually and not just focused on in February for African-Americans, or in March for Women or the fall for Hispanic Heritage and LGBT history as examples.
The key is to respond to the needs of everyone in an equitable and sustainable way. In order to do that we have to bring more awareness to those groups that have historically been diminished while raising the standard for all of us. It takes me back to your first question: "What does BHM mean to me?" In 2021 it means making a more concerted effort towards equity and inclusion in this regard because we as a society know that it can and should be better. As James Baldwin once said: "Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced." BHM is an opportunity to face those things that need to be changed.
"Stacie is an excellent leader and a great role model for our students and community," Kings Superintendent, Tim Ackermann said.
This month, we are grateful to celebrate Stacie for being a special part of Kings history!