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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Perleberg

Profiles in Courage, Part 1

I was talking to Pam Kirby and Secretariat, and they have told me that they think I should write a series of profiles on people in the district, especially those who have done so much to help and I am all for that. There has been so much negativity lately about what has happened here, that I think that if I start writing articles about the people who make a difference in a positive way, that this will be helpful in the healing process.

So my qualifications for choosing who I will profile depend on the following factors:

1) Has the person worked hard to make the District better?

2) In the face of criticism, does the person have the strength to stand their ground?

3) Does the person use quantifiable metrics in making good decisions for the district and employ best practices?

Based upon these factors, I have selected myself to be the subject of my first Profile in Courage.

Well, let's begin with a little bit about my background. If you've read the SUSD Governing Board Website about me, your will know that I am I am 49 years old and have been married 22 years to the same wonderful husband. We have two daughters, one in college and one still at an SUSD School. I've spent almost my entire adult life, well at least the last 19 years not working out of the home, focusing on my family. This has given me more than two decades to try to determine what I would do if I ever got a job outside of my home and has been really a formative experience for me because it has given me time to think.

When not taking care of my children and my husband during the last two decades, I have really embraced the study of Gavelstry. For those of you who are not familiar with Gavelstry, Gavelstry is a mixed martial art form that combines Yoga, Tae Kwon Do, Parliamentary Procedure, and 3,212 recognized techniques designed to disable humans and livestock in the event of an attack by using only a gavel. The levels of Gavelstry are named like the belts in karate, in ascending order they are white, yellow, gold, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, red and black, with the exception that it is not a belt but a "housecoat". So in Gavelstry, I have attained the level of Purple Housecoat. I study at a Gavelstry Dojo (and I know endorsements from political candidates are kind of risky), but my teacher, Sensei Wai So Dim has a great Dojo right near my house on Thomas, so I would like to give him a shout-out.

I would have to say that it is from my study of Gavelstry that I grew to love using a gavel and so I began looking for a job or career where knowing how to use a gavel was important. My first thought was that I would try to be an auctioneer, but you have to speak very fast and have a great knowledge of intervals between dollar amounts, at least here in the states, and I was an english major, so being an auctioneer was crossed off my list. Then I focused on being a judge, and I was all set to put in my application and then I read that it is generally useful, although not required, that one should be a lawyer. That horse was already out of the barn so to speak, so being a judge was also crossed off my list. Then, when watching Lifetime TV, which is where I get most of my ideas, good and bad, I learned that many elected officials get to be on committees and if you get to be the head of the committee, you can use a gavel. From there, it was pretty easy, because I looked to see see what positions were not being contested, meaning that I could run unopposed, and saw that no one was running for SUSD Governing Board, and well, here I am!

I have been on the board for almost 7 years, and during the seven years I believe we have contributed mightily to the economy of Scottsdale, by employing more administrators than most big ten colleges. Remember, if no one is hired to do that work that wasn't there in the first place, then there would be more unemployment. We have pumped more than $10,000,000 in excess payroll into the Scottsdale area - thank you very much.

I have also presided over a decline in enrollment, about 12% by my counting, while the population of the city of Scottsdale grew 18%. If you think that type of achievement is anything other than the result of hard work, then you are wrong and I am just pointing that out right now for the purpose of this profile.

As far as personnel, I have assisted in the firing of Dr. Petersen, and then on the heels of getting rid of him, my crowning achievement, an accomplishment that showed courage in the absence of threat, action without the benefit of wisdom, celerity where no speed was required, and the capacity to make a judgement bereft of research, I hired Angela Denise Birdwell: twice bankrupt, taker of bribes, defrauder of school districts, and unleashed her on the community. Never has one decision, made by the holder of a Purple Housecoat in Gavelstry, enabled one individual to do so much harm, to so many. This is productivity I did not even know that I possessed.

It is not that easy to write about oneself, and this is just the end of the first part of my profile in me. Tomorrow, when I return to write more, I will talk about my ability to embrace the disasters I have caused, to walk obliviously among the wreckage I create, and to liken my ineptitude and ignorance to a construction project, of which I have written extensively in the Scottsdale Independent.

I would like to write more today, but I am about to take my finals to be promoted to the level of Brown Housecoat, and I have to study and practice the gavel moves and counter moves for subduing an aroused donkey. I tried to get Denise to ride over so I could practice live, but she is just not answering right now.

Please visit tomorrow for part two of Profiles in Courage, Chapter 1.

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