Buncombe Board of Education member Lisa Baldwin received the James Knox Polk award for leadership in public office from the John Locke Foundation. She is the first school board member in North Carolina to be so honored.
Baldwin has established a reputation as an independent voice since her election in 2010, supported by many Tea Party members. Although often on the short end of 6-1 votes, she continues to press for more fiscal responsibility, transparency and parental involvement in Buncombe’s schools.
She was given the Polk award at the organization’s 22nd annual dinner, held January 21 in Raleigh. In accepting, she challenged all audience members to get involved with their own local schools. “Ask questions, write letters to the editor. Support the school board members who are fighting to focus dollars on the classroom,” Baldwin urged.
She closed by saying, “Your questions won’t change things immediately. But your continued involvement and pressure will change things eventually.”
The Polk award is named after America’s eleventh president, a native North Carolinian. John Hood, JLF president, introduced Baldwin by saying, “Polk’s work ethic and commitment to principle are clearly evident in the career of our first honoree tonight, Lisa Carpenter Baldwin.” He then went on to praise her for “asking inconvenient questions of old-line members at meetings,” and for having “the audacity to distribute copies of the John Locke Foundation’s checklist for school board members and to recommend that the Buncombe school board implement our ideas.”
The John Locke Foundation is a North Carolina based think tank conducting research based on the principles of individual liberty, a free-market economy, and limited government. (Tea Party members will recognize those principles!) Much of the foundation’s work is devoted to examinations and recommendations about public education policy.