About two weeks ago, I became your new APEEE President after Kristin Dijkstra’s mandate came to an end in late January.
It was with great sadness and quite a bit of trepidation that I and the rest of my fellow Board members watched Kristin go. She presided over some very difficult times at the school (for example, the Locally Recruited Teachers crisis in 2019, and of course, the ongoing Covid pandemic), and I am not the only one who thinks that she did so with great diplomacy, grace, and an abiding awareness of the perspectives of all sides involved.
I suppose that we may not have seen eye-to-eye on every issue, but there was always a sense that one could talk things through with Kristin and with one’s fellow Board members. Kristin could in turn talk things through with the school in ways that frequently produced good results for everyone with a minimum of conflict and bad feelings.
This spirit of civility, collaboration, and meaningful compromise is something I very much appreciated about my predecessor, and something I plan to continue to prioritize during my own mandate as the new President of your Parents’ Association.
We are living in increasingly polarized times—even among parents and between parents and their educational institutions. What I hope instead for us is that we continue to take in different perspectives and to practice what I like to think of as the Laeken spirit; that is, that we keep on talking together, working together, and when needed, making our voices heard and negotiating together with the school in a calm and compassionate way to bring about the best possible result for the greatest number of families in our school community.
By way of closing, let me also take this opportunity to wish everyone a very healthy and relaxing Carnival break next week. I hope that however you spend it, it brings you many moments of joy! 😉
See you soon again.
Stephanie Buus, President of the APEEE of Brussels IV