Outgoing Parkway district school board member Helen Casteel said Wednesday that a smear tactic aimed at her during the recent campaign was the work of "a city council member."
Casteel, who lost a run for a third 3-year term April 3, spoke during the public portion of the first school board meeting with newly-elected Kim Applebaum and re-elected incumbent Beth Feldman.
She said someone "anonymous" put 22,000 fliers in voters' mailboxes that denigrated her as a candidate.
What follows is the text of her speech Wednesday night, without editing on Chesterfield Patch's part.
First, I want to say “Thank You” to our future service men and women, as well as those who have served in the past and those who are currently defending our country.
I also want to thank those citizens who trusted me enough to vote me into this position for two terms and to those 3000+ who voted for me this time.
Only Hillary and I know the true meaning of Passover!
I would like to thank Bruce and Chris who kept me informed while I was recovering from surgery a few years ago and last year as well. It has been a privilege to work with you these past 6 years. And thank you to Tom and his wife, LaDonna, for offering to help with my signs.
Thanks to Mike Keehnast for document delivery, and to the PNEA, CWA, and Carpentersʼ District Council for their support.
I also feel privileged to have been on the board when we chose Dr. Marty as our superintendent. I know his leadership will be a positive influence as Parkway moves forward.
To those of you in the Parkway community who know me well, I appreciated your calls and emails to say that no amount of controversy or lies contained in approximately 20,000 anonymous flyers, which were placed in mailboxes illegally, can diminish my reputation nor discredit my integrity and honesty. Someone owes the Post Office a LOT of money!
And to the city council member who created them, you embarrassed a whole city.
But I am a survivor: I always have been. From my high school “male” counselorwho told me I couldnʼt teach history in high school because I was a female and too short, to surviving breast cancer for 19 years, surviving lung cancer for 4 years, surviving a tumor on my spinal cord and having bones removed from my back (which made me shorter!). This has been a piece of cake! There are no regrets!
So my congratulations to Beth and Kim. And to everyone who supported me, I made decisions which I hope helped the students, district and this great community.
In the mean time I will hopefully finish the three novels I began 6 years ago, travel, enjoy my Friday poker games with my 98-year-old mother-in-law, work on my bucket list, and have more time with family and friends.
But most importantly I have been so blessed to have been an educator and counselor for over 40 years. Iʼve helped raise hundreds of children—thatʼs what teachers do.
To all you educators out there: Donʼt let anyone tell you youʼre not worth it. Keep on doing what you do best—teach the children, for they are our future. As esteemed writer and poetess Maya Angelou wrote:
“You may not think you can reach it, Climb anyway. You may not think youʼll be heard, Speak anyway. You may not think you can change things, Try anyway.”
And finally, I will continue to advocate for human rights, womenʼs rights, and gay rights. And if requested, I will work 24/7 to help re-elect President Barack Obama. Thank you.