History in Ellis County and Midlothian are highlighted with family values, a community founded on a strong foundation faith, a network of pastors, neighbors that come together in love to celebrate the blessings of Manna House, Bridges Foundation, and rooted in neighborly love.

A beautiful town, growing suburban landscape, a community that is changing at a rapid pace. Often we see on social media and common conversation in any coffee shop that Midlothian is "growing too fast." The growth brings mixed emotions of opportunity, new families, fresh faces and diversity also challenges to effectively manage the impact to infrastructure.

Growth brings new business, tax base, new opportunities for friends and is an asset to a community with a growth mindset. There is positive impact to the chamber, social networks, neighborhoods and schools. It’s just plain natural.

However, if we continue to allow a "good ole boy club" to define boundaries, draw lines and place labels on people and mindsets – we destroy community and every decision within it. We are unable to harness the opportunities of growth. It is unhealthy to have a network of unwritten rules, definitions of insiders vs. outsiders or target people, parents because they disagree with a certain philosophy.

Misguided networks of buddies that provide governance of sole authority and single dimension are destructive to city, school or county governance. Any homogenous authority that goes unchecked stifles a growth mindset, hurts growth, and hurts outcomes for children, while choking out creativity. We cannot allow a network of labels to decide who is successful based on who they know, or who they are related to.

Personally, I have been silent and cannot remain silent any longer. The voices of children have inspired us all, their voices support reality. I personally, have been mislabeled by the good ole boy club as anti- technology, anti-administration, anti-athletic, anti-teacher, anti-budget; ANTI whatever suits the moment to manage politics.

The truth is, I work very hard listening to many voices from all sides of the community and don’t have all the answers. I seek to understand daily by asking questions reviewing trends and data. Communication and constructive dialogue can be uncomfortable, but it IS in the best interest of our children and tax dollars, seeking solutions that align with our vision of excellence. Our actions must match our words. There is no place for retaliation, only respect for our differences.

The time is now. We have an open door and a responsibility to our children to use our voices. It starts with respect. Respect and dialogue. Listening without judgment. Massive action is necessary, while we always remember our children are watching.

Andrea Walton is a member of the Midlothian ISD Board of Trustees.