Prof. Kelly Kent carries a much lower profile as a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission than she will have if she wins a School Board seat on Nov. 3.
As with her four fairly anonymous fellow commissioners, she and they appear to be in the government’s witness protection program.
Dr. Kent, who specializes in neuroscience, has been the subject of numerous stories since announcing her School Board candidacy six weeks ago. She was the subject of none before that.
Why did Dr. Kent pursue a seat on Parks and Rec? What has she learned?
Appointed last winter, she said the experience “has taught me a lot about working with a group of people with very disparate ideas and priorities. It has taught me how to be functional in a setting where you don’t always agree with your colleagues, but you still have to get things done.
“That is one part of it – because you can get experience in places other than on a city commission.
“The more important contribution is that I have gotten this unique perspective on how things work on the city end. That is really important because the School District and the city are trying to build a better relationship, partnership. I am in a good position now to contribute to that.”
She described it as an accelerated education.
“It wasn’t even a year ago” that Dr. Kent was appointed to the commission, “and I feel so much more knowledgeable now. It feels as if I have been doing this for a lonnnnng time.
“Every day feels like a week right now,” she said with a hearty laugh.
Anticipating a run for a wider office, she was eager to civically plunge into the affairs of her adopted hometown four years after moving here with her family from New York.
Ever upbeat, she applied “because it was a way for me to say, ‘Hey, I want to get involved. I think this is a good way for me to start. I believe strongly in community, and parks are all about community.”
Seasoning was still to come. “I felt like such a newbie in the political scene at that point,” Dr. Kent said.
No longer, however. She is preparing for a larger tent.