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PTO To Motley: We Like You, But We'll Be Watching You

By Jodie Mozdzer

March 17, 2009

John Motley took charge at the Hartford School Building Committee meeting Monday, after fellow committee members unanimously elected him chairman.

Motley's appointment comes after Mayor Eddie A. Perez stepped down from his leadership posts on both the building committee and the board of education last month.

It was also timed to a push from the PTO Presidents Council to become more vocal on budget matters - including school building money.

A handful of PTO presidents welcomed Motley to his new post Monday. But they also gave a friendly warning that parents plan to become more active in the happenings of the committee, which oversees spending on building projects.

"We'll be watching," said John Deckers, the PTO president at Sport and Medical Sciences Academy. "Not only the board of education side of things, but also the building side of the budget."

Still, Motley, who was appointed to the committee last month and was officially voted its chairman Monday, was hailed by committee members and parents as a man very involved in educational and community issues in Hartford.

"We're very hopeful that things are going to move forward under his leadership," said Hyacinth Yennie, a community activist who is very involved in the Hartford Public High School construction project.

Motley, a partner at the consulting firm MotleyBeup, LLP, was the director of external affairs for the school district and was president of the Travelers Foundation. He is a trustee for the Connecticut State University system, and serves on boards for the Connecticut Center for School Change, Hartford's Achievement First charter school and Teach For America.

Mayor Eddie A. Perez asked Motley to serve in February. Perez remains on both boards. School board member Ada Miranda took over as chairwoman of the board of education last month.

Motley joked Monday that he wasn't Perez's first choice, but said he was prepared to serve the children of Hartford.

"He told me about the other people he asked to serve who had turned him down.... So he let me know right up front that I wasn't really his first choice," Motley joked.

Motley welcomed the scrutiny from the parents, and handed out his card during the public comment session to anyone who wanted to set up a meeting with him

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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