By Madeleine Neal
As LaTasha DeLoach, the Iowa City School Board vice president, delivered her farewell address to the board, a loud crack of thunder shook the room.
“I am scared,” she said. “I don’t know if the universe is happy about this.”
DeLoach announced on July 7 that she would resign because of medical concerns.
“I just wanted to let you all know that I’m OK,” she said.
After the previous board meeting, DeLoach said a routine visit to her doctor dropped her whole world down on her.
“It was scary, and they made me do lots of testing — but I’m OK as of [Monday],” she said. “But it was enough to shake my family — enough to think about that fact that when I ran for School Board my kids were 15 months old.”
DeLoach is the mother of 3-year-old twins.
“I had to think about wanting to actually be there to shake their hands when they graduate from one of our great high schools, and I didn’t see that, given the information that was provided to me by medical staff at that moment, and it scared the life out of me,” she said.
DeLoach said doctors asked her to do something courageous, which meant withdrawing from what she described as major things in her life.
“I love y’all, but School Board is stressful,” she said. “But it’s also thinking about the process and thinking about the 14,000 children that you’re impacting with every decision, every time you vote, every time you abstain, those things weigh on you — they’re important to me … but I do need to be well for my children.”
To maintain her health and spend time with her young children, the 36-year-old decided to drop the position.
DeLoach told her colleagues she hopes community members and board members find a way to work together for improvements.
Board member Chris Lynch thanked DeLoach for her two years of service.
“She looks more relaxed already,” Lynch said. “[She has been] an extremely knowledgeable and a great advocate.”
Board member Paul Roesler echoed Lynch’s praise.
“There were always two people you didn’t want to speak after … one was LaTasha,” he said.
DeLoach fought tears as her fellow board members spoke to her.
“But you never know,” she said. “I might come back.”
She denied rumors that she might be resigning to take a position elsewhere.
“No, I did not take a position here, no, I am not running for governor, no, I am not running for City Council,” she said.
DeLoach said she hopes board members and community members spend less time focusing on divisive issues and more time on recognizing and celebrating the differences in community members.
“We have to find a way to work together — we have to find a way to uphold those different policies that we have,” she said. “They’re there to protect us as well as to protect the public as well as to protect employees, and we should be very careful of the line, that we don’t cross it, it doesn’t mean we don’t challenge it.”