Mills Is Woman of Accomplishment and Integrity. She’ll Let Us Know If She Can No Longer Serve. - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Mills Is Woman of Accomplishment and Integrity. She’ll Let Us Know If She Can No Longer Serve.

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Carol Mills made it to the unveiling of Fresno High School’s new mascot logo because nothing could keep her away.

She has a disability that makes it difficult to speak and has kept her from attending School Board meetings in person.

Portrait of GV Wire News Director Bill McEwen

Bill McEwen

Opinion

But there Mills was at the school, in a wheelchair, last week for three reasons:

She loves Fresno Unified. She loves Fresno High School and its students. And, during her 17 years as a trustee representing the Fresno High region, she has dedicated her heart, soul, and mind to education.

Bright, Respectful, Hardworking

Mills comes to board meetings fully prepared. Meaning: she has read the agenda front to back and is prepared to ask questions about murky statements and things she doesn’t understand.

When she goes to an out-of-town conference, she’s there to work and learn something beneficial for students and the district.

Rare is the school event that’s too small to attract her presence. She wants students and parents to know they are important.

She’s a School Board trustee. A damn good one who is entitled to the same rights and privacy as the rest of us.

Now in her fifth term, she has been the board’s sharpest mind and among the rare trustees to ask critical questions exposing blind spots in administration plans.

But those questions are asked politely. She’s not a headline hunter. Just a let’s-focus-on-the-facts trustee.

This respect of people and facts comes by way of temperament and training.

Mills earned a Juris Doctorate from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. She worked five years in the U.S. Department of Justice before becoming, in 1996, a Lead Appellate Court Attorney for the state Fifth District Court of Appeal.

So, it’s fair to say she knows the law and the Constitution inside out. As well as her legal obligations to constituents.

Trustee Carol Mills displays her Harvard certificate from the Accelerating Board Capacity Institute in Boston in 2019. (GV Wire/Nancy Price)

Mills’ Disability Is Nobody’s Business but Hers

Unfortunately, there are people out there demanding that Mills reveal what has put her into a wheelchair and causes her to rely on a computer-generated voice.

We have a right to know the medical condition of our trustee, they claim.

No, they don’t.

Mills isn’t entrusted with the nuclear codes. She can’t unilaterally order military strikes in a foreign land. Or sign off on the assassination of a terrorist.

She’s a School Board trustee. A damn good one who is entitled to the same rights and privacy as the rest of us.

In addition, her mind is as inquisitive and analytical as ever, say the people who know her best.

The Haters Need to Move On

All of us handle our medical conditions differently. Some of us share the journey with friends — or even to the public — in the hope of educating others about the challenges posed by the condition. Others cling to their privacy, allowing only family members to know. A few tell absolutely no one. Not even a spouse.

I know this: Carol Mills is an asset to students and our city. She’s also a woman of high integrity, ideals, and accomplishment. If she is incapable of serving, she’ll let us know.

Until then, the haters need to move on. Their obsession with Mills’ disability only illuminates their ignorance and absence of compassion.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email