1) What background or prior life experience qualifies you for a position on the Board of Education? What inspired you to run for a position on the BOE at this particular time?
Currently, I am running for re-election to the Bristol BOE. During my first term I served on the Personnel Committee, the Student Achievement Committee, and chaired the Communications and Community Relations Committee. I have enjoyed this service and would welcome the opportunity to continue.
I have two children, one a 2011 BEHS graduate and the other an eighth-grader at NEMS. I have been involved in many volunteer activities at their schools over the last decade which provided me with an understanding and appreciation of the public education process.
2) If elected, what would be your immediate priorities?
It is essential that during this difficult economic time we continue to provide the same strong educational services to Bristol’s students; therefore, I believe we need to continue to work diligently to get the State to meet its ECS obligation, and to maintain a strong working relationship with City officials as well.
3) What is the role of parents and teachers in educational decision making? How will you seek out the input of each and maintain communication?
Open communication between parent and teacher is important as each has a unique responsibility in the student’s education but a shared goal of student success. Conferences, email, and Parent Portal are all successful. Schedule demands of both parents and teachers are barriers to maintaining communication, so we need to utilize technology effectively and use email more often.
4) What are the dividing lines between parents, teachers, and administrators when it comes to accountability for student progress?
Parents are their children’s primary educators during the preschool years and it is essential that they are equipped with the tools necessary to prepare their children to start school, sending them off to kindergarten ready and eager to learn, and staying involved throughout their educational experience in a support role. Administrators need to be strong instructional leaders, equipping the teachers with the tools they need to effectively teach the diverse population in the Bristol schools. Our teachers are serving on the front line, educating and preparing the students for life beyond K-12. Each of these three groups is an essential component of education. I don’t see the roles as having dividing lines, but working in concert with each other toward the same goal.
5) What is your opinion of the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) act and its legacy?
While its intentions were admirable, NCLB has failed in its mission due to overly stringent regulations and I believe it needs a complete overhaul.
6) What else would you like our members to know about your candidacy?
Public education in general is facing financial roadblocks, most notably in urban districts such as Bristol, during a time when keeping up with technology and staying competitive is critical. Add to that we have some daunting tasks ahead of us in Bristol, for example, the opening of the two new schools in the fall of 2012. Having served on the Personnel Committee, I have worked diligently to maintain a solid relationship with the bargaining units and will work hard to maintain that. I believe my experience on the Board will prove beneficial in the next term and I welcome any comments or questions.