Five candidates are running for election or re-election to the Barrington School Committee.
Patch asked them why Barrington voters should vote for them over their opponents? Here are their answers.
Barrington residents should think of the School Committee as a team and elect those persons who can contribute and work as a team. My background with thirty years in business brings a unique skill set to the School Committee. I am practical, direct and have high expectations for our district. With critical decisions to be made with regard to our strategic plan, district technology, facility planning, and contract negotiations, my voice and perspective is needed at the table.
In addition to my passion for high quality and effective public education which I brought to the School Committee in 1996, I now have the benefit of 16 consecutive years on the School Committee, 12 of those in leadership as Chair. Many of those local experiences are referenced above. In addition to the value of that work at the local level, I have the benefit of extensive policy making experience at the state and national level. I am now serving in my twelfth (12) consecutive year on the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, including eight (8) years as its Vice-Chair. In that role I have served as chair of numerous committees relating to curriculum, educator quality, secondary school reform, assessments, accountability measures and the development and implementation of our relatively new state education funding formula. In connection with my role on the Board of Regents, I have also served as a member of the National Association of State Boards of Education ("NASBE") since 2001. I served as the Rhode Island member of the Government Affairs Committee of NASBE from 2006 through 2011 and as the Chair of that Committee during 2009 - 2011. That opportunity has allowed me to participate in the process for the development of education related legislation and administrative regulations at the Federal level and also to help coordinate and mobilize efforts for the enactment of various federal initiatives and programs by the various state boards of education around the country. In October, 2011, I was elected by representatives of those various State Boards as President-Elect of NASBE. During the coming year, I will be working on addressing the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act to replace "No Child Left Behind" and responding to issues relating to the implementation of the Common Core and the related assessments by the various states. I look forward to bringing the resources of those state and national positions to the Barrington School District.
I also have the benefit of having participated in numerous education related forums for the development and enhancement of safe and effective learning environments over the last several years. I believe that all of these works, combined with my undiminished passion for this work, allows me to bring a valuable package of experience and perspective to Barrington. I hope the community will support my re-election for these reasons.
My strengths as a candidate include being a teacher, a former Barrington schools parent, and a longtime BPS volunteer. During my time at the Harvard Graduate School of Education I learned a lot about educational theory...but that is very different from my hands-on task of facing a classroom full of children every day and working to ensure a quality experience for each student. I hope to be an advocate for students, parents, and teachers, as that partnership is so critical to success.
As a preschool teacher one of my main goals would be to institute all day kindergarten. The research really points to the academic strides made in the elementary grades made by children who have had that opportunity, versus those who have not. I also hope we can broaden our older students' experience through a variety of online and AP courses, as well as STEM courses.
Though the years I have developed many positive relationships in town through teaching and volunteering. As a caring, compassionate community member. I value excellent, inclusive education. I hope that those experiences will encourage the citizens of Barrington to vote for me.
Two aspects of my professional background separate me from the other candidates for Barrington School Committee. First, I bring a breadth and depth of experience based in the U.S. and abroad. A Harvard-trained educator, I have first-hand knowledge of other top performing schools and nations that comes from working in great classrooms throughout the world, and have taught all kinds of learners, from preschoolers to graduate students. My knowledge of public schools is based on more than classroom experience, however. I have also worked in public and private universities and in a for-profit business, as well as in legislative chambers, a range of settings that has allowed me to see how public education is tightly interwoven with other facets of our society and economy.
Second, I being more than an understanding “what works” in public education: I know “what works better, and at what cost.” As a researcher who prioritizes hard evidence and as someone with a keen knowledge of education finance, I have documented the trade offs see.n in different education spending decisions. I steadfastly maintain that Barrington taxpayers, who provide the great majority of funds for our public schools, deserve to have a rationale for their school budget. Within a handful of years, the district will make additional financial requests for technology, a middle school construction project, and other items. With each budget item, the school committee must earn taxpayers’ trust that these requests will be scrutinized and questioned, that they will be as economical as possible, especially for those who are on fixed incomes, and that decisions about spending will be as transparent as possible.
I have decided to focus my professional life on education and public service, a decision that is derived from my personal conviction that public education represents a fundamental strength of our society. A product of a public school education, I value the essential role that public schools play in breathing new life into our society. The decisions I have made with regard to my own family’s education also speak to my belief in public education. Like many others in town, my husband and I moved here because of the reputation of the town’s public schools and our two children are now enrolled in the Barrington public schools. At the end of the day, I am a mother who wants those schools to be the absolute best they can be and who is happy to add my perspective, professional experiences, and personal commitment to help make Barrington a pace-setting school district of world-class caliber.
Barrington needs school committee leadership that looks beyond the borders of Rhode Island and our nation to create an excellent 21st century learning environment for all our children, and that is also reasonable to taxpayers. I think a school district of world-class caliber must deliberately focus its efforts on four actions: building the capacity of its principals and teachers, using technology in instructionally meaningful ways, investing in full-time learning opportunities for kindergarteners, and analyzing a variety of data to discover what works better, efforts that I fully intend to support. I am dedicated to collaborating with other school committee members and the people who work in our schools to make this happen in Barrington.
Thank you for your consideration, and I respectfully request that you vote for me on Election Day, November 6th.
Four years ago I made my first foray into politics by asking for your support to serve on the Barrington School Committee. I did so with the desire to serve as a champion for meeting the needs of diverse learners and to promote the social, emotional, and physical well-being of all Barrington students. Over the last four years, I have worked tirelessly on initiatives associated with both of these goals. If re-elected, I will continue serve as a champion for these important goals.
I am proud of my record service and I am proud of the achievements of the school committee over that period.
I am proud of the fact that, despite historic fiscal challenges, Barrington remains a district of state, regional, and national distinction; and we have done so while remaining a district with one of the lowest rates of per-pupil expenditure in the state.
More recently, I am proud of the fact that we successfully completed a leadership transition that required the filling of six key central office or building level administrative positions with thoughtful, dedicated, and innovative educational leaders. Of that group, I am particularly proud of our superintendent search and of our decision to appoint Mr. Michael Messore to the district’s top spot.
I am also proud to have served the School Committee as its Chair for one term and as its Vice-Chair for three terms, as well as serving as the Chair of its Health & Wellness subcommittee for the past four years.
My passion and commitment to serve as a member of your School Committee have not waned. I have been humbled by the trust that you placed in me four years ago and I pledge to continue to hold that trust dear if I am fortunate enough to be re-elected.
I ask you to weigh my record of service as you consider your vote, and I respectfully ask once again for your support.