Running forWard 1 Board of School Committee
Running as Non-Partisan Election
During my time as a stay-at-home mom, I was active in Webster’s PTO and taught as a substitute teacher in preschool, elementary school and middle school in addition to serving as a church school teacher at Grace Episcopal Church. I have lived in and loved Manchester since first calling it my home in 2002. It is where my husband and I chose to buy a home and raise our family.
I have been seated on the BoSC since March of 2021 as the Ward 1 representative.
I taught for 7 years at a public school as an 8th grade science teacher in Derry before taking time away from teaching to raise my family.
Time lived in NHI have lived in Manchester for 21 years.
I have a bachelor’s degree in geology and a master’s degree in education.
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Why are you running for school board?
I am running because I want to help bring positive change to the Manchester School District. I am a mother of three students in the district (two at Central and one at Webster) and have an education background, so I will continue to bring thoughtful solutions and listening ears to the table. I am extremely proud of the work the BoSC has accomplished since I joined 2 1/2 years ago . My depth of knowledge about our current projects and long term initiatives puts me in a great position to continue that work. I have proven to my community that I will listen to their concerns and use my voice on their behalf all while working collaboratively with my fellow board members and district administration to find practical solutions. I am proud to have been selected by the families and residents of Ward 1 to sit on the Board and I hope I have earned their vote to continue representing them and their needs.
What uniquely qualifies you for the Board of School Committee?
I have served as the Ward 1 Board of School Committee representative for the past 2 and 1/2 years and am proud to have used my voice to steer decisions in the direction of positive change for our district. I have an education background and experience in the classroom as well as three children in Manchester public schools. I have also been PTO board member for Webster Elementary School for the past six years. I am an active advocate for public schools and believe strongly in Manchester. I have lived here for 21 years and am committed to seeing our three children and their peers soar in the MSD classrooms. Having children attending Central, Webster, and Hillside over the next two years will give me a parent’s perspective on how things are working in our schools. My work on the Teaching and Learning Committee has helped bring new, updated Science and Social Studies curricula to the district, a new Course Catalog, and increased graduation requirements. Additionally, my work on the Finance and Facilities Committee has helped secure a vendor for our long term facilities plan and I will stay engaged in the District’s decision making as the Priorities (phases) of the plan are revealed, adjusted and approved. Overall, my intention is to highlight the positive things happening in our district, steer decisions in the best interests of our students, encourage equitable change for our curriculum and buildings, and offer constructive criticism where improvement is needed.
What are your thoughts and plans for the number of public schools needed in Manchester (with breakdown of elementary/middle/high schools in that number?)
I support Superintendent Gillis’ plan of a 3-4-12 model (three high schools, four middle schools and 12 elementary schools) for our district. I believe we can find efficiencies in the use and distribution of our schools with support from our facilities plan consultant, SMMA. We are making great strides in finally updating our outdated facilities and giving our students the learning environments they deserve.
What are your thoughts/plans on improving grade-level proficiency scores?
How would you address student equity?
“Is this equitable for our students?” is a question that I ask with every vote and each decision that is brought before me. With 21 schools in our district it is a challenge to make sure that opportunities and experiences are equitable but it is a challenge I am up for and we strive to look at each decision through an equity lens.
What are your thoughts on extra-curricular offerings in Manchester public schools?
I believe our extra-curricular offerings are good but there is always room for improvement. There are many clubs, sports, and events that our schools offer and they are always striving to open new doors. I believe recent progress like starting an elementary soccer program and the inclusion of robotics in our middle schools are steps in the right direction. I would like to see more feeder program sports at our elementary levels so that over time we can see an increase in enrollment of students in our high school (and middle schools) sports teams.
What are your thoughts on per-pupil expenditures/costs per student?
It is no surprise to many folks in Manchester that when it comes to per-pupil spending in NH that we rank the lowest, with $15,044 compared to the state average of $19,400. As a result, our exceptional teachers have to do more with less. With 47% of that money coming from our local taxpayers and only about 16% coming from state funding we need to pay close attention to decisions being made at the state house and use our voices to help stop the downshifting of costs to local communities.
What are your thoughts on attracting and retaining high quality Manchester School District staff?
One of my priorities as a board member is to continually look at ways to recruit and retain high quality educators. We have some of the best teachers in the state working for the Manchester School District and we must strive to keep their pay competitive and their working conditions desirable. This includes further reducing class sizes, providing targeted and meaningful professional development opportunities, and implementing fewer, carefully selected initiatives. We also have work ahead of us in terms of attracting a more diverse workforce that is a reflection of our unique student population.
What are your thoughts on and plans on school safety?
The Manchester School District takes student safety seriously and updates their Emergency Operation Plan yearly in collaboration with the MPD and MFD. Current plans are under way to also update the envelopes of some of our elementary schools to make the entrance more secure. As our new facilities plan progresses, I will continue to consider the safety of our students and staff.
What are your thoughts on or plans for addressing vocational and career-focused educational initiative?
I am fully supportive of the initiative to integrate more Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes into our high schools. CTE classes help students develop skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, research, and communication, among others. Additionally, data shows students who enroll in CTE courses have increased graduation rates and increased rates of enrolling in postsecondary education. Increasing CTE classes aligns with both our strategic plan and long-term facilities plans. I look forward to discussions between the Board, the district, and our facilities plan consultant on how to bring more CTE offerings into all of our high schools.
What are your thoughts on as well as plans for addressing issues and costs related to Special Education/IEPs?
With the hiring of our new Chief Student Services and Wellness Officer, Ms. Millora, and the continued talent from our Transportation Coordinator, Ms. O’Brien-Hebert, we have skilled professionals in the district with the experience and expertise to provide these necessary services, identify efficiencies, and support fiscally responsible decision-making.