Running forWard 6 Board of School Committee
Running as Non-Partisan Election
My name is Ken Tassey, Jr., and I’ve been a Manchester resident for 25 years. I have been married for 34 years to my sweetheart Kazuko (Kaz), originally from Kyoto, Japan. Our three 20-something-year-old children attended K-12 in Manchester public schools, each graduating from Central High and all live within an hour of our home. A little backgrounder: I opted to leave college early to do volunteer work, and within a year moved to NYC where I started a small company with friends contracting with hotels and commercial buildings in the city. I later moved from NY to Pusan, S. Korea, to support the launch of a pro-democracy newspaper at a time when North Korea was very active at infiltrating the south. I learned the language and culture and taught English to physicians and nurses,at a university hospital and to middle and high school students. I traveled to Kyoto, Japan to visit my wife’s family many times during my work in Korea where I built lifelong relationships and memories. I reference these experiences regularly, particularly in the context of intergenerational relations: parent-child and teacher-student interaction both in and outside our Western culture.
The honor to run for elected office to represent my ward (Ward 6) on the BOSC will be a personal first for me.
I have done volunteer grassroots campaign work in NH in recent past, so I have experience in the core elements of a successful campaign, such as canvassing, organizing volunteers, managing database, phone bank, surveys, mailers, sign design, sign-waving, election day activities, etc.
Current jobAfter exiting my company, I chose to start a career in real estate and currently an independent Realtor for Keller Williams Metropolitan in Bedford, NH.
I attended Stockton University and then, much later, I attended Norwich University in VT.
Best way to contact candidate978-886-0421
Why are you running?
I am running for Manchester’s Ward 6 member of the BOSC primarily because I care about the children attending our schools. I have concerns regarding Manchester’s recent student academic assessment scores, and feel that our city has more to offer students and their families. I feel qualified to provide value to the BOSC and hope to work with its members to make a positive impact on students’ experiences and outcomes.
What uniquely qualifies you for the Board of School Committee?
As a 25-year resident of Manchester and parent of three young adults who attended K-12 education in Manchester public schools, I am familiar with the multitude of issues and the highlights of our city’s schools. I have C-level management experience in business, and did everything from make the coffee and clean the toilets to negotiating clinical trial contracts and communications with the Securities and Exchange Commission in a publicly-traded company. I have strong interpersonal skills, am a unifier by nature, and tenacious when there is an important issue to be won. I believe that I will be a valuable addition to the board.
How would you rate the school district's current curriculum and why?
Regarding the current curriculum in our school district, candidly, I cannot speak to this as well as some of our veteran committee members, however, based on my knowledge of June 2021’s student assessment statistics for reading and math, our public schools are evidently and sorely missing the mark. As a member of the BOSC, I intend to dig deep into understanding where we have fallen short, and support (or recommend) policy that will improve outcomes as quickly as possible.
Do all students in the city have the access to a quality education regardless of where they live? Please elaborate on your answer.
The words “all” and “quality” in this question based on location of residence are quite loaded. First, we need to be certain that we are providing the quality of education that supports a successful student transition into the world at graduation. Currently in Manchester, 46% of eighth-graders are reading at a fifth-grade level or below. 38% of eighth-graders are doing math at a fifth-grade level or below. We cannot blame this on the students. Therefore, we must take responsibility for that failure and take quick, corrective action while working on the additional task of making sure that ALL students have access to classroom learning.
Should the Manchester School District be autonomous from the city government, a department of the city government or something else entirely?
The school district should not be an autonomous entity independent of the city government. All of the working parts of a city, which include the school system, are part of a larger body. While walking or running, does the left foot operate independent of the right foot? They work together in rhythm, as should the various components of a city management structure. Each foot makes sure that its counterpart stays on course. Breaking away from the city government removes needed checks and balances and invites consequential mistakes and oversight.
Manchester School District's governing body (currently known as the Board of School Committee, but proposed to be renamed as the Manchester School Board). Do you support this? If so, why (or why not?)
I support changing the name of BOSC to Manchester School Board.