Running forWard 4 Board of School Committee
Running as Non-Partisan Election
Board of School Committee representing Ward 4 for three terms from 2016 - present. Elected by my BOSC colleagues in 2020 as Vice-Chair.
Taught Art, General Science and Regents Biology at The School of the Arts Magnet in the Rochester City School District for five years before moving into my current house on Belmont St. in 1991.
BFA '84 from Rochester Institute of Technology in Medical Illustration.
MFA '94 from Massachusetts College of Art in Painting.
Best way to contact candidateBOSCward4@mansd.org
Why are you running?
I am running again to continue the progress we have made in student achievement and to make sure the current administration is supported in its efforts to promote our mission of “Excellence and Equity. Every classroom. Everyday.”
What uniquely qualifies you for the Board of School Committee?
I am uniquely qualified as a former teacher, parent of two Central HS graduates and 30-year taxpayer in Ward 4. I have served as chair of three important committees: Redistricting, Buildings and Sites and now Policy. I have been a regular classroom volunteer for the past 21 years and held multiple parent organization leadership positions at McDonough, Hillside MS and Central HS. I understand how schools work and what our taxpayers and students need.
How would you rate the school district's current curriculum and why?
Progressing toward excellence! In these last two years we have adopted both Math and Reading K-8 curriculums to improve student outcomes across the district in a unified way that is supported by robust professional development rarely invested in previously. We are also mapping all of our classes K-12 to competencies so that every student must master material before moving on. This allows any student to fill in gaps in knowledge and move independently at their own pace, including moving ahead of their peer age group if they are able to do so.
What are your thoughts on the Manchester School District’s facilities? How many schools should the district have and what grades should each school have?
Sadly, this is one area where Manchester has fallen behind. Since coming onto the board six years ago, we have begun a program of deferred maintenance where we bond a certain amount of funds every two years to keep up with the constant deterioration of our aging buildings. A recent facilities study showed that the average age of our buildings is over 70 years. Many of those years passed without much investment and now we are paying the price for the lack of upkeep. In cooperation with the City Maintenance Department we are doing our best to keep our schools in good condition, but we are past due to make some important decisions about schools here in Manchester. There will be community input sessions over the next few months to help us make these decisions. Last year the board made the difficult decision to close Hallsville Elementary.
We are making progress towards restructuring our elementary schools to be K-4, our middle schools to be 5-8 and high school will remain the traditional 9-12. The changes will reduce class sizes and give middle school students greater exposure to science, social studies, extracurricular sports and clubs. This longer transition from elementary school to high school will benefit our students by providing more time to develop independence and skills needed to be successful.
Do all students in the city have the access to a quality education regardless of where they live? Please elaborate on your answer.
Great question. I believe every school does the best it can for our students. Some facilities are better equipped to deliver a 21st-century education than others. Our new math and reading curriculums and push toward competency-based education and more project-based learning is going to make a HUGE difference in the next 3-5 years and I believe it will put all of our schools on equal footing.
Should the Manchester School District be autonomous from the city government, a department of the city government or something else entirely?
The Manchester School District is the largest school district in the State of New Hampshire. The Board of School Committee mirrors the Board of Mayor and Alderman and is duly elected by the citizens at the same time as the BMA every two years. Why should the BMA make budgetary decisions for the schools when they know very little about school district issues? Honestly, if the voters don’t like the decisions the BOSC makes or the job we’re doing they can just kick us out. Same with the BMA. Right now no one has to take responsibility for the performance of our schools because each board just points the blame at the other board. “They don’t fund us…” or “They don’t spend the funds the right way…”. I recommend the voters give the Board of School Committee the authority and responsibility of running the schools – just like they do in Concord.
What are your thoughts on the Manchester School District’s financial decisions in recent years?
The District has always been very prudent with the funds that have been allocated to us. As a district we have the highest percentage of students in poverty, the highest percentage of English Language Learners, as well as, Special Education students; so we are arguably the State’s district with the highest needs, and yet we are consistently at the very bottom of districts in the state in per-pupil spending. Our faculty and staff do so much with the resources they are given and are truly amazing! The fault belongs with the State of New Hampshire which has downshifted costs for years to local taxpayers. New Hampshire is one of the most regressive education funding systems in the entire country and it costs local taxpayers too much to keep their school systems on par.
What is your perception of Manchester Proud's recent Community Partnership proposal?
Manchester Proud is Manchester. It is community members coming together to support our public schools. Instead of just saying our schools need to be better, this bipartisian group of energetic and generous community leaders have engaged with the whole city of Manchester to collect ideas on how to make things better for our students and their families. The Community Partnership Portal called “Compass” will help our students and families to easily connect to a large variety of opportunities and organizations in our community. Thank you Manchester Proud! Keep up the great work!
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?)
YES! The Board of School Committee is awkward, cumbersome and everyone just refers to us as the school board anyway, so, yes let’s be the Manchester School Board!
Anything else you'd like to add
Thank you to Manchester’s premier online newspaper, InkLink, for giving me this opportunity to reach so many readers with my ideas and thoughts. Anyone, please feel free to call me with any further questions or concerns. I am here to listen and to be your voice for our students.