Running forWard 2 Board of School Committee
Running as Non-Partisan Election
Family of four – wife Karen, and two children: Tommy in 7th grade at Hillside Middle School, and Emily in 5th grade at Smyth Road Elementary.
Experience as a Software Engineer and many years as an SAT, GRE, and math tutor.
Professional opera singer Cantor at St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester Chair, Manchester Senior Services Commission
I am currently in my first term as the Ward 2 Board of School Committee Member
Current jobProfessor of Music at Saint Anselm College since 2011. Serves as Faculty Senate President and teaches in the core humanities program.
Time lived in NH12 years in Manchester
BA Dartmouth College with a double major in Music and Mathematics modified with Computer Science
PhD Columbia University
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Why are you running?
After more conversations with teachers and parents, I learned that Manchester’s schools have been doing “more with less” for far too long. In fact, Manchester currently spends less per student than anywhere else in the state. That reality hurts our students and negatively affects the reputation of our schools. I want our schools to be a reason for people to move to Manchester, not from. It’s time for a bold vision for our District’s future.
What uniquely qualifies you for the Board of School Committee?
Having visited the schools and spoken with the principals, I know how much our teachers and staff do for our students. They need a Board that will work for them to solve these urgent problems. They also need a Board to courageously support a vision for what our schools can become. I promise to continue these important conversations when I am re-elected to the Board. We need a Board that works with and for our educators, a Board that invests in them and our students, a Board with the determination and persistence to get things done. As a tenured college professor, I am committed to academic excellence and I have experience with curriculum, assessment, accreditation, and shared governance. I also have flexibility in my schedule and a can-do attitude that will allow me to be a relentless advocate for our students and teachers. I’m proud to be endorsed by the Manchester Education Association. It’s a pivotal moment for Manchester schools with incoming funds from the State Education Dept, changing enrollments, and exciting ideas on the table such as dual language immersion schools, new facilities, and Pre-K access for all Manchester families. It’s time for Manchester’s School Board to think ahead and set the tone for the rest of New Hampshire. That’s why we need Board members who have the initiative and tenacity to get things done. And that’s why I’m running for the School Board. I’m ready to do the work, and I hope I can count on your support.
How would you rate the school district's current curriculum and why?
There are many great things happening in our District’s curriculum. I was especially happy to see Parker-Varney recently recognized nationally for its competency-based education program. I hope this approach will be taken up more broadly in our District’s schools. I also think Dr. Goldhardt is pursuing many exciting ideas for our District’s future, such as dual language immersion elementary schools. I think the District should accelerate these plans—such instruction would greatly help English learners and bridge our city’s cultures and communities.
I also believe that expanding the District’s Pre-K offerings to all Manchester children is something that would greatly help the community recover and move forward from the pandemic, by providing crucial early childhood education, which research has demonstrated is extremely important for all future learning. It would also help so many lower-income families who have difficulty affording pre-K instruction and child care. I’d also like the District to expand extra-curricular, enrichment, and after-school activities especially for Elementary and Middle School students. In the past year and a half, our children have spent so much time in front of screens on Google Meets, taking online tutorials, assessments, and watching videos that they desperately want and need face-to-face, hands-on learning. Studies have demonstrated that too much screen time is detrimental to student learning, particularly with regard to focus and attention. I urge the District to prioritize art, music, sports, and reading printed books, and to expand offerings that engage students in-person, encouraging them to be fully present in their learning. I hope that the curriculum will create more opportunities for these activities. I appreciate the District’s emphasis on student learning assessments, and I understand the importance of seeing where students are, particularly now, but I worry that too much emphasis on assessments, especially those using iReady or other online tools, might counter the critical mental health efforts also advocated by the District. While we of course need to follow the data and use such evidence to direct our efforts, we need to make sure school is a place where students want to be, where they are looking forward to learning, seeing friends and teachers, and enjoying their time there. I hope that the district will consider this as it weighs our re-entry this fall.
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?
It’s a pivotal moment for Manchester schools with substantial incoming funds from the federal government and changing enrollments. It’s time for Manchester’s School Board to look to the future and get things done now. The BOSC should follow the data and consider seriously the recommendations of the recent facilities studies. Whether this means upgrading current facilities and/or new construction, I hope this will be done in concert with the proposed building upgrades to improve ventilation and other public health upgrades in our schools’ infrastructure, to avoid wasting money and effort. That’s why we need Board members who have the initiative and tenacity to get things done—to work hard for all of our students.
Do all students in the city have the access to a quality education regardless of where they live? Please elaborate on your answer.
Yes and no. On the one hand, Manchester’s schools offer curriculum with great variety and depth. But there’s no doubt that facilities and programs vary in quality and availability by school. As an advocate for equity in education, I think this access for all is crucial. We need additional staff and teachers to improve our teacher/student ratios and to better accommodate our special education program. It’s extremely important that the School Board address any access issues quickly and thoroughly. Having visited the schools and spoken with the principals that serve students in Ward 2, I know how much our teachers and staff do for our students. And they need a Board that will work for them to solve urgent problems. They also need a Board to courageously support a vision for what our schools can become. I promise to continue these important conversations when I am elected to the Board. We need a Board that works with and for our educators, a Board that invests in them and our students, a Board with the determination and persistence to get things done.
Should the Manchester School District be autonomous from the city government, a department of the city government or something else entirely?
Yes, the Manchester School District (and Board) should become autonomous from the city government.
What are your thoughts on the Manchester School District’s financial decisions in recent years?
I think the Board has done the best it could under difficult circumstances and financial limitations. As I stated earlier, it’s a pivotal moment for Manchester schools with substantial incoming funds from the federal government—I believe the number is close to $60 million over the next three years. We need to maximize the opportunities this funding provides and support the bold vision proposed by the District to create a brighter future for all of our students.
What is your perception of Manchester Proud's recent Community Partnership proposal?
I think Manchester Proud has done some great, heroic work for our students and I believe its plans to create stronger community partnerships is necessary, timely, and exciting. Their efforts only support and enhance those of our District administration.
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, I think the renaming makes sense (changing to Manchester School Board)–because that better reflects how we already refer to the governing body. And I believe the other proposed charter changes also make sense (in terms of Board membership and fiscal autonomy).
Anything else you'd like to add
It’s time for Manchester’s School Board to think ahead and set the tone for the rest of New Hampshire. That’s why we need Board members who have the initiative and tenacity to get things done. And that’s why I’m running for the School Board. I’m ready to do the work, and I hope I can count on your support.