Running forWard 1 School Board
Running as Non-Partisan Election
I was born and raised in New York to a Hispanic father and Sicilian Mother. My father was self employed as a Commercial Artist. He was able to flawlessly draw by hand many of the graphics we now use a computer to create. My mother was a public school Home Economics teacher who designed and sewed all our clothes. We never realized we wore Haute couture! My brother, sisters and I were raised to embrace education. After a lifetime in New York, my husband and I choose the great state of New Hampshire as our new home. We purchased a beautiful craftsman house in the North End of Manchester and felt “at home” immediately.
Retired from New York corporate headquarters of Verizon Communications after 23 years of service as Senior Financial Analyst overseeing all relevant sales performance financial information for the $1B Northeast footprint (New York, New England, New Jersey) for the Government and Education Segment and was awarded the prestigious Masters Club Award of Outstanding Financial Support of the Northeast Sales Vice President and team.
Retired from the Elliot Health System after 7 years of service as Senior Financial Analyst overseeing Physician practices Budgeting, Financial Analysis, Projection and other strategic and operation financial planning activities by working collaboratively with business leaders to develop, implement and monitor short and long term financial strategies to further the Physician groups’ objectives.
Time lived in NHI have lived in Manchester for 13 years.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and Elementary Education from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, NY.
I earned a Master of Arts Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and possess a New York State Permanent Teaching Certification.
I also have a New Hampshire Teaching Certification in Comprehensive Business Education and Art Education.
Due to the economic turbulence of the late 1970’s and the curtailment of enrichment studies in the public school system, I returned to school to study Accounting.
I earned an additional Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Dominican College and an MBA in Accounting from Manhattan College.
Why are you running for school board?
I want to be part of an effective stewardship of resources supporting the Manchester School District to advance our student success goals and determine what programs have the greatest impact. My goal is to implement a sustainable planning and budgeting process in which key stakeholders gather information on academic performance and cost structure. Additionally, I would like to establish a budgeting process that will utilize this data to optimize resource allocation supporting academic excellence and expanding resources for students and staff.
What qualifies you as the best candidate for this office?
I bring a unique perspective combining decades of financial experience and my foundation in Elementary and Art Education. Children deserve a solid background in Reading, Math, Science, the Arts and Sports and deserve the fiscally responsible funding to support these goals. My goal is to be a champion for all students and represent the various perspectives across our vast Manchester community and support the continued growth of our excellent school district.
What are your thoughts on the Manchester School District's relationship to city government?
Strong schools are the backbone to a strong community. The Manchester School District is the community’s education steward. It has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the funding provided by the taxpayers and should be accountable to the leadership in the city government. My goal is to be a champion for all students and represent the various perspectives across our vast Ward 1 Manchester community and support the continued growth of our excellent school district.
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 the present number of schools existing in the Manchester School District. Of course, ongoing maintenance in the current schools is necessary and renovations focused on the new innovations such as technology, science, air inflow quality and defensive design elements are an important part of progressing education. Currently, the cost of a new building is prohibitive for the city of Manchester without State or Federal funding to support the initiative. The limited funding should be prioritized towards other needs challenging the school district.
What are your thoughts/plans on improving grade-level proficiency scores?
Deleveling will be implemented during the 2023-2024 academic year in Manchester School District. The prior program of studies created divisions among students at the high school and deleveling removes the barriers that only allow certain students access to high levels of academics. This initiative will only be successful if teachers are provided additional assistance in the classroom using paraprofessionals and if monthly evaluation of the students’ academic performance is instituted. Evaluation consists of ascertaining if the student is meeting the responsibilities of the course by attending class, paying attention and contributing, completing homework assignments and preparing adequately for tests. Only then will the grade level proficiency scores improve.
How would you address student equity?
Schools should be a community of trust where students from all backgrounds and identities feel safe to speak up. Equity begins with a feeling of personal safety. Safety creates access to a quality education. Schools with a culture of safety will promote the protection of all students from violence, threats, theft, bullying, the sale or use of illegal substances and mental and psychological abuse all of which affects our students’ academic performance and our staffs’ ability to educate. Increased, responsible funding and investment in the advancement of safety and health measures, with access to mental health professionals, partnering with parents, should be one of the top priorities of the school board.
What are your thoughts on extra-curricular offerings in Manchester public schools?
Extracurricular activities are a great tool through which students gain a sense of belonging and connectedness to their school while receiving support for their social and emotional needs. They gain a feeling of purpose accompanied by the understanding of teamwork, dedication, success, failure, time management and the ability to build positive relationships with other students. When students feel that they belong and are valued, their intrinsic motivation kicks in and they have a desire to do well in school.
What are your thoughts on per-pupil expenditures/costs per student?
In total, New Hampshire schools spent an average of $19,400 per student in the last school year, of which an average of $11,970 per student was paid for by local property taxes. The increase in cost per pupil comes even as many schools are losing students; New Hampshire has had a continuous decline in public school enrollment since 2002. The costs per student should be reevaluated each academic year.
What are your thoughts on attracting and retaining high quality Manchester School District staff?
School districts should ensure that teachers’ compensation is on par to other professions requiring the same level of education and provide teachers with necessary teaching resources. The most effective policies for attracting and retaining strong educators also includes professional support and working conditions as well as improving district and school management practices that otherwise create obstacles to recruitment and retention.
What are your thoughts on the Manchester School District's relationship with private schools, charter schools and other school districts that have tuition agreements with Manchester?
Public money used for Private Schools, Charter Schools and other School Districts should be subject to the same academic scrutiny as the funding for public schools. They must be held to the same standards of accountability, transparency and equity and proven increase in student learning. If achieved, I support tuition agreements with Manchester.
What are your thoughts on and plans on school safety?
Our efforts should be focused on preventing a dangerous situation from occurring in the first place. Reporting troubling behaviors through Tip Lines which students and others anonymously or confidentially share their concerns about another’s threatening behavior provides opportunities to teachers to step in, for students to speak up and for families to help a student who may be in psychological or emotional distress. Finally, Identifying the cause of the concerning behavior will help build a plan for supporting or monitoring the student, their behavior and their communications.
What are your thoughts on and/or plans for addressing remote learning/other uses of technology in local education?
Engaged students are attentive and curious. They find meaning in what they are learning whether they are in the classroom or online. However, many students rely on the structure and support of in person school to help them stay on track with assignments. Remote learning does not promote the socialization needed for a child’s development for both physical and emotional wellbeing. Finally, it is more difficult for teachers to ascertain if a child is going through something difficult at home ranging from food inadequacy, to internet access reliability, to stress and anxiety. I do not support remote learning for the challenges it presents for teachers and students alike.
What are your thoughts on or plans for addressing vocational and career-focused educational initiative?
Vocational programs are the best way to introduce students to the workforce. Practical hands-on training focusing on a specific trade will result in securing a relevant job and the potential of a financially successful career. I support the continued development of career technical education offerings and the funding to support these initiatives.
What are your thoughts on as well as plans for addressing issues and costs related to Special Education/IEPs?
The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators and students to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities or special needs. Generally, the cost to educate students with the highest needs is almost triple the cost to educate a student without needs causing fiscal distress, and giving rise to political discord. I suggest a separate exceptional needs fund, predominantly financed by the state, be established to subsidize the gaps when the Manchester School District faces particularly costly and challenging cases.