Former teacher; 10 years on SC, 4 yrs. Chair, Full time only 3 absences in 10 yrs.; Pres-Elect MASC.
I have the knowledge, experience, and commitment to enable each of our students to obtain a great education. I ask tough questions and set high standards. My work ethic, leadership and work in education policy, budget and advocacy have been recognized by both state and national organizations and my position as the next President of the Mass. Assoc. of School Committees will enhance my advocacy bringing in even more state funds for Framingham. Frankly, I love what I am doing and I get results!
I am completing my fourth School Committee term, serving as Chair for four years and Vice-Chair for two. As a former K-8 teacher in multicultural and multilingual urban settings, I know what good education looks like. With all union contracts ending this year, I would be the only Committee member to ever have negotiated municipal contracts, with 10 years of experience and special training in the novel Interest-Based Bargaining method. I am the co-author of the national award-winning “New Members’ Handbook,” which I will use, along with my ten years of experience, to mentor new members faced with a steep learning curve. In addition to my incoming Presidency of the Mass. Association of School Committees, next year I have a position on the panel of the state committee for the accreditation of Framingham High School. Also, as a member of Governor Baker’s Local Government Advisory Commission, I will continue to have a seat at the education table for Framingham in our monthly meetings.
Framingham is an underperforming district with measurable imbalances between many schools. This is unacceptable. We must involve all stakeholders to evaluate data, curriculum, & supervision as well as social and emotional wellness and access to medical services. Incentives for literacy by Grade 3, reduced suspensions, mentoring, differentiation, inclusion, and improving language acquisition should be part of our collective bargaining process. Our Superintendent must maintain high standards for attainable goals that will ultimately lead to increased achievement.
Inadequate state and federal funding is burdening our taxpayers and is forcing us to cut staff, programs, services and materials. We should do annual surveys of facilities, and operations to eliminate waste. Other SC members can accompany me on my visits to Beacon Hill to ask for more for Framingham. Rather than cut our financial oversight as the current SC leadership wants, we should increase vigilance consistent with the law
We will confront underperforming schools with a transparent team approach with all stakeholders, embedding higher achievement in the DNA of every School Improvement and strategic plan, professional development, PTO meeting, etc. To do this, we will return to periodic evaluation using real metrics by depoliticizing leadership and using honest evaluation tools. Faculty and staff – including the principals – must be bilingual and culturally aware.
Commitment and oversight of School Committee functionality has dwindled with the current S.C. leadership. Our Academic Data Dashboard, which gave accurate metrics for oversight, must be reinstated! The current district “flavor of the month” and behind-closed-door initiatives have replaced evidenced-based programs to measure student achievement including literacy, suspension, drop out and wellness. This must change. Central administration should reflect the values, policies and goals of the S.C. from curriculum design to academic structure.
School Committee member since April of 2015, currently serving as Vice-Chair
My goal in running for reelection is to provide the necessary support of our newly hired Superintendent and continue making progress toward cleaning up the issues that were previously fueled by our former Superintendent and ignored by the former School Committee Chair. We have made great strides in bringing in new leadership and we must support the new Superintendent by allowing him the opportunity to make the necessary changes our district needs and by advocating for needed resources.
The strongest leadership quality I have which lends itself to serving on the School Committee is the ability to provide the needed support and resources a team requires to be successful and being smart enough to get out of their way. There is a special skill set required to maintain oversight of a team (in this case the Superintendent who then oversee's his team) and not try to micro-manage them.
In my first term on the Committee I played a very vocal role in advocating for immediate change in leadership of the district. While we fell one vote shy of the 5 needed to make this happen immediately, we were eventually successful in changing not only the Superintendent but also improving morale in the central office, putting us in a much better place at this time.
During my first term I, along with one of my colleagues have pushed to get the athletic fee's cut by more than half, and continue to push to make athletics accessible to all students regardless of family finances.
The biggest issue we have right now is classroom space and our growing student population. Our high school is currently at max capacity and the projection is for each class going forward for the next several years. We also have issues with space at King Elementary as we move towards building a full K through 5 school. Other school buildings in our district are in need of major renovations to continue to provide adequate services to our students. I have proposed a plan that addresses these issues by involving the Bethany property which is still available and can solve several of the issues we have.
Another major issue is the lack of consistency among our elementary and middle school curriculum. The Superintendent is working on a plan to provide consistency across the district and will require strong support from the School Committee to provide the resources needed to make these changes. I will work collaboratively with the other city leaders to ensure the support is provided.
The first thing we need to do is identify what specific areas are these schools under-performing in and why that is. Once the new leadership team has a clear understanding of what the issues are, the School Committee can become an advocate for support in providing the needed resources. The role of a School Committee is clearly defined and needs to be adhered to. A Committee has just three areas that fall under their purview: Setting the overall budget, managing the Superintendent and setting policy. Our role in getting these schools to increase in performance is to support the Superintendent and other leadership staff and make sure that they have what is required to execute the changes. The School Committee is not to step outside of these lines and get involved with choosing curriculum or making personnel decisions beyond that of the Superintendent and CFO. We need to act as a board and make the business decisions that allow our trained professionals to do their job.