Currently works in Maynard public schools, parent of a special needs child & retired military.
I'm seeking this position because I believe transitioning to a city will require leadership that understands and can articulate the uniqueness, needs and desires of our community. As a proud Framingham native and graduate of South High School, I was fortunate to have received a quality education in FPS. I believe that foundation enabled me to persevere and be successful in my endeavors. If elected my goal is to work collaboratively with colleagues & others to give students similar opportunities.
I believe my experience as a substitute teacher for a number of years as well as my career in the Army serving as a Human Resources Staff Sergeant and my life experience being a parent of a special needs child are solid qualifications. Being an educator and a soldier remarkably have some important similarities, they both require interpersonal skills, teamwork, the ability to devise solid plan, execute them as well as the ability to objectively critique them. In addition; both jobs require one to exercise sound judgement, patience and perseverance. If elected i will employ those unique skill sets to solve problems and help our school district overcome challenges.
The top 2 challenges facing FPS are increasing student enrollments and our 3 under performing schools. I believe the issue of increased enrollments has been continually addressed over the last several years by current and past school committees. The King Elementary School is now reopened and to my knowledge there's a plan in place to reconstruct Fuller Middle School. Increased enrollments mean we must get creative about how we plan to distribute our student population and perhaps look to best practices implemented elsewhere. My hope is that when the new Fuller School is completed, it will address the needs of students, educators and the community. In addition; as our enrollment continues to increase we need to be more proactive about lobbying for increased funding to our representatives both in the State House and Capitol Hill in Washington. The issue of underperforming schools i address in the next question.
The 3 underperforming schools in FPS are disappointing, however i have all the confidence that we can and will bring those schools up to par and beyond. I suspect our new Superintendent has a plan already in place but I would propose to create a small task force comprising of key leadership to include select teachers and other stakeholders at the 3 schools. This task force will devise a short/long term plan to present to School Committee vis a vis the Superintendent. I would hope any plan would be a top to bottom analysis that would include but not limited to allocation of financial resources, curriculum with special attention paid to ELL inclusion, MCAS preparation regimen, professional development and the efficacy of school choice. Finally, i would urge our school leadership to improve communication and outreach between teachers and parents. A large part of improving our schools and student achievement begins at home.
Former college administrator, consultant to Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Town Meeting member
Framingham's parents, teachers, administrators and staff require a School Committee that understands the increasingly complex and difficult job each of them has as they work to provide our diverse, changing and growing student population with an education that allows each student to succeed wherever their life's journey leads. I am running to provide the hard work, leadership, accountability and experience to do the best that the City of Framingham can do.
My experience as a college administrator at Bentley, Babson, Harvard and the New England School of Law, combined with my consulting experience with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, early childhood education, literacy, dropout prevention, substance abuse prevention, and connecting educational success to economic development, give me a wide range of perspectives that can benefit the Framingham Public Schools. My local leadership experience as a Town Meeting member from Precinct 12 has taught me valuable lessons about municipal finance, taxation, budgeting and the critical balance between taxpayer fairness and investment in our schools.
If elected, my priorities will be:
1) investing time and funds needed to support students, parents and teachers through efficient ways to implement School Choice while providing the individual education and social supports necessary; pursuing birth- to grade 3 approaches to help our parents be sure their children are healthy, ready to learn, and reading at grade level; and by making it a top priority that the diversity of our faculty and administration reflects the rich diversity of the students in our schools,
2) advocating for 21st Century school building projects that include assuring that the new Fuller Middle School in my district has the latest teaching technology, energy efficiency and room for growth, and that we build an elementary school in the southwest part of Framingham to address the geographic imbalance and attendant time and costs of transportation.
The School Committee's role is to listen, measure and provide support to help under-performing schools achieve their own strategic vision and plan. This means working with school principals, teachers, students and parents to take steps needed to improve student engagement and learning. We must invest in professional development for our teachers, staff, and principals so they can learn and implement best practices to engage students and parents in learning and grade-level reading. We must continually focus on what’s missing from the perspective of the students, their parents, teachers, teaching assistants, school nurses, coaches and staff. We must then dedicate time and money for the tools, resources and methods to turn things around. Ultimately, the School Committee must take responsibility, listen, invest and monitor remedies that fit individual schools' needs to makes a turnaround possible.