Each week, the Abington News is asking the three candidates for the School Committee a question to help voters better understand them as candidates. Election Day is Saturday, April 29.
Candidate responses are published as submitted, in the order they were received, and were not edited.
This week’s question: What experiences and qualifications do you have that makes you a good candidate for the School Committee?
As an Abington resident, and parent of school aged children in Beaver Brook and the Middle School, I have supported our public schools for years. I have held various volunteer leadership roles throughout the years including Beaver Brook PTO secretary for 3 years, treasurer, softball coach, and Girl Scout leader. I have also sat on the Chester J. Millett, Jr. Outstanding Teacher and Educational Support Staff Award review committee and the 2014 “A Better Community (ABC)” committee in support of our new co-located middle/high school. My experiences have provided insight into the population of students and families we serve within Abington public schools. I have attended school committee meetings since 2020 and have had some great conversations with our administration. If you’ve been in attendance, I’m the one furiously jotting down questions and thoughts in the back of the room. I am passionate about public education and am genuinely intrigued by our progress as a district.
I am a Certified Public accountant (CPA) and currently run my own consulting business. I love numbers which will benefit our committee with the annual budget process. As mentioned during the March meeting, Abington’s budget is, and has been, in much better shape than surrounding towns. We do not have to lay-off teachers in the hopes we can hire them back. We don’t have annual overrides. But could a fresh set of eyes, who has balanced corporate budgets, help identify opportunities for efficiency? Maybe!
Most importantly, as both a community member and professional, I am curious and open minded. I love listening to all perspectives, especially if I initially disagree. I take time to reflect. I am not afraid to admit to a mistake and change course, if appropriate. Gathering feedback from others, reflecting and executing on a goal are areas I feel are critical to our school committee’s success. I have experienced Abington schools at the elementary and middle school levels and developed relationships with a wide range of families.
A wise school committee member of mine in another district imparted upon me that the committee’s goal is student achievement. Hiring and retaining an excellent superintendent and approving policies and budget are essential to student achievement. Each student and family are different. We need community feedback, especially from students, to help them succeed. I am prepared to spend the time asking questions and listening on behalf of our community. I am ready to help identify and address our evolving needs with the support of our educators and families in enhancing student achievement. I welcome the opportunity to hear your feedback or suggestions. I hope to see many faces at Town meeting on April 3rd at the Middle/High School and our elections on April 29th at Beaver Brook. Don’t forget to request an absentee ballot/early voting if needed by April 24th. Thank you for your interest in Abington’s candidates!
I believe that the most important qualification that I have, and it’s not unique to me, is that I’m an involved and dedicated parent of children attending Abington Public Schools. I have, and will continue to care about all the children in our district and want to make sure they receive the best education possible in a safe and supportive environment.
My involvement with Abington Public Schools started in 2012, as I immediately became a part of the Center School PTO when my son started there on his 3rd birthday. I felt it was important to ask questions, be informed on decisions and events that were being made for the school, and more importantly, as a parent and community member, become involved in doing this work.
My experiences begin with having served the last six years as a member of the Abington School Committee. Throughout this time, I’ve been able to apply many different traits that help make me a valuable member of the committee. Through my first few years, I served as a member of the budget sub-committee. My degree in math and background in finance applied in my everyday job, was something that helped me ask questions and quickly understand how our processes worked. I’ve also been a member of the policy sub-committee the last two years, where I’ve learned that it’s important to look at a policy as it will relate to any situation that it may cover. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of multiple hiring committees, working alongside other parents and staff, to hire school administrators in the district.
However, the work and time spent on my most recent term of the School Committee has provided the most experience, while also making me uniquely qualified to remain a member of the committee. Serving on the committee during a pandemic has forced me, as well as other committee members, to adapt quickly in an ever-changing environment. We all had to work together, as a team, to develop a plan for student learning in a remote and hybrid environment. This was something none of us thought we would ever have to navigate. Together, we were able to come up with what we felt was the best plan for the students of Abington to continue to receive the best education possible. I was also able to have the experience of negotiating and settling a new contract that was agreeable to both the school department and our staff. Listening to, and understanding the needs and wants of the Abington Education Association, while also maintaining the best interest of the school department and taxpayers can be a unique challenge, but also extremely rewarding when it all comes together.
All of these different experiences, many of which have occurred recently, have helped shape what I believe is my greatest qualification, the ability to maintain professionalism and respect at all times. During the past year as committee chair, as well as the years preceding it as a member, I’ve strived to maintain balance and order of meetings, without having a self-serving agenda. I’ve allowed open dialogue from many members of the community, and listened to all of them with an open mind. I fully understand and embrace that a committee made up of different viewpoints is healthy while serving on an elected board. I also hold a high standard for respectful dialogue during these open discussions.
I believe that being an invested parent in our schools and community along with a combination of all the above experiences and qualifications, many of which have occurred as a current board member, make me a good candidate for re-election to the Abington School Committee.
I have lived in Abington for a little over 8 years now. I have four young children whose ages range from 20 months to 8 years old. I have been attending school committee meetings regularly, ever since my oldest started at Beaver Brook. I regularly attend and participate in our PTO and have volunteered at various school events as well in the classroom. As a parent, I have a personal interest in preserving and improving the quality of our school system.
I am a Registered Nurse working both inpatient at a Boston hospital as well as in the community as a home health nurse. I believe my experience and perspective as a nurse would be beneficial to our board. At the hospital I am accustomed to working in teams which is a necessity for a committee environment. For many years now I have worked with palliative patients providing end of life care. I am comfortable engaging in what are often uncomfortable and difficult conversations. If elected to your school committee, I would not shy away from challenging discussions. I would listen to others and be an active participant in the dialogue. I would remain transparent in my own actions and those of the committee. As a home health nurse in the community, I provide education and culturally competent care to a diverse population of patients. I take time to understand patient backgrounds and what might impact the care I provide. I would make the same commitment to the Abington schools and remain sensitive to differences that could impact the discussions we have as well as our decisions.
I am a mom to an amazing son who is nonverbal Autistic. My experience as a special needs mom has given me a strong understanding of the importance in supporting and educating each student as an individual, whether neurotypical or neurodivergent. I have been able to utilize my skills as a patient advocate and apply that knowledge and drive to be the best advocate for my son and other children with special needs. I would like to further utilize that skill and advocate for all Abington students by helping to create and maintain policies that guide the district in a way that positively impacts ALL students.
I believe my experiences are uniquely suited to make an impact on committee discussions and outcomes by applying my abilities in active listening, critical thinking, using evidence-based approaches, and asking key questions that can result in new thinking, new discussions, and positive outcomes. I believe our school committee works hard and has served our community well over the years. But I also believe our committee could use change and a more diversified perspective. If elected, I will use my knowledge, skills and experience to shape strategies and policies in order to bring about change in a way that best serves our children and the community.
Thank you and I ask that you please consider me for one of your two votes for Abington School Committee on April 29th.
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