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School Committee Candidate Spotlight: Veronica Wiseman

What is your name?

Veronica Anastasio Wiseman

Which School Committee term are you running for?

Three-year

What is your personal experience or background with PreK-12th grade public education in Massachusetts?

I am a speech language pathologist with Title IX certification and over the past 30 years I have had experience working in and consulting to K-12 schools. I am a parent/step-parent to 5 children who all attended public schools, three of them here in Sharon. I have been involved in parent leadership at every level, following my kids as they progressed, raising funds through grants and donations for additional programming and to revitalize school buildings and to support students and faculty. While my kids were at Heights, the PTO rebuilt two playgrounds and, through those projects, inspired a core group of dedicated parents to step up, show up and volunteer. I have a deep respect for the work of teachers, school staff and administrators, and I consider that parent partnerships are essential to the growth and academic success of the kids.

In your opinion, what are the hallmarks of a “good school district”? How do you measure if a school district is deemed “good”?

A good school district starts with a strong and supportive school culture. A good school district nurtures and supports students, and creates a rich learning environment that is stimulating, safe, equitable and inclusive. A good school district values and supports teachers, and ensures that they are central to the process of building and shaping curriculum. A good school district is supported by a community of parents who are involved in creating a strategic plan that the administration believes in and can commit to.

What do you view is the role of the School Committee in the way the district functions?

The School Committee’s role is to create and approve policies for the district, hire and evaluate the Superintendent and approve a budget designed by administration that adheres to the goals in the strategic plan. The boundaries between the school committee and the administration need to be clearly defined. The school committee should be led by a chair who respects those boundaries, and models a respectful, productive and professional relationship with the superintendent.

Please describe your thoughts and feelings on input from various stakeholders (educators, parents, and students) on informing decisions.

The importance of valuing stakeholder input is paramount to a healthy school culture. It is a critical factor that ensures that all partners feel safe sharing their ideas and concerns, and that builds trust. This is hard work. The very least the school committee can do is ensure that all stakeholders can participate safely in a transparent process without fear or favor.

Sharon is home to a very diverse public school district. The district is working on moving past just the celebration of diversity and toward creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging for all students, families, and educators. In your words, please explain the difference between “equality” and “equity” in a diverse public school system.

Not all children are the same. We value them all equally, but they present with unique gifts, skills and talents. To provide them with an equitable learning environment, educators need to support them as individuals. The great challenge is providing that individual programming while serving all the students equitably.

In your opinion, what would it take to maintain a healthy relationship between the School Committee, Administration, the Sharon families and the Educators in the school?

Respect. Leading by example. Remembering that while we will never agree on all things, we must lead with gratitude, understanding and compassion. The school committee must model those values that we are asking our teachers and staff to inculcate into our kids. We must walk our talk.

What questions do you have for the educators in our district?

What can the school committee do to improve the climate and culture in the SPS? What would our educators prioritize as the primary places where we can improve what we are doing? We speak about equity in relation to our kids. What about equity for our educators? What does that look like from your perspective? What would it take for you to allow us to leave our past missteps behind and start fresh?

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