What is your name?
Which School Committee term are you running for?
What is your personal experience or background with PreK-12th grade public education in Massachusetts?
My eldest is excited to be a Heights Hedgehog this fall!
In your opinion, what are the hallmarks of a “good school district”? How do you measure if a school district is deemed “good”?
There are a lot of metrics one might look at: high standards, leadership, performance, teacher retention, class size, etc. But for me, the hallmark of an excellent school district is its success at nurturing well-rounded world citizens who are self-aware, who have explored all facets of their potential, and who possess sharply-honed critical thinking skills. And for me, this is most evidenced by the post-graduation plans of our seniors.
I want to see that the kids in any graduating class choose a diversity of educational institutions and pathways—liberal arts colleges, universities, vocational and tech schools, gap years, travel, workforce, etc.—and that they are furthering their studies and pursuits along a vast spectrum of fields and interests, not just a handful of popular or lucrative ones. This tells me that our district has provided our students with programs that encouraged them and supported them in exploring the depth and breadth of their potential. Each child is unique, and I would expect an excellent K-12 education to embrace that and accentuate that.
What do you view is the role of the School Committee in the way the district functions?
I view School Committee as the architect of overarching policy geared towards ensuring that all our students have access to high-quality, rigorous education. Committee provides the blueprint goals and leaves the execution to the experts: the administration and the teachers.
School Committee is also a conduit by which input from administration, educators, students, parents, and community coalesces, and based on this input, they must decide whether these goals have been met or whether they need to be redefined.
Please describe your thoughts and feelings on input from various stakeholders (educators, parents, and students) on informing decisions.
My campaign manager is a high school student. My team comprises a parent of a student receiving special services, a STEM academic and parent, and a recent SHS grad turned product manager. I truly believe in giving diverse input and expertise all the consideration it deserves.
Sharon is a very opinionated and passionate community. It is one of our greatest assets and yet often our greatest impediment. While it is incredibly important to hear from all stakeholders, we need to recognize that we all have our biases and blind spots, and that we are basing our opinions on varying degrees of information.
Ultimately, we need to trust the professionals who are best equipped to make decisions that pertain to their areas of expertise. I trust my team implicitly, and every decision we make is informed by the strengths of its individual members. We are greater than the sum of our parts.
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.
The number one reason my husband and I chose Sharon was the diversity of this community. That was paramount for me, as an Asian American immigrant, as well as for our children who are of mixed race. Having grown up the only person of Asian descent in my entire public school district, I am acutely aware of what lack of inclusivity and lack of equity looks like and *feels* like.
In building understanding and cultural competency among students, staff, and community, we can create a climate of inclusivity and belonging that lends itself to a productive learning environment where all feel accepted and appreciated. This is the power of education: our problems are not born of malice but lack of awareness.
The fundamental difference between equality and equity is that equality assumes that students simply need access to the same resources in order to thrive, while equity recognizes the need to parse and deliver on each child’s individual needs. I truly believe that we, as a district, are capable of supporting each one of our unique students. Whether high-achieving, struggling academically, socially, or emotionally, or even meeting expectations across the board, each and every student requires something different. Education is never one-size-fits-all.
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?
We need to provide opportunities for all stakeholders to sit down for face-to-face conversation so we can rebuild trust that can then form the foundation for active collaboration. I would start by establishing regular School Committee coffee hours with PTO, Administration, Educators, and Community. Perhaps School Committee could appoint liaisons to various stakeholder groups. Let’s invite a teacher representative back to the table. We need to listen.
And at the end of the day, we need to remember that this is a PUBLIC school district. We have to think about how to best serve all our kids. Everyone needs to consider the well-being of the district as a whole. We cannot lose sight of this.
What questions do you have for the educators in our district?
What do you, the STA School Committee Relations Task Force, view as the role of School Committee, and what do you think it takes to maintain a healthy relationship?
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing SPS?
As we prepare to roll out the MTSS framework in K-5, I wonder if educators feel that the subsequent rollout to 6-12 will require different strategies or perhaps a variation of the base framework?