August 6, 2023
“Good for you for putting yourself out there again.”
“I’ve seen some of the comments and I don’t know how you do it.”
These are three quotes that I’ve heard in the last 24 hours alone. There have been countless more like it over the past month.
I don’t have particularly thick skin, but rather a history of pretty severe social anxiety. I’m not running for School Committee for any specific agenda or because I aim to be a politician. I’m running because I believe I can make a positive impact. I have the passion, time, and level of dedication needed to serve our community in this capacity. I care deeply about public education and I want to do my part to ensure that everyone knows their voice is being heard.
Another factor in my decision to enter the race is about modeling self-advocacy, which is a skill that I’m working to help my own two children develop. Two years ago during election season, I didn’t stand up for myself or my family. I listened to advice about local politics that I wish I hadn’t: to keep my head down, not make any waves, and let it all blow over. It still stings that I let false narratives circulate without setting the record straight. This time, win or lose, I’ll be the one telling my own story.
I understand I can be pretty wordy at times. I actually set a goal for myself to be more succinct during this run, but I feel that it's important to paint a clear picture of who I am and what strengths I bring to the table.
I spent my undergraduate years at Boston College as a member of the Carroll School of Management, studying Marketing and Human Resources. I chose this field of study in large part due to my high school years, during which I took every TV and radio elective that was available at Watertown High School. I co-hosted the “Raider News” (with Ryan often behind the camera or in the control room). It’s been a surreal experience serving on the Board of Directors for Watertown Cable Access this past year in the same physical space as I took those classes from 1999-2003 (WCA-TV opened its studio space in the basement of Watertown High in 2004).
As a child, I always thought about teaching and answered that it's what I wanted to do when I grew up. My teachers at Cunniff would give me their old grade books and extra copies of worksheets to take home and play school with my younger brothers and cousins. As I got older, I loved to babysit kids in the neighborhood and I coached basketball during college for elementary-aged children at Coach Harrington’s summer camp every year. When I heard that WPS was looking for daily substitutes during the summer before my junior year at Boston College, I decided to apply. I started substituting at all three of our elementary schools nearly every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (after arranging all of my college courses for Tuesdays and Thursdays and after 4pm the rest of the week). It didn’t take long for me to know that teaching was what I wanted to pursue. A week after graduating from BC, I started taking classes towards my Master’s in Elementary Education, which I earned in 2010. I had the opportunity to complete my student teaching at Hosmer in a multi-grade 1 and 2 classroom with an amazing mentor. I was hired the day after my 22nd birthday to teach 1st grade the following September. I went on to be a 3rd grade classroom teacher for four years before the birth of my first child and making the decision to become a stay at home parent.
My plan was to return to teaching when my youngest child started kindergarten, but that was put on hold due to the onset of the pandemic. My daughter has a chronic immune condition that had not been accurately diagnosed as of 2020, and along with the added risk of my husband’s career as a first responder, we opted to have our children attend the virtual route for most of their kindergarten and second grade school years. In 2021, I had the pleasure of returning to the field of education as part of the Cunniff staff, where my own children attend. Most recently, I was a part-time Math Interventionist during the 2022-2023 school year. I’m at a juncture in my life where I believe I can combine my background in Marketing/Human Resources with my experience as an educator and put it all to great use as a member of the Watertown School Committee. The opportunity to serve the community in this way would be incredibly fulfilling for me and all of the moving pieces in my life have aligned just right for me to take another shot this November.
Engaging the public is a passion of mine as shown through my volunteer work with various organizations in the city. Since 2017, I’ve been an active member and three time Co-President of the Cunniff PTO. I am also grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the important work that Watertown SEPAC contributes to our district as a Co-Public Relations Officer. In addition to Watertown Cable Access, I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Watertown Boys and Girls Club. Last year, I was also a member of the WPS Strategy 2.0 Team, where I took part in creating the foundation of the new district improvement plan. Being a part of the culmination of minds that came together to help propel the district forward in a positive direction only further cemented how much I would love to continue to do this kind of work.
My campaign is centered on my commitment to increasing public participation within our school district. As a School Committee member, I will continuously work to find additional approaches to meaningfully engage the entire community and actively promote public dialogue. Every Watertown resident is a stakeholder in what happens in our schools, and as such, I would love to see more citizens share their input and feedback on a regular basis. I have already outlined a proposal that I am committed to holding regular open forums with the public, similar to the new Charter requirement for our City Councilors. I’ve also released my first video preview of upcoming meetings that I continue to commit to putting together at least twice per month.
I believe in the old adage that “it takes a village” to raise a child. It would be a honor to be a member of the village for all of the children in WPS. My vision for Watertown Public Schools is one where every student is actively engaged in critical thinking, core skill development, and feels the sense of belonging be an integral part of the community and continuously grow as a learner.
The future is bright for our students and I've seen the proof firsthand... from kindergarteners giving quiet smiles and polite waves in the hallways to watching last year's impassioned WHS Senior Class President rally his peers in support of Watertown Educators over the spring. I'm excited for the election season ahead and having the opportunity to meet more community members and further discuss my aspiration to serve on Watertown School Committee. As always, I look forward to supporting our schools and the greater community in whatever role I hold moving forward.
Thanks for reading!