School Board Candidate - Newfields Elementary
Who can vote for Jennie?
Voters in Newfields who want a fresh perspective, new voice and a pathway to change.
Tell us about yourself.
I have lived in Newfields for 10 years with my husband, Tom and my three children Conor (12), Reily (10), Charlianne (6) and our dog Georgia Mae.
I grew up in Exeter, NH and have always loved this area. My own education at Exeter High School and Exeter Elementary school were amazing and I cannot say enough great things about my experience going through SAU16 almost 30 years ago. After college I came back to Exeter/Newfields because I knew that I wanted to raise my family here because of the school system.
I graduated Maine Maritime Academy, International Business and Logistics, Class of 2000, BS Hallmark Institute of Photography, Certificate of Completion, Class of 2002
Why are you running for school board?
As a graduate of Exeter High School, I have always been proud of our education system here in SAU16. Since moving back here to raise my children in 2012, I have been sorely disappointed in the decline in rankings and the quality of education that our children are receiving. I am running because it is time to bring a change and it is time for our school boards to prioritize the fundamental education of our children. I have been attending school board meeting since my now 7th grader was in kindergarten so I think it is time that I have a seat at the table. I have knowledge of the inner workings of the school board from my time on the BAC and I want to bring a voice to the table for our parents, teachers and community members.
The current school board in my opinion is not serving the parents or tax payers they way that they should. I would like to see more transparency, leadership and accountability by our administration and at this time our school board is not doing that. It is time for change in our school boards.
How have you prepared for this role?
I have done my research on what the role of school board member entails especially in a complex district like ours. I have been very active in the school and through my position on the budget advisory committee, I believe that I have a great handle on where our budget is and where are needs are as a school. I also have 3 children on IEP's and understand that process in a way that a lot of people do not. I think that brings an added skill so that I may help to benefit ALL children and not just those who excel at academics.
Should you win the election, what do you hope to accomplish in year one?
In year one, I would like to work to get back to basics. Our district has become so clouded by "polarizing topics" that we need to get back to the education of our kids. I will work to make sure that our budget makes sense and is spending money on the most important thing...educating our children. I also want to make sure that we are giving our teachers and staff all of the resources that we can to accomplish this. Mental health of children is a very important topic for me and I would like to work with the administration to make sure that this is a priority as well. Most of all, I will ask the tough questions and work hard on FULL transparency.
How are you going to accomplish your goals in year one?
Most of all, I will ask the tough questions and work hard on FULL transparency. As a parent, all of the secrecy is infuriating and I want to encourage more parents to get involved and KNOW what is going on in our district.
If elected, what approach will you take in responding to parents' questions and concerns as it relates to their children’s educational experiences inside the classroom?
I would always approach parent questions and concerns with compassion. I may not always agree or know how to fix a problem but I will always do my best to work together with parents, teachers and administrators to do what is best for the children. I think that compassion is the key and it has been forgotten over that last few years.
What are two key areas you feel the school board should improve?
The school board should not just BLINDLY follow the administration. We need to be questioning EVERYTHING and holding them accountable. Transparency and accountability are so important. The school board also need to LISTEN to the parents and community at large. When 86% of people want their kids IN school and you do the complete opposite because of your own beliefs then that is just wrong.
You mentioned academic success is important to you. What would you use as a model to gauge academic success?
There are a few things that I would use to gauge our schools success. First, testing is important and helps us to get a baseline of where students are at but I don't think that it should be looked at in a bubble. I think that reviews of monthly and quarterly assessments that are already done in the classroom need to be looked at more closely so that we can catch those kids falling behind faster and also harness those who may be excelling faster than their peers. Years ago, a monthly report on RIT was done and this was presented to the board and gave a pretty good picture of where our students were at. As a school board member, I would like to work with the administration to get something similar in place so that we may help from a budgetary standpoint.