I am running for School Committee as a continuation of many years of service to childhood education. I consider myself fortunate to have taught English at the middle school and high school levels for 36 years in one of the top ranked districts in Pennsylvania. During that time, I also served as a coach and national chairman for an innovative, peer-led competitive learning program. As a long-term educator I enjoyed many opportunities to mentor students, student teachers, and colleagues.
As a former teacher’s association leader I have hands-on experience with contract negotiation. I know what it takes to bring all parties: Superintendent, School Committee members, and teacher representatives to the table to create or resolve to get the job done.
The budget challenges faced by a highly-ranked and growing school district are all too familiar to me. Even as a teacher, I gained a good deal of experience coming up with creative ways to stretch a dollar. I know that there will always be spending limits, but my promise to you is that when faced with tough decisions, I will always put the kids first.
My move to Hopkinton is the fulfillment of a dream that I have had for years. Prior to moving here I visited many times and fell in love with the friendly, small-town environment. While I search for more permanent housing in a tough market, I am enjoying my little house by Lake Maspenock. The rigors of the election process has not shaken my faith in Hopkinton. We are all still neighbors.
This will be a tough job and I am prepared for it. I have been attending School Committee meetings in person and have found this to be excellent preparation. I have also been the books, studying spending time reading the curriculums and policies of the schools as well as talking with parents and School Committee members to get their input. Although there has certainly been a learning curve, I am finding that my experience in another school district is actually turning out to be a blessing because it enables me to introduce a fresh perspective.
I have great respect for engaged parents who simply want what’s best for their kids. In fact, some of my most memorable and enjoyable experiences — second only to working with the kids themselves — was the opportunity to meet directly with parents to work out the best individualized educational approach. As we face controversial issues as a community, I hope that we can rely as much as possible on coming to the table together and working out policies that put the kids first — each and every one of them.
With that, I respectfully ask for your consideration on Monday, May 15.
Susan Stephenson, 3 Yale Road