I’m running for re-election to the Amherst School Committee, but it wasn’t exactly an easy decision for me. In hindsight, 2020 was a pretty rough time to be on the school committee. We were faced with unprecedented situation after unprecedented situation. Looking back on that ridiculously long year, I wasn’t entirely certain I was up for two more years. After telling a few folks that I was going to sit this one out, I started to get some feedback that made me reconsider.
Before I actually got elected to serve on the Amherst School Committee, I heard people talk about how much of a thankless job it was. My personal perspective is that it is absolutely not the type of endeavor you would embark upon if you were seeking accolades and high-fives. I didn’t initially decide to run because I thought it would be easy, I ran because I believed, wholeheartedly, that no matter how hard it was going to be, it was going to be worth it in the end.
Ultimately, I decided that my commitment to those I swore to serve in the first place was worth continuing what I started. Plus, it probably can’t get a whole lot worse, right?
COVID brought us a number of challenges and exposed some needs for improvement. If you’re moderately familiar with me, it’s probably not going to come as a surprise for you to hear me say that we need to invest wisely in our children’s physical learning environments. As the Amherst School Committee representative on the Elementary School Building Committee, I have had the honor of being able to contribute to the early planning phases of a new elementary school. I’m hopeful that we will be able to construct a new school, and am more hopeful that we will take the steps necessary to maintain that new school while greatly improving conditions at Crocker Farm and our other schools.
A new wave of social awareness has taken hold and we, as a community, have begun to have some of the necessarily uncomfortable conversations surrounding issues such as race, gender, LGBTQIA+, wage inequality, and social justice, generally. Our district is committed to the concept of social justice and multiculturalism. We need to honor that commitment in a meaningful way. I believe that we need to implement policies that offer an equitable education and, more importantly, equal representation of all walks of life here in Amherst, regardless of race, creed or class.
We, as a committee, need to do far more outreach to those who exist in the margins of Amherst’s political landscape. I have been a renter in complexes in South Amherst for the entire time I have lived in Amherst. The more politically involved I became, the more aware I became of the fact that there are certain folks in this town we don’t hear a whole lot from in town and school governance. The low income, working class families, single parents, and apartment dwellers haven’t had very much representation since I have lived here. I believe that we are a community that values diversity, on every imaginable level. I realize that I represent several groups we don’t have the opportunity to hear from often enough. I would like the opportunity to continue to serve my neighbors and constituents and to continue to listen to the needs of my community
I am running for re-election because I believe I have a perspective that will continue to positively contribute to the decisions that shape the future of our schools. I humbly ask for your vote on November 2nd.