Question: What are the two most important issues facing Somerville right now, and what would you do on the Board of Aldermen to address those issues?
One major challenge is ensuring that we close achievement and opportunity gaps for our students. We have to make sure all Somerville students have the support they need. More specifically, I want to expand early childhood programs to ensure that we are reaching every child in the city, either through one of our programs or through partnerships with community groups. Research consistently demonstrates that investments in early childhood education put our youngest students on a path toward academic success. As part of our efforts to close opportunity gaps I also want to focus on college and career readiness at the high school. We have taken important steps on this matter but more needs to be done. As a School Committee member I will continue to advocate for these areas.
A second major challenge concerns our reputation as a district. Like all school districts, we need to improve and I am committed to taking the steps necessary to do so. But our schools are much better than many people think they are. We all know that families often decide whether to stay in the city based on the quality of our schools, so we must do a better job communicating with and reaching out to stakeholders in the community.
Question: Tell us about your background.
My wife and I moved to Somerville in 1998 and decided to make this city our long-term home because we love its vibrancy, neighborhoods, and schools. We have two children in the school system, one in sixth grade and one a junior at Somerville High School. Since 1996 I have taught at Boston University, where I was named Teacher/Scholar of the Year in 2006. While at BU I served a two-year term as Chair of the Faculty Council and was an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees. Prior to being elected to the School Committee in 2007, I coached youth soccer and was active in several parent/guardian groups across the city that focused on improving education for all Somerville students.
Question: Why should Somerville residents vote for you?
I have worked in education for over twenty years and have a long-standing commitment to improving opportunities for all students. Over the course of six years on the School Committee, I have helped establish budget priorities and have been a consistent voice for expanding programs that serve our students. We have seen a good deal of improvement over the last several years, but we still have much to do. I believe my experience will help the community as we together to push our schools to the next level.