The most immediate challenge facing our community is the pandemic, and my goal is to return Needham students to school as quickly as possible while also addressing logistics, safety, and quality of experience for everyone in the NPS community.
But over time, the pandemic will recede as a primary concern and we will need to focus on other priorities for our students and schools.
A recent interview with The Needham Channel provides an overview of my background in education and priorities for Needham schools.
Community and Communication
In my discussions with parents this spring, community and communication has emerged as central priority. The twin crises of 2020, racial equity and the COVID pandemic, resulted in a surge of interest in education and questions about the complex systems which govern decision making, funding, and the relationships among local, state, and federal institutions.
If elected, my goal would be to bridge gaps in communication within the NPS community and to listen. I genuinely enjoy speaking with, well, pretty much anyone about education, children, challenges, successes... Sharing ideas, experiences, and opinions is essential. I have been a teacher. I am a parent. I have a background in policy, and I’m passionate about families, schools, and equity. I can even connect the policy dots across the history of education (should anyone actually want that. I’ve had no takers so far!).
In addition, listening would include considering whose voices have been heard, whose have not, and working to incorporate multiple perspectives. Diversity in perspectives creates a stronger, more equitable education for all.
Equity in Education
Equity in education is a critical human rights issue of our time. The Needham community has already prioritized this work through local government — Needham Unites Against Racism Initiative (NUARI), within schools — Race, Equity, Access, Leadership (REAL) coalition, and local groups such as Equal Justice Needham (EJN) and Needham Diversity Initiative (NDI).
My goal is to further and deepen equity work within Needham schools. Specifically, I believe that equity in NPS should, in part, assess and address equal opportunities for success for all students. To do so, we need to have both the deep conversations and the listening described above.
21st Century Learning
Our system of education has changed little in the past century. Innovative education for the 21st century is a central part of my experience. I have studied these ideas, taught them to emerging teachers, and observed emerging teachers implement them. Moreover, I have moved my own teaching in this direction (early childhood and higher education classrooms) and through my work with Let’s Build.
My knowledge of the current research combined with my extensive personal experience provides me with an understanding of where abstract ideas collide with practical considerations, how to get around this, and what to do when you simply cannot.
Thoughts on Racial Equity
I am deeply committed to equitable schools and communities, and equity is at the center of both my professional and volunteer work. In addition, my family is interracial — my husband Chris is Chinese American and my children are biracial. So I have spent a lot of time thinking and writing about issues of racial equity, and thought I would share a few of my recent blog posts below: