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I’m running for the Board of Education and have been fortunate enough to teach in the Norwalk Public Schools for 31 years. I also attended the Norwalk Public Schools as a child. I’ve seen the changes,  both good and bad.

I see the need for more balance of academics with social and emotional wellness in the classroom. Many students feel anxiety and stress in the classroom, which impedes their academic performance. There has been much research done on the developmental readiness of children to learn concepts in the classroom, but many students are pushed along through the curriculum.  Why?  Because teachers are often pressured to get through the units of study before some students have fully grasped the concepts. Then, these students fall behind and the problem snowballs. This puts stress and frustration on students, leading them to lose the joy of school and learning. We need to reach the individual student at their developmental level to meet their needs.

We need better accountability on spending. I’ve seen such incredible waste of taxpayer money. For example, every few years, the school system changes the curricula and buys all new books, throwing out the old, but practically new books in dumpsters. Why can’t they find a program that works and stick with it? I’ve seen dumpsters filled with desks and chairs that some of our more needy students would have welcomed into their house. There needs to be better accountability for this wastefulness.

One way to avoid waste and figure out how to meet the needs of our student population is through better communication – with students, with parents, AND classroom teachers. Like soldiers in the trenches, teachers know what is necessary to get the job done, because they’re in the thick of it. A superintendent may lead a school system, but like a good general, he/she needs to listen to the troops. Teachers want their students to be successful because they care about them on an individual basis. We need to listen and communicate more with teachers to find out the needs of their students so that as a district we make ALL of our students successful- be it vocational, technical, military or college.

• Born and raised in Norwalk; educated in Norwalk Public Schools.
• Bachelor’s Degree in Music; Master’s in Education, Western CT State University.
• One daughter; graduate Brien McMahon. • Retired teacher Norwalk Public Schools, 31 years.
• Co-Founder, Crystal Theater, 32 years in Norwalk.