School Committee Candidate Questionnaire and Answers

For the 2022 School Committee elections, Medfield Together sent a questionnaire to all of the candidates to better understand their skills, experience, and interest in addressing issues related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the public school system. You can find the questions asked and answers received below.

Medfield School Committee Candidate Questionnaire

Thank you so much for your willingness to devote your time and energy to Medfield’s School Committee. 

Medfield Together has been working in both our school communities and our general communities to advance the mission of dismantling systems of inequity in Medfield. 

The Medfield School Committee members can play an important role in addressing equity issues in our schools, so we’d like to use this questionnaire to highlight your own skills, experience, and interest in doing so if you are elected into this role. 

Your responses to this survey will be shared publicly with Medfield Together membership via email and on our various social media forums. This will allow folks with a commitment to equity issues to assess your alignment with their shared values and use that information to inform their decision at the polls. 

Filling out this questionnaire is entirely optional, and please note that a decision not to respond to this questionnaire will also be shared with Medfield Together membership. 


What does “social justice” mean to you?

Every one of us has a responsibility to promote equity and fairness amongst individuals through equal access to resources, opportunities and social privileges.   While I typically focus efforts to do this with individuals or groups who are disadvantaged, each one of us will prioritize issues based on our unique experiences.  No matter what focus areas we take on, we must attempt to address inequities when they are recognized, and advocate for positive change and equal opportunity for all. 

Please share some examples of social justice work that you’ve done in your personal or professional life?

My parents instilled values of service for others in our home through their actions.  This taught me that we all share a duty to care for one another, and serve those in need.  I took on various short-term volunteer experiences in school such as supporting food-banks, helping with Habitat for Humanity, and through a longer-term service project for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  Later I focused on tutoring and coaching for disadvantaged youth, which began to open my eyes to the inequities that exist “right down the street”.  

As I started to travel extensively and gain exposure to inequities as part of my daily professional work, I began to think about longer-term opportunities to promote equality.  One area that I have learned is how important it is to “say something when I see something”, meaning when I see offensive actions or words, it is important to step in quickly to to educate both offenders and those in the area that this type of behavior should not be tolerated.

Raising my family in Medfield, I began to seek out opportunities to coach and volunteer in the schools.  I took an active role in the inaugural SEL Task Force, and later had opportunity to serve on Medfield School Committee.  In doing so, I have learned about the broader set of needs in our town, from mental health, learning disabilities,social inequalities, finanical hardship, and various forms of bullying and discrimmination.  Here I continue to study the issue, seek opportunities to generate awareness and education, and advocate for solutions that address the greatest areas of need and/or shift our culture.

What are some current equity or justice issues you’ve identified in the schools, and how do you foresee having an impact on them?

There are several issues I have seen in the schools, such as lack of diversity amongst both the residents and school staff when compared to other areas of country, which shelters our students perception around “what is normal”.   I have heard our librarians say we must continue to infuse more books and educational materials that reflect more diverse cultures and perspectives, however that will take some time.  There have been incidents of racism inside the schools, and sadly we have seen like issues in many towns across the state.  Finally there is disagreement around varying perceptions of disability, and how to ensure we are taking the best actions.  

Many of these issues extend outside the schools, and require community oriented awareness, education, and higher % of families participating.  I think we will improve community engagement with increased focus on communications and collaboration with partners, which is an area of focus for me should I get reelected.  I know that equity has become an important Professional Development topic over the past few years, which must continue to be prioritized.  While the DEI Task Force is still new, we must promote awareness and education for the entire community by sharing what we learned over the past year, and discussing ongoing priorities.

Finally in the areas of special education, we must study the issue by asking a member of the School Committee to coordinate with our Director of Special Services and SEPAC to research, and report back by adding them to the Agenda every other month.  This will give us a better understanding of the issue, which will then allow us to plan accordingly. 

What is your approach to professional discussions about equity issues in school settings (including but not limited to: race, religion, gender, sexual orientation)?

While I approach discussions around equity issues with a heightened level of respect and sensitivity based on the nature of the issue, every member of the school community must have access to equitable opportunities.  These issues should be reviewed, prioritized, and addressed with the same rigor that we approach all of the other business of the school.  We must set expectations to consider the time that it takes to address culture, while always seeking opportunities to learn, shift our thinking, and find solutions.


What does “social justice” mean to you?

Diversity, equity and inclusion have always been very important to me. When we talk about DEI initiatives in our schools, the goal must be to level the playing field for all students independent of race, religion, ethnicity, economic status, and countless other differences.

How do we do this?  We start with being able to educate ourselves around topics that might make us uncomfortable.  And we ask our schools to do the same.

Please share some examples of social justice work that you’ve done in your personal or professional life?

Most recently I created and ran the Every Story Matters book drive for the Memorial Elementary School.  The Every Story Matters project brought award-winning picture books that foster awareness and inclusivity across all races and genders into Memorial’s classrooms.  We were able to raise a significant amount of funding both from donations from Medfield families, and a grant from MCPE.  In partnership with Park Street Books, we were able to give each classroom approx. 37 new books (over 700 new books for the school)!  I am very proud of this accomplishment and I look forward to driving future initiatives like this one.

What are some current equity or justice issues you’ve identified in the schools, and how do you foresee having an impact on them?

This past fall my third-grader was able to experience the annual 3rd-grade Rocky Woods Thanksgiving outing, a beloved Medfield tradition for over 40 years. I was pleased and excited to learn that part of this year’s experience would include a presentation from Annawon Weeden, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.  Annawon taught the kids how to build a lean-to, and gave them valuable insight from a perspective that historically has not been taught.  

I like to think that I continually push myself to grow as a person, and a big part of that is continually revisiting assumptions and past learnings.   I think it is important for our schools and institutions to do the same.  Including new viewpoints in the annual Rocky Woods outing is just one (excellent!) example of this, but we need to do much more.

What is your approach to professional discussions about equity issues in school settings (including but not limited to: race, religion, gender, sexual orientation)?

Speaking up on DEI topics can be challenging.  The issues are often complex and sensitive, but I feel that it is important to be able to move past any discomfort and be able to have open and honest dialog.  

Speaking to people openly and honestly is something that I feel that I am good at, and if elected to the School Committee, I will use this forum to engage on these topics and push for initiatives that raise awareness of DEI.

School Committee Candidate Questionnaire and Answers
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