- Master's Degree in Management with a specialized graduate
certificate in Diversity from Cambridge College in May 1999.
- Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and Finance from Bentley College.
- Brings twenty-five years experience as a municipal finance
professional as Deputy Treasurer for the Town of Arlington.
- Unique record of linking fiscal priorities, educational goals, and
standards and measures of accountability in a strategic planning
- Experienced on both sides of the collective bargaining table
representing management on the Cambridge School Committee and workers
with labor as Vice President of SEIU/NAGE local 113.
- Served for twenty-four years as a member of the Cambridge School
- Sponsor Cambridge Little League-Major League Braves
- Sponsor Cambridge Girls Softball.
- Endorsed: Greater Boston Labor Council, Carpenters Local
40-Cambridge; Service Employees Union-Local 888, National Governmental
The School Committee, as a team, sets goals each year and works with and
thru the Superintendent to achieve these goals. The goals, which I helped
draft last year were as follows:
- Raise Achievement Levels for All Students. Focus and align school
improvement and individual departmental goals to raise achievement for
all students and to close the achievement gap.
- Establish Powerful and Effective Tools to Evaluate Student
Performance and Professional Staff Performance. More fully develop the
system for evaluation of student learning and personnel.
- Create a National Caliber High School. Support the high school
principal to strengthen the CRLS educational community towards a goal
of student achievement and safety comparable to the top urban high
school in the state and nation.
Upon completion of the superintendent's annual evaluation, we will
revise goals and add new ones. My priorities include:
- Focusing on high academic achievement for all students, especially
students at risk for underperformance or failure. This means setting
high standards, making sure staff apply them to every child, and doing
what it takes to help kids get there.
- Improving communications with citizens, parents and students that
will encourage understanding, belief, and investment in our system and
support from the city as a whole. This school system has turned the
corner, but we have to continue and we have to make sure that people
know how well we're doing. We also have to prove to students, parents,
and other taxpayers that their views and their needs are respected.
Role of the School Committee:
School Committee has the following legal responsibilities that take
considerable time and effort:
- To hire the Superintendent of Schools
- To approve the budget
- To set policy in dozens of areas that affect students and their
The school committee annually evaluates the Superintendent and sets
goals for the system to achieve.
We also have a moral and ethical responsibility to help promote our
schools. That means we fight for good policies, legislation that gets us
support and state financial assistance, and work with our local media and
with the citizens to make sure everyone supports the schools.
Elementary School Programs and Administration:
We have linked our budget priorities to well documented school needs.
We'll use information from student tests and other sources to make sure
that the money is well spent. This is what we did and should continue to
School Improvement Plans written each year by each school with the
assistance of their School Improvement Councils, comprised of parents,
staff and administrations, provide a blue print for individual school
improvement. The School Committee supports these plans by providing School
Improvement Funds, which this year was set at an unprecedented level. They
facilitate school based initiates and support educational staffing levels.
This year, except for cuts because of enrollment decline, we were able to
retain our professional staff and provide significant professional
development funds for all schools. We also increased funding for supplies
and materials. New programs like Springboard, a Science Research and
Design Camp, were implemented. The school committee placed significant
funds into a capital plan to bring the resources of our older schools to a
true state-of-the-art level.
Budget stability, continued professional development, solid evaluation
systems for programs and staff will ensure our continued improvement so
long as we make good financial planning and academic planning a unified
High School Programs and Administration:
The Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS), the city's public high
school, continues to make major advances. The school has received full and
unqualified accreditation. This year CRLS has implemented block scheduling
that allows students more instruction time during the school day.
Significant professional development took place prior to the
implementation to allow for a smooth transition and successful opening of
More than 91% of the graduating class of 2005 passed the MCAS tests, a
six percent increase form 2004. Even more impressive is news that 90 % of
the Class of 2005 fulfilled graduation requirements, a 12 percent
improvement from 2004. We are committed to even better performance.
Cambridge can take great pride in the ongoing revitalization of the
Rindge School of Technical Arts. RSTA earned FULL APPROVAL from the state
Department of Education this year. RSTA now offers eight quality programs.
Besides acquiring a level of technical skills now in high demand in
today's workplace, RSTA students meet all academic requirements of
traditional high schools. I have been a passionate supporter and leader
ensuring quality vocational opportunities for our children.
School Department Administration and the Budget:
Nowhere is the job of a school committee more challenging and difficult
than when we prepare and set the school budget. The school committee in
the past few years has made difficult decisions to consolidate schools and
made significant cuts to administration. I served as the Budget co-chair
for two of these difficult years. Difficult decisions made resources
available to support a lot of areas like keeping new teachers from losing
their jobs, providing significant school improvement funding to schools,
providing significant professional development funds, creating a first
class Science Initiative, and not charging activity fees to play sports or
participate in extra curricular activities.
We have a competent and hard working leadership team that provides
support for all our programs. Administrators provide service to all our
Teacher Evaluations and Teachers Contract:
The school committee negotiates labor contracts with several unions. Here,
we represent the public and must take responsible management stances. We
can take price that our agreements require strong accountability for our
staff. A new teacher and administrative evaluation system is now in place.
The School Committee and Teachers Union negotiated the contract. The
evaluation process is an important facet to improve our system. The School
Committee and the Teachers Union have a positive relationship-both parties
share a common goal of academic achievement for all our students. Parents
should be pleased to know we have a solid core of highly qualified
teachers. This year we have hired approximately 85 new teachers.
State/Federal Role in Local Education:
Public education is subject to Federal and State regulations. The No Child
Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) establishes benchmarks, known as Adequate
Yearly Progress, that each school system must meet each year for all its
students and subgroup of students. The goal is for every school system to
have all its students achieve proficiency by the year 2014. If the AYP
process is not enough, there exists a series of actions that must take
place. The Commonwealth of Mass uses Massachusetts Comprehensive
Assessment System (MCAS) to comply with the NCLB act.
It's important to note that many Federal mandates, like Special
Education, are under funded by more than $50 billion, despite law that
sets the extensive requirements we must meet.
Declining enrollment comes as a result of many things. The cost of housing
has forced many families out. We have more private and charter school
options than most communities have. Even with that, Cambridge continues to
provide great services at every level. Our high school graduates attend
the nation's best colleges, go on to good jobs, and pursue good careers
with the background they get from CRLS. We are still able to attract
students from across the whole economic, racial, and cultural spectrums.
One provision of the Educational Reform Act of 1993 allows for two kinds
of charter schools. One very good model is the Horace Mann School model
which functions like an independent school within the school system. The
Boston Public Schools have been effective using this model and has created
many Horace Mann Schools. The president of the Teachers Union supports
this concept. I have asked the Superintendent to determine how many of our
elementary schools might be interested in becoming a Horace Mann School.
There is another form of charter called Commonwealth Charter schools.
They are independent and are not accountable in any way to Cambridge
citizens, but they draw our state financial assistance away from us. We
believe it is an unfair system and needs to be corrected with legislation.
Many charter schools have large reserve fund balances. Others are
segregated. They don't serve students with special needs well. I have
fought to stop the creation of Commonwealth Charter Schools in Cambridge
primarily because of the funding flaws and the fact that the concept of
taking "best practices" learned in Charter Schools and
duplicating them in public schools simply does not happen. It is important
to know, however, that Charter schools do provide choices for parents
which is very popular and once a Charter school opens in a community one
must remember that our children go there and we must develop a genuine
cooperative relationship with them.