Shannon Poole – write-in candidate for Wachusett Regional School Committee

Name, town: Shannon Poole, Holden

Position sought: Representative to the Wachusett Regional School District School Committee

My name is Shannon Poole. I’m running a write-in campaign for school committee to give Holden voters more choice.

My family moved here in summer 2022 looking for a great school district for our three young boys, two of whom attend Davis Hill Elementary. My wife is an artist and middle school teacher in another district. I work in IT at a leading software company.

My interest in education stems from my experience as a parent. In our prior district, I saw firsthand how underfunding, teacher burnout and large class sizes can hinder student progress. We wanted a better district for our kids, and that’s how we ended up in Holden.

Now that we are settled, I want to give back and help Wachusett move forward to support all kids, as well as the teachers and staff who work wonders every day.

I am optimistic that we can address the issues our district faces. Some issues on my mind:

• I will be a positive and respectful committee member and pledge to model civil political discourse and civic engagement for our kids.

• I will focus on the committee’s essential function of financial and operational oversight. While investing in teachers, staff, materials, technology and facilities is necessary to maintain high performance, the committee needs to keep a critical eye on the budget, especially given the financial issues uncovered in the external review.

• The capital needs of our schools include space issues, playground accessibility, and school security. The committee should ensure that administration is following its long-term capital plan. Many projects can only be accomplished through collaboration with town leaders.

• The outdated literacy curriculum needs to be changed to an up-to-date, evidence-based curriculum with more emphasis on phonics. The committee should push the administration to move quickly on this change, while ensuring that staff are adequately trained.

• I will work with others to organize and advocate for more funding from the state for regional school transportation costs.

• Finally, I strongly believe that every kid deserves the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe and supportive environment. If elected, I will support policies that foster rigorous academic outcomes, while also providing a safe and inclusive learning environment.

Find me on Facebook and Instagram for more information. Most importantly, VOTE on May 8. Write in Shannon Poole, 12 Windsor Court for School Committee. Thank you.

See Write-in voting in Holden for additional information.

Tom Curran for Holden Selectboard

Candidate name: Tom Curran.

Position sought: Three-year term on Holden Board of Selectmen.

Hello, my name is Tom Curran, and I am running for Holden Selectman. I was elected to fill a vacancy last year, and have learned much about local issues every day as a selectman. I am running for a three-year term to continue the work for Holden.

My wife Amy and I have lived in Holden for 18 years with our wonderful daughters Jane, 21, and Ellie, 14. Both Jane and Ellie have had great experiences in the Wachusett schools. I have been active in the community throughout their childhood by coaching their sports teams and helping with their Girl Scout activities. My family and I actively support local businesses and attend townwide events.

As a selectman, I contribute the skills I use in my career as a software engineer to analyze issues carefully and thoroughly and strive for solutions that achieve the greatest good. I spend my time attending multiple town committee and board meetings, including those of the Finance Committee, to educate myself on the town’s needs. We are heading into a complex period of budgetary challenges, and understanding all facets of the issues is key to making good decisions as a Selectboard member. I focus on issues that are critical to make Holden strong and united. We are stronger together. I served six years on the Wachusett Regional School Committee (2013 2019), where I was known for being a thoughtful listener and for my ability to view issues from multiple angles. I worked closely with the WRSD administration to implement the ALICE safety protocol in all the WRSD schools. During my time on the School Committee, I also learned a great deal about how the WRSD schools are funded. All the district’s children deserve the best education possible for a brighter future.

Being civically engaged is important to me. I attend town meetings and vote in all elections. I value feeling connected to the community and promote positive change. Holden is a wonderful place to live, with great schools and amenities like the town pool and numerous recreation facilities. Our town is a magnet for folks to move to and raise their families in, as there is so much to offer here.

To learn more about me, follow my candidate pages on Facebook ( TomCurran4HoldenSelectboard) and Instagram (@tomcurranforholdenselectboard), or email Thank you.

VOTE for Tom Curran on May 8.

Laura Kirschenbaum for Wachusett Regional School Committee

Candidate name, town: Laura Kirshenbaum, Holden

Position sought: Representative to the Wachusett Regional School District Committee (incumbent)

I am Laura Kirshenbaum, and I ask for your vote to continue to serve as one of Holden’s representatives on the Wachusett Regional School Committee.

I have been serving on the school committee for the past four years. During that time, our children and schools have faced many challenges. We provided oversight of district administration and education through the worldwide COVID pandemic, navigated through district leadership changes, and continue to respond to ongoing financial and educational challenges and educational priorities.

My proudest moments in my tenure were getting our students and teachers back to in-person learning, speeding up our 1:1 technology plan, and leading the superintendent screening committee who recommended Dr. Reilly as Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Reilly was unanimously approved by the school committee and is currently in his first year as our superintendent. Personally and professionally, I am a mom of two children who attend Mountview Middle School and Wachusett Regional High School. My partner and I have lived in Holden for more than 12 years. In addition, I am a middle school science teacher in Massachusetts, serving students for more than 20 years. I hold a B.S. from UMass-Amherst, a M.Ed. from Fitchburg State University, and a second Masters in School Administration from American International College in Springfield.

I am a product of public education in Massachusetts. I work diligently to realize the goals of public education as a school committee member, a teacher and a parent. My educational philosophy is rooted in the promise of public education and access to education for all students.

I would be honored to continue to serve all of our children in this community and to improve the educational experience for all.

Please vote for me, Laura Kirshenbaum, on May 8. Thank you.

A report from the State of the Union address

Holden Democratic Town Committee member, Asima Silva, attended the 2016 State of the Union address as the guest of Rep. Jim McGovern. Here are her notes and photos from the visit.

Once in a lifetime experience! Thank you congressman McGovern for this honor and opportunity. I had the pleasure of participating in a press release, interviews, meeting democratic leader, dining with the congressman, attending the State of the Union address just about 150 or so feet away from the vice President, presidents cabinet, supreme court justices, first lady, the entire congress, and the president. To top it off, meeting the president and shaking his hand. The experience has taught my the experience in real life is different than on TV. It brings the democratic process into reality, something attainable, rather than creating the feeling of distance and unapproachable. Congress and the president are real people, with reactions, thoughts and opinions. Feeling the reaction first hand at different parts of the speech is priceless. It’s motivation to do more, get involved more, speak up, and America will listen.

Asima Silva with Rep. McGovern and Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Asima Silva with Rep. McGovern and Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi