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• The outdated literacy curriculum needs to be changed to an up-to-date, evidence-based curriculum with more emphasis on phonics.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.

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.

Diversity training in the Wachusett schools

Asima Silva was invited to speak to school staff about the current problem of Islamophobia in our society,  how to identify it, and how to address the problem.  She and Ahmad Abojarajeh,  Global Compliance Engineer to Avery Dennison,  met with the principal and staff of Davis Hill School recently and will plan to meet soon with teachers and staff at Mayo School in Holden and the Wachusett District High School in the near future.  Plans are also being developed for a presentation at Glenwood School in Rutland.

Wachusett Regional School District seeks your input

The Wachusett Regional School District is beginning work on a five-year strategic plan and is seeking input from residents of the five towns.

If you are a Holden resident and have some priorities to discuss or would like to suggest directions for the School Committee, please plan to attend the meeting on Thursday,  January 28,  from 7-9 p.m. at the Curriculum Center in the District’s Central Office (formerly Jefferson School).  The meeting is open to all Holden residents and welcomes interest and suggestions for improving our schools.