Editorial: Supporting Frank Sivo and Kelly Knight

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Hopkinton residents will be asked to go to the polls on Monday, May 19th to cast their votes for our elected officials and vote on 2 ballot questions (related to the underride and the library). A copy of the full ballot can be found at https://drive.google.com/a/hillers.org/folderview?id=0B_Dg3BMNzeU4Y0pwSm... (click on Specimen Ballot).
Of particular interest to many people is the contested race for School Committee. Over the past several years there have been many outstanding professional and student achievements to celebrate in our schools. We now have a Superintendent who has been working hard for our District, engaging our students, staff, and community. I am encouraged by this significant positive step for our schools. We have some ground to make up, however. During the time of high administrator turnover in our district, we began to see our schools performance and rankings decline. While I am optimistic after some of our more recent progress, we need to elect professionals who will continue to establish a culture that allows for the School Committee to engage in a mature dialogue about issues that are important to our taxpayers.

On the horizon for the Town are many important opportunities, including how to move forward to address the options around a Center School solution, and how to productively move us through the strategic planning process. Our school committee will need to be engaged fully with the community and be challenging the ‘group think’ that can be present at times. As voters we have an opportunity to decide what type of leadership and skills we would like to see on this very important committee. This year, we are fortunate to have two candidates who clearly differentiate themselves as being an asset to our schools and our Town. Both candidates have experience in our Town as active volunteers and understand what is important to our community at this time; they also understand the complexities that face our community and are well prepared to listen and collaborate with others to arrive at the best outcomes for the Town and our students. Those candidates are Frank Sivo and Kelly Knight.

I had the opportunity to work with Frank on the Elementary School Criteria Working Group and was impressed and thankful for his participation on this committee. Frank is rational in his thinking and respectful in his delivery. He is an independent thinker, asks thoughtful questions that need to be asked, and is concerned with ensuring excellence in our schools. Frank is the type of thinker and leader that our town and our schools need at this important juncture. Frank’s strong business acumen and desire to act responsibly on behalf of the Town and our schools make him an outstanding candidate that Hopkinton is fortunate to have. Frank’s involvement in the Appropriations Committee has given him a keen insight to how our town’s budgeting works and he will bring a critical eye and sharp mind to the school’s budget. Frank will improve our current School Committee by holding our administration accountable in their thinking and in their processes. I believe his presence on the School Committee will make our town a better place for our students and our taxpayers.

I have watched Kelly navigate and discuss the issues of our schools for years. Kelly is pragmatic and dedicated. She is interested in a more open dialogue between the School Committee and the community. Kelly has the ability to evaluate an issue from all angles and carefully weigh a thoughtful and fair outcome. Kelly’s work on Hopkinton’s Zoning Board of Appeals for the last 4 years has provided her with a unique opportunity to learn more about our town and residents and apply her critical thinking and problem solving skills in a practical and fair manner. I think Kelly would be a welcome addition to the school committee and would bring a fresh perspective that is much needed.

Hopkinton needs candidates on our school committee who will foster an environment of accountability and collaboration, and who bring real experience to this administration. I hope you will join me in casting votes for Frank Sivo and Kelly Knight on Monday, May 19th at the Middle School between 7:00 am – 8:00 pm. To learn more about each candidate please visit: http://www.sivoforsc.org/intro. and http://www.kelly4hopschools.com/news.html

Kim Brennan