Lori Nickerson Candidate Statement

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Three superintendents in three years; Hopkinton’s schools have seen more than their share of instability. What could have been done by the School Committee to prepare for the planned and unplanned changes? Succession planning for both teachers and administrators should be an integral part of the school district’s Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan has not been formally updated since 2009 and that has left some gaping holes in terms of priorities. Succession planning is one of those missing priorities, as evidenced by the fact there were no qualified internal candidates being groomed for the superintendent position during the recent years of turmoil and turnover.

The uncertainty during this time resulted in fluid roles between the School Committee and the Superintendent, a decline in our district’s state and national rankings, a loss of confidence on the part of the taxpayers and, most importantly, students being forgotten in this shuffle of professional staff. The unpredictable roles, coupled with poor community outreach and dialogue, aggravated and intensified the citizens’ distrust for the School Committee’s decision making and priority setting. I see the hiring of Dr. MacLeod as a step in the right direction to bring clarity and stability back to the school district, but more must be done.

Dr. MacLeod’s strong leadership cannot be the only impetus for change. To put it bluntly, she can’t do it alone. Two members of the School Committee are completing their terms; that change alone brings the potential for fresh ideas, realignment of priorities, and improved community communication. A new Strategic Plan is in process and will be voted on by the new School Committee members, in conjunction with the incumbent members. This Strategic Plan must address succession planning in order to prevent the district, and more importantly the students, from being caught in a power vacuum that distracts from the mission of Hopkinton schools – to learn, create and achieve together.

As a School Committee member, I will ensure that the Strategic Plan specifically addresses how teachers and administrators are being identified for career growth opportunities and retention. This type of succession planning will allow for a breadth of experience to grow within the current professional staff to help fill any future gaps, should they arise. I will work to institute a team-minded atmosphere, where both the School Committee and the administrators adhere to their specified roles and responsibilities, regardless of the extent of change impacting the school district.

And finally, once elected I will make certain YOUR voice is heard, and that sharing information with the community is expected, not obstructed.

Learn more about my strategies for change, and let’s talk about your thoughts on how to achieve the changes that are needed. Join me at Water Fresh Farm on May 7 from 12-2pm for a Meet and Greet event, or start a conversation with me on my website, www.LoriNickersonSC.com

Together, we can be an instrument of change and open dialogue between the administration and the community. I respectfully ask for your vote on May 19.

Lori Nickerson
30 Glen Road