Candidate Statement: Nancy Richards-Cavanaugh for School Committee

By contributor,

I am seeking re-election to the School Committee 3 year seat this May to continue to work on behalf of Hopkinton students, families and staff, while still meeting the fiduciary responsibility we hold to the town. Emerging from the pandemic and in the midst of a youth mental health crisis, our students are facing greater social and emotional needs and learning gaps than we have seen in the past. They need leadership and advocacy at the School Committee level and collaboration with our town partners to meet them where they are at right now and I believe my background and record of commitment to the town and schools position me best to provide this leadership.

My Background: I have lived in Hopkinton for nearly 25 years and, along with my husband, moved here prior to starting our family. We currently have two children enrolled in the Hopkin ton Public Schools, in 6th and 11th grades, and two children who are graduates of Hopkinton High School. I have had the benefit of working with the schools in various volunteer roles across all grades over the years, including as a classroom volunteer, an HPTA (now HPTO) Board member, and a Middle School Council member. I also served on the board of eHop and reported for the Hopkinton Independent for over 10 years, many of which were focussed on covering the schools and the School Committee. The lens of my experiences and engagement with the schools sparked an interest in serving the schools in a greater capacity and I was first elected to the School Committee in 2016.

I have a Master’s Degree in clinical Social Work from Boston University and I have spent my professional career working in the mental health field. I have seen first hand the devastating impact the pandemic has had on youth mental health and I know some of the effects of the pandemic will continue to ripple through our schools for years to come. I have a history of working collaboratively on the School Committee with our state legislators and community organizations to increase programmatic opportunities and grant funding for our students and I believe such collaboration is especially vital to support our students in this increased time of need.

We know that success for each of our students may look different and that even our District’s outstanding state and national rankings don’t tell the whole story. I have shown over my tenure that I am not a one or two issue candidate— I remain committed to diving in with equal passion for the many issues confronting all of our students and educators today. Here are a couple of issues I want to highlight which will continue to merit attention in the years ahead: Growth in the District- fueled in part by the excellence of our schools, we face additional significant enrollment growth over the next ten years which will require campus-wide proactive planning.

We need to bring all stakeholders together in the community to ensure our infrastructure supports academic and programmatic excellence and that we continue to attract and retain the outstanding educators who have made our schools top notch.

Bullying and bias-related incidents, During the pandemic, we saw an increase, not just on the national landscape, but here in Hopkinton of bullying and bias-related incidents. The divisions we have seen politically have trickled down to our students. Along with supporting increased social and emotional learning, we need to work collaboratively with the community to make sure every student feels safe and supported. Hopkinton is stronger when we work together.

I have worked to increase transparency and engagement with the community while on the School Committee, instituting office hours and maintaining an active School Committee social media presence. I believe the continuity and lens of experience I provide to the School Committee will help position us strongly for the coming years. I respectfully ask for your vote at the May 16 Annual Town Election.