City Primary Voters’ Guide: Board of School Committee At-Large

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 Board of School Committee At-Large (2 Seats)

Vote for two candidates on your ward ballot.


 

Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez earned an MS from UNH and a BA from Catholic University, Santiago-Dominican Republic, with additional education at the Harvard program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, and Dartmouth College Language Training Program, in Hanover. He is a Security Officer (SO) at Manchester Boston Regional Airport. He has been a teacher for Moultonborough Academy and for Sunapee High School. He has been an adjunct faculty and professor at Plymouth University, Franklin Pierce College, and Manchester Community College. He has been Coordinator of diversity at Franklin Pierce College, Project director at Plymouth State College’s students Upward Bound Program, U.S. aide at the U.S. Embassy to the Dominican Republic, and technical secretariat of the presidency, Dominican Republic.

Qualifications

Aside from being a citizen, parent, and taxpayer, I’ve been a teacher, college professor, and involved in numerous community groups. As an immigrant whose first language is Spanish, I have a perspective on what it takes to assimilate into a new culture and succeed while proudly maintaining my heritage.

Manchester School District’s greatest strength

The students and the parents who support them (schools).

Priorities

There needs to be focus on “academic excellence,” recognizing that the district can not serve the individual needs of every student and use “Common Core” standards. They are all about conformity, about every student being able to do the same things, the same way at the same time. That is not individualized education!.

In closing, the city of Manchester and the Manchester school district are facing an increased diversity among its student population. Currently, 70 languages or more are represented among Manchester school students.

My diverse background as a successful citizen, bi-lingual immigrant (black/Latino/Spanish), combined with my educational, political, and professional experience helps me to be qualified for the At-Large School Board.

Click to see Carlos Gonzalez’s campaign video via MPTV


Jason Hodgdon

Jason Hodgdon, 34, is a 2003 West High grad, who studied criminal justice/political science at Plymouth State College. He works for State Farm Insurance in Bedford.

Qualifications

I’m running because it’s time for a fresh face. We can’t have the same people being elected over and over again and expect changes to be made. Also as a person without children, I think I offer an unbiased opinion when it comes down to making decisions.

Manchester School District’s greatest strength

Our teachers, and if we don’t make changes we’re going to continue to lose those with experience.

Priorities

I want to make sure we’re providing a quality education for the children while adhering to our budget.


Joseph Lachance

Joseph Lachance

Joseph Lachance, age 49, earned master’s degrees in business education and organizational management and works for Easter Seals as a Family and Consumer Science Teacher.

Qualifications

I am a former NH State Representative, Ward Moderator, and manager with the United States Postal Service. I have a proven track record of constituent service as an elected state representative.

Manchester School District’s greatest strength

Diverse population and educators that truly care about the success of our students.

Priorities

Improved technology access for students and teachers, improved reputation of our schools so outside communities will want to send their students to MSD once again, and continued consolidation of facilities and classrooms as needed to use our scarce resources wisely.

Click to see Joseph Lachance’s campaign video via MPTV


Gene Martin

Gene Martin

Gene Martin, age 32,  received a Bachelor’s Degree from Plymouth State University and expects to complete a master of public administration degree from UNH in 2020. With a background in project management and organizational operations, he works at a state university in the Alumni Relations and Development Office. His website is www.genemartinnh.com.

Qualifications

As a father, proud graduate of Manchester public schools, and homeowner, I care deeply about the success of our children and school district. As a child, I lived in a homeless shelter and went on to be the first person in my family to graduate from college.  I am grateful for what Manchester’s schools gave me, and now I want to give back.

I believe the School Board needs members who can focus on improving student achievement by creating and implementing strategic short and long-term action plans. My wife Erin and I want our daughter and all children to have the best possible education. With my work experience and skill set, I would bring a new voice and perspective to our school board.

Manchester School District’s greatest strength

The greatest strength of the Manchester School District is the community that contributes to the success of our students. From families and community leaders to paraprofessionals, teachers, and administrators, collaboratively they give so much of themselves to promote the academic gains for our city’s youth.

Improvements

The first improvement I would like to see is to make sure that every child has the opportunity to succeed regardless of where they live in the city. That means we must take meaningful and measurable action to address the achievement gap. We have a moral obligation to provide a quality education that gives every child the best possible chance to reach their full potential.

The second improvement I would like to see is to provide our students and educators with the essential resources to succeed in the classroom, like books and access to technology to improve student achievement.

The third improvement I’d like to see is a change in the perception of the school system in and outside our district. Our goal should be enacting policies and plans with the outcome being attracting families to move to or stay in Manchester because we have the best school district in the state.

Click here to watch Gene Martin’s campaign video via MPTV.


Jim O’Connell

Jim O’Connell, age 61, attended Southend Polytechnic for Business Administration and is the president at Consul Holdings where he is a business management consultant. He also works with Safe Passage, a company that works with children who are in state care. His website is www.oconnellatlarge.com.

Qualifications

I have four children, three of whom are graduates of Manchester public schools, and one who is a senior at Central High School. As founder and President of Citizens for Manchester Schools I fought against the elimination of teachers and programs from our schools. I drew attention to class sizes over what the state allowed. As PTO president at Hillside Middle School for six years, I successfully fought for additional programs and funding. My time on the Parent Council at Central has given me keen insight into the challenges facing our students and teachers. I have been an advocate for the children, parents and staff of our schools for more than a decade. I have also served on many boards including Manchester North Soccer, Manchester North Little League, The Acting Loft, and most recently I was on Manchester Proud’s community planning group. I have also been a CEO of a couple of companies with deep experience of managing complex budgets and organizations.

Manchester School District’s greatest strength

Our diversity is our strength, our students and our teachers are incredible, and the community is ready for dramatic change. Manchester is a dynamic and exciting place to live today. We need to have a public school system that reflects that new reality and not the current throwback to the mill city of the ’70s whose best days seemed to be behind it. A great Manchester needs great schools. I will fight for that every day I am a school board member.

Priorities

  1. Get the teachers, staff and principals the contracts they deserve and do it now! Let them know that contrary to the opinions of a small cabal of anti-public school blowhards, the people of Manchester love their schools and teachers and want them to have what they need to educate our children.
  2. Get the BoSC to start acting in a more businesslike manner. They need to act as an oversight board and not as mini superintendents. We pay an executive director to manage our large and diverse school system. Get out of the way and let them do their jobs.
  3. Stop the downshifting of costs from the state to Manchester’s taxpayers. If the downshifting of costs from recent years was reversed Manchester could hire additional teachers, give relief to local taxpayers and put a plan in place to revolutionize Manchester education to make it the envy of the state. Let’s get this done!

Lara Quiroga 

Lara Quiroga

Lara Quiroga,  age 42, earned a master’s degree in education and is Director of Strategic Initiatives for Children at Amoskeag Health (formerly known as Manchester Community Health Center). Her website is www.lara4manchester.com.

Qualifications

In addition to being a mom of a 15-year-old who just began his sophomore year of high school at Memorial after attending Jewett Elementary and Southside Middle School, I have the education and professional and volunteer experience to serve as a committee-person at-large. I have a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education Administration from Granite State College and a master’s degree in child development with an administration concentration from Southern NH University.

My career has been entirely focused on children, their families, and education. I started my career as an early childhood education teacher in Manchester’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs. I moved into administration serving as a childcare Center Director for Early Head Start and a large nonprofit child development program for more than 200 children and families. I worked at Southern NH University as its School of Education Community Outreach Coordinator, setting up professional development for teachers in local schools, advising students, and helping the School of Education through its teacher certification programs reaccreditation process through the NH Department of Education. I then worked at Tufts University as its Coordinator for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges reaccreditation and then as a Project Administrator for the University’s President working on its strategic issues such as diversity and inclusion, innovation, sustainability, and transformative experiences.

For the last six years, I’ve been working at Amoskeag Health (formerly Manchester Community Health Center) running initiatives to help children and families flourish and enter school ready to learn and able to succeed – LAUNCH Manchester and the Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team (ACERT). I serve on the Board of the NH Children’s Trust, the only statewide non-profit leading the drive to end child abuse and neglect in NH. I’ve been part of its healthy governing board of directors for the last almost nine years and its chair for the past 3½ years. I am also the vice-chair of the Board of the Manchester Community Resource Center. The initiatives of my professional and volunteer work would not have been as successful as they were without my efforts to collaborate with community partners, focus on high-quality programming, and build relationships with policymakers to ensure funding and policies exist to support the continued work.

Manchester School District’s greatest strength

The greatest strength of the Manchester School District is its people – the children, teachers, staff, administrators, and parents. As a collective, they have amazing diversity, interest in student achievement, and the power to make change.

Improvements

I’d like the board to focus its work on student learning and achievement so that all students have the opportunity to succeed. Teachers and other school personnel need fair contracts and the resources and tools required to ensure that student success. Finally, the school board needs to engage in an appropriate level of governance with a return to civil interactions and the use of common sense problem-solving.

Click to watch Lisa Quiroga’s campaign video via MPTV