Meet Manchester Proud’s new Community Planning Group

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MANCHESTER, NH – In February, Manchester Proud conducted a city-wide application process, seeking volunteers to join its new Community Planning Group. The work of this group will ensure the development of Manchester School District’s new strategic plan is driven by the community and responsive to its feedback.

An independent Selection Committee was tasked with selecting about 30 people from the 90 who applied, to form a group that would authentically represent Manchester. The group’s work would be most meaningful if its members were representative of the City’s many constituencies, from parents and students, to educators and community leaders.

They are.

Manchester Proud would like to introduce the 28 members of the Community Planning Group.

  • Parents: James O’Connell, Anthony Poore, Michael Porter and Trinidad Tellez
  • Educators: Amanda Egan, Charles Chretien, Abigail Gemme, Norma Gonzalez, Liz Kirwan and Katie Lebranche
  • Students: Christina Bui and Kimiya Parker-Hill
  • Community members: Michael Delaney, Dianne Fitzpatrick, Rev. Eric Jackson, Nicole Lora, Deo Mwano, Mike Skelton and Meredith Young School district office: Joede Brown, Donna K. Crook and Jennifer Gillis
  • School district administrators: Lizabeth MacDonald and Forrest Ransdell
  • Manchester Proud council: Amy Allen, Patricia Lynott and Will Kanteres
  • City of Manchester: Public Health Director Anna Thomas

“I was truly impressed with the representation from all areas of the community willing to work on a long range plan that will identify and expand Manchester School District’s true potential,” said Lizabeth MacDonald, Principal Weston Elementary School. “This group is a meld of expertise, perspectives, experiences and commitment to an all-inclusive goal — our children and their education.”

Community Planning Group members have spent the past two months working with 2Revolutions, Manchester Proud’s educational planning partner, to begin the design of the school district’s new strategic plan. Members will share the plan throughout the City this summer and solicit feedback from the community.

“It was encouraging and inspiring to see people come together from different backgrounds and be represented,” said Manchester entrepreneur and community leader, Deo Mwano. “It will take a village to improve the current structure of Manchester School District. I am excited to dive deeper with the group to come up with sustainable solutions that will better the learning of our students in Manchester and uplift our education system.”

The strategic plan will reflect both the concerns and aspirations Manchester Proud heard from the community during an extensive community engagement process that began in August 2018. Those efforts included canvassing over 2,000 homes in the Manchester’s 12 wards, collecting more than 1,100 community surveys, hosting numerous town hall events and facilitating more than 100 listening sessions with schools and community organizations throughout Manchester.

The strategic plan will encompass both important operational considerations – the nuts and bolts of effectively managing a large urban school district – and aspirational goals for the educational experiences Manchester will offer its students and families. In general, components of the plan are expected to focus on Teaching and Learning, Governance, Operations, Finance, and Community Partnerships.

It is expected that the proposed plan will be presented to Manchester’s Board of School Committee for approval before the end of 2019.


About Manchester Proud

Manchester Proud is a community-based movement committed to the success of all public school students in the City of Manchester, New Hampshire. It brings together all residents of the community to envision, plan and achieve its mission. Manchester Proud has no affiliations, political or otherwise, and is empowered by the fundamental belief in the strength of working together, equitably, inclusively and collaboratively. Manchester Proud seeks to build a stronger Manchester through the excellence of the City’s public schools. Learn more at manchesterproud.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/mhtproud.