Last week, I watched two recent films on education in America: “Waiting for Superman” and “The Race to Nowhere.” The films explored issues with the current American education system. “Waiting for Superman” highlights problems that inner city schools face, such as high dropout rates, overcrowding in poor facilities, teacher burnout and how schools are failing both good teachers and good students. It also focused on the tremendous success that independent and charter schools have had in these same neighborhoods.

“The Race to Nowhere” presents problems that are a world apart from the inner city. Affluent school districts across America are presented with the negative effect of too much homework, a hyper focus on grades and Advanced Placement classes, over-scheduling, teaching to the test and the myriad of consequences from the associated pressures: anorexia, drugs, sleep deprivation, depression and even suicide.

Both were thought-provoking movies, especially for me as I am running for a school board seat in Rockport. We only see glimpses of these same problems in our schools and because of our national policy of ‘No Child Left Behind’ our schools are testing more than ever. What are the benefits of homework before middle or high school? Are our kids under too much pressure? Are our systems too focused on results and not the process? Are teachers able to reach all students in ever-growing classrooms?

I am excited to be challenged with the issues that face our schools and to embrace their successes. This is an exciting time to be a board member. The district just hired a new superintendent and Rockport Elementary School is interviewing for a new principal. Curriculum and policy can now take a front seat for these new administrators as we are fortunate to have two new school buildings and more time now to focus on student academics.

Although Camden Hills Regional High School, and the SAD 28 schools exceeded state standards in testing I would like to think that we have other measures for success. It is fantastic to see that CHRHS graduates 97 percent of its students and that 76 percent have a post-secondary education goal. Students have logged in many hours of community service, giving back to those who have given to them. Students from our district have won many awards in technology, academics, arts, music and athletics. These pursuits were introduced in Kindergarten and allowed to grow through all 12 years in our schools.

I would like add inquisitive, creative, caring, responsible, well rounded and happy kids among our measures of success.

I moved here in 1989 with my husband, George. We have two established businesses in town and have raised two children here. I have been, and continue to be, connected to our schools and Rockport. I have been a board member, treasurer and volunteer for many local organizations. I have volunteered many hours to Peopleplace, the preschool where my kids attended and I taught for years, as well as the Ragged Mountains Ski and Snowboard Club and the Fourth Grade Learn to Ski program. I have volunteered with the Teen Center, the YMCA’s swim team, Youth Arts and Maine Coast Skaters Youth Hockey and high school hockey programs.

My favorite times of volunteering have been with the public schools in the classroom or on field trips. I have been involved with the teachers and issues that both my son and daughter have experienced at all three local schools. Their learning styles and interests are different and through them I have seen some of the issues in our schools. Now that my children are older, one heading to college this fall and the other a freshman, I can extend that sense of connection and service to my local schools by being a dynamic school board member.

First of all, I believe it makes financial sense to maintain our buildings well and run them efficiently. Secondly, the school boards worked hard on crafting budgets that are up just over 1 percent. When I am on the school board I will keep a close eye on the budget and will continue to search for economies without sacrificing the high quality of instruction our children deserve. Thirdly, I believe we can improve the substance abuse and bullying issues through clear policy that addresses individuals with discipline that is relevant and effective.

Please get out and vote on June 14 to pass the school budget and to elect both town officials and school board members.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”

— William Butler Yeats