SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 15, 2013

Charter school head is running for Salem School Committee

(Continued)

Salem Academy Charter School, located in Shetland Park, is also a school that faced opposition, bordering on hostility, when it opened nearly a decade ago. At the time, some Salem School Committee members not only spoke out against the charter school, which they saw as draining funds and resources from the Salem public schools, but campaigned openly against it.

Hunt feels, or at least hopes, times have changed.

She said she doesn’t believe there is “the same distrust and animosity ... about Salem Academy that there was when we opened. The school has gained a really positive reputation in the community.”

Hunt said her involvement in the charter school has made her “interested in the education of all the city’s students, and I want to be involved in any way I can.”

Her candidacy, she said, might be a way to help the city schools and charter school work together more and close any rift, perceived or actual, that still exists.

“For me, it’s a nice way of closing the gap,” she said, “for one person to be involved in both the public schools and charter school.”

Hunt, 40, said she started thinking about running for the school board as her children approached school age. She has a daughter who will enter kindergarten next year and a 2-year-old son.

“I’m obviously deeply invested in my job, but having my kids and being a year away from (my daughter) entering school really caused me to think about my role, and I really want to be more invested in education as a whole,” she said.

Hunt conceded that some will see her candidacy as both unusual and unexpected.

“I guess, for me, it’s a unique position to be in — somebody who has the educational experience and is still actively involved in the public schools, but able to run in your own city. ... We tell our students here that they should be involved in their communities and help out in the way that is best suited for them. I suppose (I’m) modeling what we preach to our kids every day.”

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.

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