Four candidates are vying for two, three-year seats on the Danvers School Committee. This is the first of four profiles of the candidates. The others will be featured in upcoming editions this week. The election is Tuesday, May 1.
DANVERS — Connie Pawlak, running for her third term on the School Committee, hopes to continue bringing the perspective of a retired teacher and principal to the board.
"I feel I represent something on the School Committee that is different," Pawlak said. "I bring a different experience, wisdom and a knowledge of education to the board."
It's a different view from that of a parent with children in the schools, she said. But though she's retired, "I still feel like I'm in education," she said, because she has a daughter and son-in-law who are both teachers, in Reading and Winchester.
A 31-year resident of the town, Pawlak said being retired gives her the time to be active on several committees related to the schools. She attends many of the school events and meetings that people with day jobs can't get to. She serves as the liaison to the Danvers Educational Enrichment Partnership, the DanversCares prevention coalition and the high school Design/Construction Advisory Committee, to name a few.
Pawlak said she brings to the committee her experience working for "outstanding school systems" like Hamilton-Wenham and Concord. She helped bring a teaching skills course, the Skillful Teacher, to Danvers. So far, approximately 70 percent of teachers have gone through a program designed to sharpen their classroom skills. Pawlak also promoted all-day kindergarten and a more transparent budget process.
The challenge to move the district forward is all about having enough money, she said.
"First of all, to get the state to fund the various mandates they have imposed on us," she said of the challenges facing the system.
In the past few years, she noted, the schools have cut back on books, supplies and materials while trying to grow the program. She credited the Department of Public Works and the town manager's office, among others, for working together in tight financial times.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @DanverSalemNews.
Address: 60 Summer St.
Family: Husband, Paul; daughter, Amy Kasprzak, 41; sons Robert, 44, and William, 47.
Occupation: Retired principal of Concord Middle School; former assistant principal at Hamilton-Wenham Regional; former teacher.