, Salem, MA

September 6, 2013

Lavoie: Wants to 'narrow focus'


---- — SALEM — School Committee member Lisa Lavoie, who is running for re-election, has experienced the world of education from two distinct vantage points.

A Harvard College graduate with a doctorate in linguistics from Cornell University, Lavoie currently is a language specialist at Amazon and a phonetics instructor at Emerson College.

But around here, a lot of families know her as the skating instructor for the Salem-Swampscott Blades youth hockey program.

She finds joy, she said, helping little ones stand on their own two feet — even on skates.

Runner-up in a citywide election two years ago, Lavoie won a “mini-election” by the School Committee and City Council to fill a vacancy.

The past two years have been a learning experience, some of it good and some bad, said Lavoie, the mother of twin boys at Horace Mann School.

“I think we fought a lot,” she said of the School Committee. “You can see that many of our decisions were very split. I think we wasted time on things that were not central to our mission.”

With so much at stake, she wants to “narrow the focus” to what matters. She wants to remove the distractions and hear more from principals about what is working and not working.

“I’ve been doing a lot of reading,” Lavoie said. “I feel the school committees really pushing the districts forward are the ones strongly focused on student achievement and learning.”

Tom Dalton can be reached at


Address: 10 Savoy Road

Age: 46

Family: Married, two school-age sons

Employment: Amazon, linguist; and Emerson College, phonetics instructor.

Education: Hollis High School, Hollis, N.H.; Harvard College, B.A. linguistics; Cornell University, Ph.D. linguistics

Community involvement: Director of Learn to Skate for Salem-Swampscott Blades Youth Hockey; parent volunteer at Horace Mann Lab School.

Elective offices held: None; served on School Committee since January 2012 after being selected by City Council and School Committee to fill a vacancy