Benjamin Herrington: Explains candidacy for School Committee

Friday, March 16, 2018
Explains candidacy for school board

My name is Ben Herrington, candidate for Amherst School Committee.

Some know me as Coach Ben, LSSE basketball coach. I’m a proud AFSCME union member, working in the Amherst School District. I’m a veteran of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

I have associate degrees in communications and journalism from Manchester (Connecticut) Community College.

My most important title is single parent to two children — a third grader at Crocker Farm Elementary and a first-year at the high school — which gives me an incredible community I can count on.

I’m running for School Committee because I believe our students represent the future of Amherst. We must fully support our students and provide the most fair and equitable opportunities for them to grow and thrive as learners.

One issue I’m passionate about is nutrition. Our food service program impacts all of our children. I’m proud to be part of a school system that avoids shaming students whose parents can’t pay for lunch.

I support programs like “Breakfast After the Bell” and “Project Bread” which remove stigma while providing the necessary nutrition for students to be attentive. For some students, these may be the most substantial meals they receive all day.

I’m concerned about the physical condition of our schools. I have 1½ decades in residential construction and building maintenance. Together, we can find amicable, creative and sustainable solutions to issues regarding infrastructure.

I’m an advocate of dual-language education, starting at the elementary level. As the district’s enrollment working group found, we have an increase in Spanish-speaking students and an overall declining enrollment. As the report illustrated, both challenges can be addressed by a robust Spanish/English program.

The future of our schools will present many challenges and will take a School Committee with diverse viewpoints and experiences to address these challenges. With a range of skills and unique perspective, I will serve as a productive member of a School Committee that will nurture a progressive learning environment for our children.

I ask for your vote on March 27.

Benjamin Herrington