Kerry Spitzer: Candidate examines bigger picture

Friday, March 16, 2018
Candidate examines bigger picture

I am running for Amherst School Committee because I believe that we need to consider how our schools intersect with other challenges facing our community, including housing, health and hunger.

I volunteered to serve on the Enrollment Working Group, which was formed in response to a request from our School Committee to inform decisions on how to address the challenges facing our town’s elementary schools.

At each school, we interviewed dedicated professionals who are committed to serving our students. As a Wildwood parent and Crocker Farm graduate, I was already familiar with the outstanding teaching in our schools, but through our interviews, I was struck by the accounts of individuals going above and beyond to assist students with everything from securing warm clothing to a new pair of glasses.

As an urban planner and policy researcher, I try to see the bigger picture of where our schools fit into the web of public services. They need to be recognized not only as sites of learning, but also as community centers where we can bridge the economic and cultural divides in our town.

As a graduate of the Amherst schools, I benefited from the rigorous academics and access to arts, theater and athletics. As an adult, I appreciate how lucky I was to grow up in a community that supports, and is defined by, education. Yet, there are many in our community who are not able to access these same opportunities.

With both sides of the school project debate present at the first Enrollment Working Group meeting, I was not the only one worried that the atmosphere would prevent us from making meaningful progress. Nonetheless, we were able to collaborate and do the work.

Given the opportunity to serve on the School Committee, I would bring the same level of commitment to getting the work done to ensure that all of Amherst’s students are able to receive the excellent education I did.

I don’t want to just look back at the town of my childhood, but also forward, toward an Amherst that recognizes that new challenges call for new approaches.

Kerry Spitzer