Erin Earle: Why I'm running for School Committee
1) Why do you want this position? Please include what specific initiatives you would want to
accomplish if you are elected.
I want this position for a variety of reasons but all drive back to one common denominator
which is students. As an educator at a higher education institution, I have seen firsthand the
immense impact a strong k-12 education can have on a person. As a product of the North
Kingstown School District and now a mom of children in the schools, I have a deeply personal
connection to the town and schools and want them to be exemplary.
This fall I began to attend the school committee meetings as my children entered the district. It
became quickly apparent that strong leadership was needed on the board to help navigate the
multiple challenges facing the district. Although most people would shy away from a moment
like this I feel a distinct call to serve the constituents of North Kingstown in this way.
If elected, a specific initiative I would like to accomplish is to help rebuild North Kingstown's
scholastic reputation as an exemplary district in the State and New England through policy
review, data analysis, and communication.
Additionally, I would like to review the district policies and practices to consider creative
solutions for supporting families that live in the district including those who have dual-income
families, single-household families, etc. to ensure that the educational system we have for
children meet the needs of today’s children and their families.
Lastly, I am extremely concerned about the effects of the pandemic on learning loss and the
mental health of our teachers, students, and administrators. There is no playbook for how to
recover from this so a variety of resources will need to be pulled upon to develop a thoughtful,
strategic, and creative plan.
2) What experiences from your life have prepared you for this position and would help you be
effective in this role?
A variety of my past experiences have prepared me for this position and would help me be
effective and productive in this role. First, my professional experience as an administrator at the
University of Rhode Island will prepare me for this role. As a State employee, I am very familiar
with having to work within complex bureaucratic systems that impact budgets, purchasing, and
personnel. Also, I have experience with employee unions and the NEARI. Additionally, as an
admission officer, I have spent the past 18 years working with k-12 schools creating pathways
for their students. This includes creating and implementing early intervention, mentor, and
exposure programs. In this role I also have experience building academic facilities as a lead for
a project at URI. Working at a large school I also know the importance of teamwork and
collaboration in order to get things done.
Another experience that has prepared me for this role is my recent experience as President of
the New England Association of Admission Counselors where I oversaw a membership of 3,500
professionals and convened a board of 40. This experience has strengthened my ability to be a
visionary leader. Additionally, I have led official business meetings and ran trainings on Robert’s
Rules of Order. The members of this organization represent both colleges and high school
professions. In this role, I learned of the challenges our k-12 colleagues have in their schools
across New England and the Nation. I also learned the importance of listening and why it is
important for leaders to consider all perspectives before making a decision.
A third experience that has prepared me for this role is my experience studying and teaching
educational leadership and communication. My academic background began in North
Kingstown as I attended Quidnessett Elementary, Davisville Middle School, and North
Kingstown High School. I went on to study public relations for my undergraduate degree,
student development for my master's, and then finally educational leadership in my doctoral
program. My academic background has prepared me with tools in change management, group
dynamics, interpersonal and group communication, conflict resolution, and strategic planning. I
also am a qualitative researcher which has trained me in the data collection and analysis of
people’s stories to determine themes and propose solutions.
A fourth experience that has prepared me for this role is my past work in advocating for
diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity for students and teachers. I have chaired many
committees and participated in many initiatives to ensure that education is an available
opportunity for all students. This work has included focused advocacy for historically excluded
populations including students of color, the LGBTQ community, women, and veterans. I have a
proven track record in working with others to make incremental progress and also the stamina
and persistence it takes to continue this often challenging work.
The last experience that has prepared me for this role is a more personal one. Being a daughter
and daughter-in-law to educators I have a deep respect and admiration for k-12 teachers. I had
a close-up seat to my mother's career in special education in the NK School District before she
retired and know the impact individual educational plans can have on children. Additionally, I
have seen the impact of tragedy on a school district as my mother-in-law teaches in the
Newtown School District in Connecticut which led me to be very passionate about school safety.
More recently I have also experienced the district from the side of a parent. As a mother of a
first-grader and pre-k student, I have students in two of the elementary schools in town. Through
my children, I have already seen the impact of starting their academic careers during a
pandemic. I have also seen the amazing things our district offers to students such as welcoming
and close-knit schools.
3) What specific value would you add to either the existing Town Council or School Committees
The specific value I would add to the School Committee going forward is my familiarity with the
K-12 curriculum. I would also add value because of my deep knowledge of students'
post-secondary options and the paths that will set them up for success. Additionally, as stated
earlier I know how to make sustained and realistic changes in the education setting. I also would
bring value to reviewing RFP and budgets. Lastly, I would bring value in marketing and
communication both with internal and external constituents.
To learn more about my campaign, follow me on Facebook here.