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  • Erin Earle

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

going forward?

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.

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