Letter To The Editor: Re-Election Announcement From Amy Checkoway, School Committee

Photo: Amy Checkoway

To the editor:

I am pleased to announce my candidacy for re-election to the Belmont School Committee. I believe my experience, capabilities, and demonstrated effectiveness working collaboratively to meet challenges will advance the excellence of the Belmont Public Schools.

I was first elected to the School Committee in April 2019, and since April 2021 I have had the honor to serve as its chair. My term has been intense, meaningful, busy, and challenging. I care deeply about the future of our schools and feel strongly that I will continue to make a positive impact. If re-elected, key goals for my next term will include focus on continued engagement with our wonderful community and a strong commitment to working closely with the leadership of our school district and the Town.

I ran for School Committee three years ago because of my professional background and expertise in federal and state education policy, experience volunteering in our schools, personal investment in the district as a parent, and deep commitment to public service. In my first term, I have led or participated in multiple subcommittees and working groups that focus on school finance, district-wide policy, curriculum and instruction, educational equity, capital needs, and town-wide structural change to improve efficiency and reduce costs. I also represent Belmont on the board of EDCO, a regional educational collaborative that provides high-quality professional development for teaching staff and special education services at a reduced cost to the district.

The COVID pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to our schools, school leadership, and School Committee. An important focus of my time as chair in the last nine months has been rebuilding trust and confidence in our district, improving communications with all stakeholders, and increasing the level of transparency in decision-making. I have prioritized a welcoming environment at our meetings, including meaningful opportunities for parents and community members to share their views and concerns. I value the strong relationships that I have built with my colleagues on the School Committee, town leaders, and members of the school district staff, which enable me to be a more effective and informed leader.

My priorities looking forward include building even stronger district-family-community partnerships; working toward a more equitable and inclusive educational community for all students and staff; supporting students’ academic recovery and their social-emotional and mental health needs; and strategically managing the district’s financial resources, including one-time COVID recovery federal funds, to ensure that our schools are positioned to provide the kind of educational experiences and supports that our students need and deserve.

There is enormous talent and potential in the Belmont Public Schools. In the coming months, we have an exciting opportunity to work together as a community in constructing a dynamic vision for the future of public education in Belmont as we reconfigure the grades in our school buildings.

Serving in this role is incredibly humbling and consuming. I do not pretend to have all the answers, and we will need the help of the entire community to ensure our schools’ success. For my part, I can – and will – commit to offering my proven work ethic, empathy, critical thinking, even handedness, and constructive problem-solving skills in tackling the many challenges and issues at hand for the Belmont Public Schools. With your support, I hope to have the opportunity to help steer our district to a better place and provide steady and knowledgeable leadership as well as important stability to our community for another term.

Amy Checkoway

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