Letter: Consider Kaur for School Board

Posted
Editor of the Reformer,

My name is Emily Murphy Kaur and I'm writing to ask your support in my campaign for a one-year term on the Brattleboro School Board. With the merger remaining unconfirmed, we sit at the crossroads of an uncertain future of which my background in teaching, district level policymaking, and grant writing can be uniquely utilized to advocate in support of our community.

Having started my career as a public school teacher of students with significant disabilities, I've had a lot of experience working with teachers, school directors, and superintendents, and in building communities that are inclusive and safe places for all students to grow and learn. My work at the school level fostered a strong interest in working at the district level to ensure that teachers and the community have a voice in the broader decision-making process. To transition into this new role, I went to Teachers College where I became well versed in conducting research studies, analyzing statistical trends, and strategic planning, and then pivoted my career to focus on policymaking and research. Since then, my education work has centered on helping school districts build collaborative cultures that effectively integrate educators and community members into the policy-making process. Having worked with over one-third of the districts in Massachusetts, as well as three of the largest cities in New England — Boston, Providence, and Springfield — to facilitate better governance, I was commissioned to write a book, titled "Improving Education Together," illustrating how a culture of collaborative policymaking can be built and used as a lever for improving student outcomes.

Now — as a 33-year-old community stakeholder in Brattleboro where I own a small business — I am excited for the opportunity to be directly involved in local policymaking at a time when Brattleboro will either be rethinking its strategy as a town school district, or merging with the surrounding towns to form a unified district. I'm ready to advocate for the community in an official capacity, ensuring that students and families have an authentic way of having their voice heard and integrated into the decision-making process in 2019 and beyond.

Today we stand with two clear areas in need of more discussion, equity and the challenges associated with our decreasing student population. With this in mind, conversations around how best to attract young families to the area are integral if we want to reverse long-term trends. Working with regional partners on a plan to showcase our diversity, community, and wonderful school system, while at the same time building economic and social supports, is key to attracting new families.

As for equity, it comes as no surprise that families in Brattleboro are experiencing more and more economic challenges. Economic insecurity results in students coming to school with an increasing need for support in areas outside of traditional academics. Grant making and collaboration are great ways to work within tightening budgets to diversify services; and, once partnerships are prioritized, they can help to yield long-term results. If elected, I will advocate and work for this to happen.

With a strong curiosity to challenge the status quo in support of innovation, a collaborative spirit that helps to get things done, and a keen ability to work with uncertain circumstances towards success, I'm seeking your support at this pivotal point in our school district's evolution. On March 5, please consider me, Emily Murphy Kaur, as your candidate for the Brattleboro Town School Board.

Emily Murphy Kaur

Brattleboro, Feb. 11


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