LETTER: School Committee Candidate Explains Why She is Running


My name is Kendra Medville Foley and I am a candidate for the Watertown School Committee.

I am running for School Committee because I am passionate about the importance of education – for my three young children, for the children and families in Watertown and for the health and vibrancy of our town. I know that an excellent school system not only helps every child and family, but also makes an enormous contribution to a community being safer, stronger, and more vibrant.

Two years ago, when my oldest child entered kindergarten, I got involved with the schools through the Hosmer PTO and Watertown Strong Schools. The process of advocating for greater investment in our schools by attending School Committee meetings, attending budget and finance subcommittee meetings, and talking to parents, teachers and administrators convinced me to run for School Committee. I want to help make positive changes in our schools, and I believe that it can be done most effectively as a member of the School Committee.

Passion and desire to make things better are important, but they are not enough.  I have a number of unique skills and abilities that I believe will make me an effective and productive member of the School Committee.

I understand many of the challenges teachers face. As the daughter of an educator and as a fifth grader teacher myself for two years in Washington, D.C., through Teach for America, I experienced both how hard and how rewarding it is to be a teacher.

I understand the difference that effective leadership can make in the quality of a school and a school system. During my two years teaching in Washington, D.C., I taught in a school that was once sought after by parents for its quality, led by an excellent principal. When the leadership in that school changed for the worse, the culture changed, expectations and morale plummeted, and the school’s effectiveness quickly declined.

I understand the importance of thoughtful education policy. During the Patrick Administration, I served as the chief of staff to the Secretary of Education and I gained important insight into education policy and the impact it can have on the teaching and learning in the classroom.

I know how to work as part of a team.  Whether it was on the athletic field, in the classroom, on the campaign trail, during my years in public service, or while advocating for greater investment in our schools – I have learned that progress is made when we work hard and we work together.

I understand how critical it is for a complex system like the Watertown Public Schools to have a rigorous planning process and a thoughtful and transparent budget. A budget is a reflection of our priorities. As we identify our strengths and our weaknesses as a system, we can make strategic investments that will have a positive impact in our classrooms.

I know and love Watertown. I was born and raised here. I understand what a unique community this is and what a wonderful place it is to raise a family.

As a member of the School Committee, my focus will be on the following things:

  • A rigorous and supportive academic environment in our schools;
  • Smart, thoughtful, and transparent school budget planning;
  • Effective communication between the schools, the town, and parents;
  • Great teaching supported by state of the art curriculum and excellent professional development.

We have challenges and opportunities ahead of us.  I am asking for your vote on Nov. 3 to help make a positive impact – for our students and for our community.

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