My name is Jennifer (Holt) Nicholson and as a lifelong resident of Watertown, I am thrilled to announce my candidacy for the Watertown School Committee. It would be a tremendous honor for me to serve with pride and give back to the community that has given so much to my entire family.
My children, incoming third and first graders at Cunniff, are fourth generation students of Watertown Public Schools. My husband, who is currently Assistant Fire Chief for the Watertown Fire Department, and I both graduated from Watertown High School in 2003. I went on to earn my Bachelor of Science in General Management from Boston College in 2007, concentrating in Marketing and Human Resources. During my undergraduate years, I had the opportunity to work as a substitute teacher in all three Watertown elementary schools. It was during this time that my professional path became clear. I found teaching to be a dynamic and exciting profession that blends seamlessly with my personality as an enthusiastic, resourceful and dedicated person who believes in lifelong learning and service to others in all facets of my life.
Within a week of graduating from Boston College, I began taking courses toward my Master of Arts in Teaching at Regis College, which I completed in 2010. I was so grateful to work as an instructional assistant at Hosmer, where I also completed my student teaching and learned a great deal from a team of truly fantastic educators. I was able to devise and implement lessons for first and second grade students focusing on positive feedback, differentiated instruction and multisensory approaches to learning. In 2008, I was hired as an elementary classroom teacher in another local district where I taught for four years prior to the birth of my first child in 2012. During my time as an elementary educator, I partnered in team teaching models, served as the third grade team leader, participated in our school’s hiring committee and mentoring program, and implemented a theater initiative focusing on character education and social and emotional development that is still being used in the school today. In recent years, I have continued taking online classes to stay current in pedagogical practices, provided tutoring services for children in our community, volunteered in youth sports, and been an active member in the Cunniff PTO, serving as Secretary for two years and now will be entering my second year as Co-President this September.
As a result of my own experiences as well as witnessing my son and daughter both flourish at Cunniff, I strongly believe that we have outstanding teachers and staff working with our children. From the Pre-K teacher who gently helped my daughter overcome her separation anxiety to my son’s first grade teacher who penned a handwritten full-page response to a letter during the height of the pandemic, the level of care and dedication that our educators put into their teaching is phenomenal and does not go unnoticed to me. My children still ask to watch the 53 second video from the car parade that was held for families in front of the old Cunniff building before it was knocked down last June. Cars lined up all the way down Warren Street and the grounds were flooded with dozens of masked teachers holding signs, jumping, and waving to their students as they drove by. It was evident that the opportunity to see one another and say goodbye in person was just as meaningful to the staff as it was for the children. I simply could not have been more proud to be a member of this community and thankful to be raising my family here.
I am running for Watertown School Committee because I believe in public education and I want to ensure all students have the opportunity to receive the best education possible. Watertown is a diverse community and we have to celebrate that diversity and respect each child’s individuality. The vitally important role that families play in the success of a school district is something that I strongly understand. I will be committed to building public understanding, support and participation to help serve the educational needs of all students. Over the years, I have been asked frequently if I intend to keep my children enrolled in Watertown at the secondary level and it is my goal for all families to feel as confident about the learning opportunities in our schools as I do. Watertown is doing an incredible job of constructing impressive, state-of-the-art facilities for our schools and I want our district’s standing and reputation to match the image of our magnificent new buildings. As a member of the School Committee, I will demonstrate active listening, strategic planning and flexible thinking; I vow to always be open to collaboration and compromise to support our students, families, faculty, administrators and the Watertown community at large. I look forward to having many conversations with the citizens of Watertown and I will always be available to discuss anyone’s priorities, concerns and ideas. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am committed to serving Watertown and I would be honored to devote my time to support our schools as a member of our School Committee.