This is part of a series of candidate questionnaires with local candidates released ahead of the November 2 elections.
Name: Ryan christenbury
Address: 98 rue Cocheco, Dover
Occupation: Senior IT Technician, Strafford County Sheriff’s Office
Education: Graduated from Saint-Thomas d’Aquin high school
Civic experience: This is my first foray into civic education.
Campaign website: facebook.com/ryanforward2dsb
Favorite Movie, Book or TV Show: Favorite movie – “The Shawshank Redemption”. Favorite book – “The Green Mile”. Favorite TV Show – “The Expanse”.
What do you think are the top three issues facing the district and how can the council address them?
1) Adequate supplies for teachers and students. By working with the other board members and city council, we should be able to ensure enough money in the budget process to ensure our students have all the supplies they need to excel.
2) The hiring and retention of the best teachers, paraprofessionals and all support and administrative staff. This would involve working with the DTU to secure a contract that would make younger and newer teachers want to stay longer in the district instead of moving to other areas. I would also love to see in-depth exit interviews for teachers and staff leaving the district to see what the driving factors are that push them to leave and see how we can work to improve it.
3) Stay within the city’s tax limit. This can be achieved by working with the board and council to make the process as transparent as possible so that Dover taxpayers have a clear view of the budget process and spending.
What do you think of the district’s COVID-19 policies, including masks and vaccines? Would you like to make any changes?
I fully support the current district mask policy. Masks must be put on until COVID-19 has passed or the district has achieved vaccination rates that allow the mask requirement to be removed.
Is the next negotiation of the teachers’ contract an opportunity to reach an agreement to avoid an annual battle over the budget? What solutions do you see?
As I said before, I believe the hiring and retention of our teachers is of the utmost importance. A contract with teachers that is fair to all is essential in order to keep our professionals in the classroom. In order to avoid a “battle over the budget,” the school board must work closely with the city council in a cooperative and professional manner, as they have final authority.
How, if at all, would you work to strengthen the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts?
Diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to ensure that our district produces the best students, ready for the world, wherever possible. I am fortunate to work for Sheriff Mark Brave who is a prime example for all of this. Under his mentorship, I think I can help bring these issues to the fore.
How, if any, would you work to strengthen the district’s efforts in student mental health and wellness?
As a US Army veteran who has flown multiple combat missions as a medic, I am intimately familiar with mental health issues. I fully support the multi-level district support systems approach. Mental health is a very serious issue that plagues our schools and must be addressed as such. I would like to see not only the involvement of advisors, but also some form of mentoring. Potentially use older peers to help guide younger students through the processes and things they have already experienced.