This is part of a series of candidate questionnaires with local candidates released ahead of the November 2 elections.
Name: Michelle clancy
Address: 22 Parsons Lane
Occupation: Project manager and business analyst
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Agile Scrum Master certification
Civic experience: Worked at the Chamber of Commerce for two years, volunteering at the city’s Ethics Commission.
Campaign website: www.michellefordover.com
Favourite book: Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Toll”
What do you think are the top three issues facing the district and how can the council address them?
Shortage of substitutes: we need to look at the root cause of this problem. Aren’t people ready to step in because of COVID concerns, pay scale or other factors? This shortage is not unique to Dover, but hurts our staff and students, principals teaching lessons and students not receiving certain lessons due to teacher absences that cannot be covered. This problem existed before COVID and is now exacerbated by an increase in absences from teachers and para-educators.
Us versus them mentality: The perception that the schools and the city are adversaries, fighting for the same money. During the joint meeting on September 30 between the municipal council and the school board, I was encouraged by the general theme of collaboration. This approach will help create a more cohesive governing body and allow us to work on making the best choices for our school district and our city. If elected, one of my main goals will be to establish cross-functional relationships, not only between Council and Council, but also with key contacts in the city and schools. I have already started this work by meeting with all school administrators to understand each department and school and their unique setup and challenges.
Communication at the district level: When I met the school administrators, most people thought that communication was a problem at the district level. Our budget does not allow a dedicated communication role, so there is no consistent âmessagingâ in the neighborhood. With 1,000 contract and direct employees and over 4,000 students, the District needs a strong communications plan and distribution platform. Being a District Parent myself, I sometimes miss key information or am overwhelmed with too much information. Although weekly emails are sent to parents by Superintendent Dr. Harbron and principals, it is clear that something different is needed. I am interested in parental feedback on this topic and would like to explore new approaches.
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 school board’s decision to continue universal masking as Strafford County experiences substantial spread, and to review the numbers at every regular school board meeting to decide if a change in approach is needed. The district does not have a policy or mandate related to COVID vaccination, so I cannot comment on this until a proposal or plan is presented.
Is the next negotiation of the teachers’ contract an opportunity to find an agreement to avoid an annual battle over the budget? What solutions do you see?
The annual âbudget battleâ will be an ongoing problem – our city’s taxpayers bear the burden, and governing bodies need to be aware of what residents can support. With increasing demands for our schools, increased services in our rapidly growing modern city, and a lack of state level financial support, the struggle to fund all needs across the city will continue. At the recent CC / SB joint meeting, I learned about the idea of ââbringing in a third party contract negotiator to the city to make the process more objective and relieve elected officials of this task. It is my hope with a professional negotiator all parties can reach agreements which are acceptable.
How, if at all, would you work to strengthen the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts?
Dover Schools Equity Vision Keepers are responsible for educating, assisting and supporting the district in addressing issues of racism, prejudice and prejudice that prevent the school community from being inclusive, safe and respectful of all. EVK finalized the district equity plan and established a working relationship with the city’s existing committee for racial equity and inclusion. The EVK is a step in the right direction, but I also want to spotlight Dover High School Principal Peter Driscoll for the high school mentorship program, where new students identified as likely to benefit from a mentor are paired with another student. The mentor monitors and guides the mentee and in some cases even helps staff alleviate problems. This is in addition to Project DREAM, which is a student-led organization focused on raising awareness and advocating for marginalized communities.
How, if any, would you work to strengthen the district’s efforts in student mental health and wellness?
I am excited about the NAMI Connect (National Alliance on Mental Illness) program; we have 16 staff already certified and 30 students soon to be certified. Once people are trained, they are able to train others. The Connect program is “a comprehensive model for planning and implementing suicide prevention and postvention practices,” so in addition to the district’s existing critical incident response plan, our children will have the resources to navigate their way. changing world. Additionally, I was impressed to learn that our senior DHS class is forming a Suicide Prevention Task Force that will live beyond graduation and serve future classes. I would like the district to provide parents and caregivers with intervention skills to use at home as well.