[Editor’s note: This spring, Southborough voters will be able to choose among three candidates for two seats on the Southborough School Committee. To help you make that decision, each candidate is invited to submit one letter to readers promoting their campaign. (To find other candidates’ letters click here.)
As in past years, you may use comments to endorse the candidate. No mudslinging allowed here.]
Southborough Friends and Neighbors:
I wanted to introduce myself to the town of Southborough. My name is Johanna Sheyner and I am running for one of the two 3-year term Southborough School Committee positions. I want to explain why I am passionate about being a member of the Southborough School Committee.
My desire to serve as a member on the Southborough School Committee has been building for many years. My family have been members of the Southborough Community for 8 years, since 2014 and both my kids have been in the Southborough School District starting in Pre-K. Collaborating with the school district in multiple roles over the years has become my passion; from volunteering for SOS at each of our three elementary schools, being a room parent for the last 5 years, to my positions in leading the NSPAC Board and Neary School Council. My diverse personal experience, ongoing school involvement, and professional experience would allow me to serve all families in our community as a Southborough School Committee member. I have seen how important it is to have a strong connection and feedback loop between the Southborough community, the School Committee, and District Administration. Having collaborated with district staff over the years, I believe that I can contribute a unique perspective on curriculum, programming, and extracurriculars within our district.
Over the past 8 years of living in Southborough, I have volunteered in our district schools in numerous capacities including:
- Serving on Neary School Council and Superintendent Advisory Committee
- Attending the majority of Southborough School Committee meetings in person this year to get an understanding for how these meetings run, operate, and the district issues as hand.
- Volunteering in many capacities for the Southborough Organization of Schools (SOS) including room parent for the past 5 years, organizing and volunteering for numerous events including Special Person Dances, Book Fairs, Woodward Extravaganza, Neary Yearbook, and serving a SOS Website Master for 2 years and helped to redesign the look and feel of this website.
- During COVID, volunteering with the district to create a Parent Resource Center with a list of Community Resources and a POD Directory.
However, the work that I am most proud of is with the NSPAC (Northborough, Southborough Parent Advisory Council). During my time on NSPAC, I have worked to:
- Increase the depth and reach of our organization’s message and goals
- Establish a marketing and email platform that NSPAC is now using for all communication including monthly newsletters, event promotion, event registration, and other operational items
- Organize and produce the Go the Distance Awards for the past 2 years. For those of you not familiar with Go the Distance Night, NSPAC hosts an annual event to honor those in our community who have had an outsized impact on a student with a disability. 98% of our nominees are teachers and other specialists within our district and this event is attended by over 100 people including many district administration, principals, but most importantly, the teachers and staff in our district who are being recognized. This is a feel-good night, shining a light on those making a difference in our children’s lives!
- Bring innovative, experienced, and thought-provoking speakers to our community through the NSPAC Speaker Series on topics related to Autism, Executive Function, Learning Disorders, Disability Estate Planning, IEP Process, Transition Planning, etc. This year, with our focus on Peer Acceptance and Inclusion; we are bringing programming related to this topic along with speakers who will talk to our community about ADHD, Collaborative Problem Solving, and Anxiety.
- Work closely with district administration providing insight and feedback on Special Education programming, curriculum, and bring a parent’s point of view to the challenges faced by families in the community related to SPED programming in our district.
- Open better lines of communication between NSPAC and members of the School Committee, establishing a monthly email newsletter with topics of import for NSPAC and the disability community.
Some of my Community-Based volunteer works have included:
- Volunteer in different capacities with our Cub Scout Troop
- Volunteer for events at Fay School
- Volunteer for daughter’s Girl Scout Troop as Treasurer
- Volunteer at Sage House Residential Family Treatment Program in Framingham
My professional background is in corporate IT Program and Platform Management where for 17 years, I was responsible for executing complex global programs. In my corporate career, I was responsible for communications across all levels of management, fostering a spirit of collaboration in working across departments and management levels, managing projects and programs of all sizes with large teams of varying backgrounds and roles, and a penchant for out of the box thinking and problem solving. I’ve held senior management positions at Dell/EMC, Virtustream, Staples, and Travelers Insurance Company.
As a candidate for school committee, my mission is to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for success in their future endeavors. I am committed to promoting equity and inclusion in our schools, providing opportunities for all students to thrive regardless of their background or circumstance. I believe in collaborating with educators, parents, and community members to create policies that prioritize student achievement, teacher professional development, and school safety. I will advocate for increased attention to our children’s social and emotional health, well-being, and curriculum. I will work to ensure that our schools have access to the latest technology and resources to enhance learning and engage students. I am dedicated to creating an environment where innovation and creativity are encouraged, and students are empowered to think critically and solve problems.
As a school committee candidate, I believe that community engagement is crucial for ensuring that our schools are meeting the needs of all students. If elected, I will work tirelessly to engage with parents, educators, and community members to gain their perspectives on important issues facing our schools; giving our community the true transparency it deserves. To achieve this, I will hold regular office hours where members of the community can voice their concerns and ideas. I will also create opportunities for parents and community members to be involved in decision-making processes, through various feedback mechanisms.
I believe data-driven decision making should be a cornerstone component of our decision-making process and the creation of KPI’s to retroactively analyze the success of school policies and programming holding School Committee and District accountable for decisions being made. Lastly, I believe in sound fiscal responsibility so that we can provide students with the resources and support they need to uphold our school district’s exceptional reputation and give them the tools they need to continue to excel.
I left my corporate career in 2017 when the time constraints of managing my daughter’s care, therapies, education, and services for her disabilities became too heavy to manage alongside my professional career. I feel so fortunate that our family was able to accommodate that and is allowing me to turn my pursuits toward the community volunteer work and advocacy for equity and inclusion that I am so passionate about. My extensive professional and personal experience, communication skills, long-term commitment to volunteering in multiple capacities, and passion for working within our school system qualify me to serve all families in our community as a Southborough School Committee member.
I will be guided by three tenets in my school committee work: Inclusion for all children, Transparency in decision making, and Accountability for follow up, follow through, and communication to the residents of Southborough for decision making by the School Committee and District Administration. I truly believe that each member of school committee brings a unique and valuable perspective bearing on the questions before the committee. I would be honored to be considered for one of the open Southborough School Committee positions. You can learn more about me and my positions at www.johannaforschoolcommittee.org. and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089759481308. Liking this page will deliver updates on my campaign.
Over the coming weeks, I look forward to earning your trust and hopefully your vote on May 9th at the ballot box. I thank you for your consideration. If you would like to chat with me about topics on your mind, please don’t’ hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
14 Thayer Lane