When Newport voters go the polls on November 8th, they will see that they have the option to choose seven out of twelve candidates (and the option to write-in their own candidate) to fill the seven At-Large seats on the Newport School Committee.

Adrienne Haylor, Ray Gomes, Jennifer Jackson, Henry Kniskern and Thomas Phelan are running against current Newport School Committee Members – Rebecca Bolan, David Carlin, Sandra Flowers, Jo Eva Gaines, David Hanos Jr.,  Robert Leary and Kathleen Silvia. All seats are for two-year terms.

What’sUpNewp posed several questions to the Newport School Committee Candidates over the last few days.

Below are their responses to the following question: “What sets you apart from other candidates seeking a seat on Newport School Committee?

What sets you apart from other candidates seeking a seat on Newport School Committee?

In order of how they appear on the November 8th ballot.

Rebecca Bolan

As a candidate for the Newport School Committee, I believe I possess unique qualities that set me apart from the others. I am a school teacher who has taught in the states and in two foreign countries . I am able to bring that rich experience to the table. As a military spouse, I understand the unique needs and challenges of the military family. I have and will continue to always advocate on their behalf. As a mother of 6 successful children I have always been actively involved in their education. I volunteer in the classroom , and am active with the Parent Teacher Organizations. I have made it a point to get to know the Newport Public School staff . I understand the our community from many perspectives. I understand the budget and budgeting process. I have helped make huge strides in the area of health and wellness for our students. Most importantly, I am a problem solver I work hard on the School Committee to find workable solutions and compromises that all my colleagues can get on board with.

David Carlin

Has not responded with answers. If this candidate responds, we will update this story.

Sandra Flowers

My career as an educator (30 years in Newport Public Schools plus volunteer and mentor; adjunct instructor at Salve Regina University) has afforded me hands-on experience that supports decisions that I have continued to make in my four terms on the School Committee. Furthermore, my training and capability to make informed decisions are supported by my ability to look at and appreciate all sides of the issues brought before us. I use my interpersonal skills in expressing my opinions respectfully and effectively. My presence and involvement in all regular and special School Committee sessions, as well as participation in well over the required professional development opportunities, give evidence of my commitment. I am energetic and tireless, always available and present at meetings, workshops, and professional development opportunities required of elected School Committee members. I have been told by many observers that I am extremely patient during some of the more lengthy discussions that occur.

Jo Eva Gaines

I have been fortunate to experience school boardsmanship since 1985 at the State and National level, since 2000 locally. I do not see this experience as setting me apart, but rather enhancing the qualities I bring to the committee. I am always willing to share these experiences with fellow committee members when asked, or when deemed appropriate, but not to burden them with what I might think I know. I will continue, as I have for 15 years, to avail myself of every opportunity to represent Newport and the Public Schools respectfully, professionally, and appropriately.

Raymond Gomes

The biggest difference is that I have never served on the school committee and I’m a first-time candidate. I believe that it’s time to explore new ideas/solutions to the issues facing the School Committee. Most of the major issues that have slowed the achievement of our schools are not new. Issues such as low test scores, tardiness and absenteeism and lack of family involvement are not new issues. We need to find new solutions to solve these long-time issues As I said earlier I believe there are goals and initiatives in the Strategic Plan that will help to mitigate these factors. The framework will be in place to enable all to work toward common goals so that all our children achieve.

David Hanos Jr.

What sets me apart from almost all running is that I have an extremely dedicated work ethic and the desire to get things done as quickly as possible . I also come from a background of being on my own from an early age and making my life what it is today with little help . This gives me ,in my opinion, a very different look on things folks rely on and how I can make decisions quickly. All of my life has been making decisions and have brought me to where I am today as a proud father of four and married for 23 years with a home I built and a business I’ve developed which give my family and I a comfort we enjoy and the ability to give back to the community we live in. Please give me the opportunity to continue to work for us on the school committee.

Adrienne Haylor

“My passion for Education and Success for All Students Moving Forward!” Having been raised and educated in Newport, I have a vested interest in the students of the Newport Public Schools receive the “Best” there is to offer them, opportunities academically and vocationally. I have retired from a career in education, having firsthand experience working with at-risk families and students, providing authentic opportunities for literacy and interventions. I have served as a Board member in a school district, 2 years as President. I understand the importance of a functioning board, the challenges, fiscal oversight, adherence to state law. My background also gives me knowledge in our Federal Title Programs, management of Federal and State funding and grants What is at stake here, putting personal agendas aside, always BE in service to the true constituents of the School Committee, the children of Newport. Student Success for all students and Moving Forward! EXPECT SUCCESS!

Jennifer Jackson

Some of the things that set me apart are that I have two children currently in rolled in NPS, I work for the NPS and see first hand how it works, I think outside the box and willing to stand up for what’s right even when nobody else is. I will not make a quick decision without being fully informed. I have no underlined agenda and my true reason for running is to make positive change to better our schools for our children.

Henry Kniskern

My career in business and 13 years of college teaching at the War College and Roger Williams University has given me experience and leadership skills in financial management, strategic planning, implementation of complex projects, and creative problem solving. This experience has also taught me the value of people, teamwork, transparency, trust and collaboration … especially in a complex and rapidly changing environment such as education in Newport.

Robert Leary

My being assessable and being in-touch with pulse of our community. As an active member, not that others are not, of the community as volunteer in high skilled areas. To mention a few that I am involved with, IRS trained, tax preparer who with others do over 2,000 people on Aquidneck Island taxes each year. I volunteer my time to train /certified restaurant servers of alcohol in TIPS program ( Training in Intervention ProcedureS ) and have trained /certified over 1,500 people to date. Now you are saying to yourself lots of people volunteer and that is true, but these above two put me in touch with the pulse of the community’ young to old. Not to mention my accessibility as a parking attendant for years at the former Atlantic Beach Club and presently at St. Spyridon Church parking lot.

Thomas Phelan

Has not responded with answers. IF this candidate responds, we will update this story.

Kathleen Silvia

I have the time, energy, and drive to devote to bettering our schools.  I have served on several sub-committees during my first term of office (Co-chair of the Pre-K sub-committee, School Committee-Council Liaison, Strategic Planning,  Nellie-Mae Community Involvement Initiative, and three contract-negotiating teams). I believe my 36 years of experience working on the municipal side of our local government has been helpful by bringing to the table the knowledge and intricacies of how both municipal and school government can and should work.

More On Newport School Committee Candidates

Newport School Committee Candidates Share Why They’re Running For Office

School Committee Candidates Share What They Believe Is The Most Important Issue Facing School System

What’s Broken and How do we Improve Newport’s Public School System? School Committee Candidates Share Their Ideas

Newport School Committee Candidates Share What They Believe Sets Them Apart From Other Candidates

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.