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: “Why Are You Running For Newport School Committee?”.

Why Are You Running For Newport School Committee?

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

Rebecca Bolan

I am running for reelection because I believe their is still work to be done. We are about to approve a strategic Plan which I have helped work on for the last year. I feel a great sense of ownership.I want to be part of the implementation. Their are many exciting initiatives that have the potential to address our issues here in Newport. I want to be part of the team that keeps the plan on track. I want to be able to advocate for the resources that are needed to get our district on track to greatness!

David Carlin

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

Sandra Flowers

I am running for re-election so that I may continue to serve the people of Newport—the children in particular—as a voice of reason. As an educator and volunteer, I am very aware of the daily challenges borne students, teachers, parents, and administrators. As a Newport property owner and as an astute observer, I am also aware of the social and economic challenges experienced by local taxpayers, as well as the neediest in the community. As a School Committee member, I am committed to assuring high ethical standards as a basis for the committee’s decisions. I amdedicated to studying all sides of issues before voting. I will continue to work diligently and professionally to ensure that all our students enter adulthood well prepared to be contributing citizens.

Jo Eva Gaines

There is a singular purpose in my running for school committee: To work to provide the best educational opportunities for the children of Newport that the citizens of Newport can reasonably afford. I believe I can contribute to the efforts we are making to improve student success in Newport Public Schools

Raymond Gomes

I am running for school committee because I believe the School Committee has lost focus of the fact that their decisions should be based on and in support of what is best for our children and their education. I’ve come to this conclusion as my five children have made their way through the Newport Public schools over the past twenty years. Over these years I have served in every capacity from parent teacher organizations, school improvement teams, teacher interview panels, school committee sub committees and advisory groups, and the Rogers High School Booster’s. I believe that those experiences and my open collaborative approach to addressing issues would be a plus on the school committee as they work to improve our schools and prepare our children for the road ahead.

David Hanos Jr.

I am running for school committee to help build a team of folks who can raise the bar for our public school system. I have a strong commitment to community service and this is a great way to serve the public while making improvements for our kids.

Adrienne Haylor

I am running for School Committee as I see the necessity for the committee to function as a whole board; to be more effective in the delivery of education to the students of the Newport Public School, through strong leadership, policy development and challenging curriculum… I have faithfully attended committee meetings, to educate myself on the mechanism of the organization, observing several times over that the “present committee” does not function to its full capacity, obstructing opportunities presented, and taking away from the process that benefits the students and their educational success. A lot of rhetoric and wasted time which affects the outcomes of our students, I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Jennifer Jackson

I am running for school committee because I feel there needs to be a new, strong voice for the children, staff, parents, and community. We are heading in the wrong direction and need to think outside the box or our children will suffer.

Henry Kniskern

My motivation for being part of the school committee is to apply my business and college teaching experience to support the implementation of the Newport School’s Strategic Plan and its goals.

Robert Leary

I am asking the voters to support me ,because I’ve been in education all my life. I was born and raised in Newport and have sent my six children to Newport public schools. I taught school for 35 years and upon retirement being on a school board is the right fit for me. Its been pleasure and privilege to serve on the school board. My record speaks for itself as an advocate for both the students and the taxpayers. I  look at being on the school committee that you have a three legged stool of responsibility. you have the parent and student, the tax payer, and the unions. you better believe its a balancing act. If you don’t think the unions are not part of that equation your wrong , 87% of the budget is staffing related cost. The responsibility to the taxpayer who support the schools with $26,000,000 of the city budget is something you cannot ignore.

Thomas Phelan

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

Kathleen Silvia

I am running for School Committee because of my devotion to the City and the families and children of Newport.  Our students are our greatest asset and we must  do all we can to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed in life.  During my 36 years of employment with the City, I felt that the Schools were getting short-changed.  Insufficient funding was provided to ensure that teachers, programs and equipment needed were sufficient to meet the needs of every student.  Upon retirement, I wanted to do something meaningful and decided that serving on the School Committee would allow me to work towards ensuring that we provide our children with the best education possible.

Fortunately, we have seen a turn-around in the last two years. The Council and School Committee have worked together in recognizing the needs of the Schools and additional financial support has been provided. Additionally, the City and Schools have implanted “shared services” which provides benefits and cost-savings to our government. We have an excellent Superintendent, school administrators and teachers. I truly believe that an investment in our students and schools is an investment in the future well-being of the City. A good school system goes hand and hand with economic development.  When families move into a community, one of the first things they look at is the school system before deciding where to reside.

I would like to continue serving on the School Committee because, although much has been accomplished in the past two years, there is so much more to do.  If reelected, I will continue devoting my time and energy towards seeing the Newport School System become the best in the State of Rhode Island.

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

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).