The final four candidates vying to fill a vacancy on the School Committee were interviewed by City Councilors on Thursday night.

The vacancy on the School Committee came when Kathleen Silvia resigned her seat effective January 27th, 2020.

In all a total of eight candidates submitted application to serve out the remainder of Silvia’s term. City Council decided to split up candidates into two sessions, with four candidates being interviewed on Wednesday night and four on Thursday night.

The four candidates interviews on Thursday night were Robert Power, Ed.D., Michael Cullen, Elizabeth Murphy, and Stephanie Winslow.

Each candidate was interviewed for twenty minutes and was allowed to share an opening and closing statement. Some of the questions that candidates were asked included;

  • Why do you want to be a school committee member?
  • Why do you think that you’re qualified to be on the school committee?
  • What is your vision for Newport Public schools?
  • How would you ensure all students get the best education possible?
  • How can the schools improve the literacy level of all students?
  • Major responsibility is the budget. How can you assure our taxpayer funds go the furthest, that our money is spent wisely?
  • Do you think the school committee does a good job of communicating and informing residents about the cost of school?
  • What do you think the schools can do to improve graduation rates?
  • What steps can the schools take to get our students ready for the future?
  • What steps can the schools take to get our students ready for the future?
  • What do you see the challenges/ issues are within our schools?

What’s Up Newp plans to provide a recap of the candidates interviews and their answers soon.

The four candidates interviewed on Wednesday night were James Dring, David Sklarz, Ed.D, David Vieira, and Jennifer Jackson.

At the end of Thursday’s interview session, a conversation among City Council indicated that they’d likely discuss all of the candidates in a future executive session. The City Council’s vote to appoint one of the applicants will be held in open session at a future meeting.

Whomever is appointed to fill the vacancy will serve only until a person is elected and qualified at the next municipal election, scheduled to take place on November 3rd.

According to the City Charter, City Councilors are charged with filling, “any vacancy arising from death , resignation or any reason in the membership of the School Committee within thirty (30) days after learning of the vacancy or a soon thereafter as may be possible by a majority vote of all members of the Council; provided, however, the Council shall provide for the public solicitation of applicants.”

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).