We are truly in unique times. We are being faced with many challenges. Some, such as COVID, are new; while others, such as continued enrollment declines in our public schools remain an issue because they have not been properly addressed. Change is needed in South Kingstown.
My name is Paula Bradley and I am an Independent candidate running for a seat on the South Kingstown School Committee. South Kingstown has been my home for the last 22 years. I also attended the University of Rhode Island where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing. I have two teenage boys who have attended South Kingstown public schools since kindergarten; Landon is currently in 10th grade and Talan is in 8th grade. Over the years, I have enjoyed being an active volunteer at my children’s schools, within our community, and supporting the town’s youth soccer program. Having married a post-collegiate soccer player, sport has become a way of life for our family.
While my professional experience is not in education, I believe my experience in the private sector brings a fresh, needed perspective to the table. I’ve spent the last eight years working for a South Kingstown based, family-owned executive search firm. My role as Research Director allows me to mentor and empower the research team, in addition to client management and search execution. I am in the business of building strong long-term relationships. Working for a small local business has had so many rewards. It has taught me the importance of acting like an owner, where every decision I make affects the top and the bottom line. Prior to my current role, I worked in product development and marketing for blue-chip retailers including Swarovski and Nine West Group.
I am running for school committee because I see opportunities for positive improvement. For me, it’s about investing my energy to make a commitment for positive change. My focus is on three pillars:Student-Centered, Transparency & Fiscal Responsibility
Student-Centered: While decisions should be made with the best interests of the entire community in mind, our focus should always be centered on the students. Not all students follow the same path in life. Public education should offer opportunities to support both college-prep and vocational paths. South Kingstown schools should provide a challenging education to encourage the development of critical thinking, civic participation, and life skills regardless of a student’s chosen pathway.
Transparency: Over-communication should be our goal. There is a strong, unmet need for increased transparency and greater communication being voiced by parents, students, teachers, and community members. Productive conversations require leaders that actively listen to understand. Progress towards community-supported goals requires transparent decision making that involves stakeholders from all segments of the community.
Fiscal Responsibility: We are at a critical juncture, planning for major school facility improvements that will change the way education is delivered and possibly change the infrastructure of our town. The concept of “fiscal responsibility” needs to be embraced. It is essential to creating a better future for our community. We need to be proactive in our financial planning. The long-term, strategic vision for our schools should not only deliver educational excellence but also allow for operational efficiencies.
How do we achieve improvements to these three pillars? We start with strong leaders that are focused on the right objectives. We lean in to the community to repair and rebuild the trust that has been broken and help to unify our town. We own our impact and take responsibility for our actions and our decisions. We are fearless truth-tellers who hold our fellow leaders accountable.
I believe positive change will take leaders who are open-minded, respect differing opinions, are thoughtful and intentional and have the courage to make difficult, and sometimes unpopular decisions. If elected to the South Kingstown School Committee, my focus will be to do what is in the best interest of the students, the district, and the community.
I humbly ask for your vote for the South Kingstown School Committee on November 3, 2020. Thank you!
Paula L Bradley