Gaffen Announces Candidacy for Reading School Committee

Reading resident, Erin Gaffen, has announced her candidacy for a three-year term on the School Committee. Erin declared her intention to run as she submitted the required signatures to the Reading Town Clerk’s office, “I am a former special educator and administrator, an active volunteer in our community, and a mom of three Reading school children. I am committed to putting the students of Reading first and ensuring that they all have the opportunity for a great education.”

As to what motivates her candidacy this year, Erin says, “Along with my husband, Eric, I am raising three wonderful boys here in Reading: Owen (13), Josh (11), and Zach (7). Next fall, I will have a child at Joshua Eaton Elementary, another at Parker Middle School, and my oldest at Reading Memorial High School. I am eager to listen to and learn from others, and to work together to see our schools thrive. I want to bring my experience, passion, collaborative nature, and proven leadership to serve on the School Committee.”

Gaffen went on to say, “Education has always been a focus of my world. Growing up, I had the benefit of strong public schools. I earned a BA from Wesleyan University as well as a 5th year MA in Psychology. My first job was as a Teaching Assistant at a residential school for adolescent girls with emotional and behavioral disabilities. I was soon promoted to a teaching position while I pursued my master’s in special education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. After several years of teaching, I was again promoted to Assistant Principal, in which I focused on teacher training and development, curriculum oversight, IEP writing, and leading team meetings.”

For the past 10+ years Erin shifted from her career in education to active volunteerism and community involvement.  Her volunteer work in Reading has included joining the pre-school board, serving for three years on the board of Connect the Tots including one year as President, serving for four years in the Women’s League of Reading including two years as President, serving multiple terms on the PTO Board at Joshua Eaton, serving on the School Councils of Joshua Eaton and Parker, and teaching religious education at her church. Erin shares that, “Each of these experiences has brought me a deeper connection to my community and a broader understanding of our community needs.”

Erin explains that her advocacy work for the Reading schools began back in 2014. She was part of a group of parents who conducted a letter-writing campaign to Town Meeting Members to advocate for modular classrooms at three elementary schools. In 2016, when the town and school system were facing significant cuts, Erin joined the board of the first “Yes for Reading” campaign to work for the passage of an override. When the financial issues in town worsened, Erin stepped up with her friend and campaign chair, Michele Sanphy, to coordinate the second “Yes for Reading.” They helped to build a team of over 100 volunteers and pass a successful operational override for schools and town services. Gaffen concludes, “I am most proud that throughout our campaign we collaborated with and united different stakeholders in the community – parents, teachers, town and school administrators, elected officials, public safety employees, young couples, and seniors. Since then, I have continued to remain involved as both a Budget Parent and Town Meeting Member because I believe in financial efficiency. I would consider it a privilege to earn your vote on Tuesday March 3rd, 2020.”

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