Erin Gaffen Re-Election to School Committee Statement

The following candidacy statement is for the local Reading Election of April 4, 2023

I am seeking re-election to a 3-year seat on the School Committee. In 2020, I ran based on my background in education, proven dedication, and leadership skills. As a former special educator and administrator, I bring a unique perspective to the committee. I remain committed to Reading in my various roles as a volunteer, parent of three sons (ages 10, 14, and 16), and Realtor who helps people within our community. Having children in three different levels of Reading Public Schools has provided me with valuable insight and a strong connection with other parents, and this informs my input and feedback as a SC member. I take pride in representing our schools as a leader and collaborator, working together with the committee towards what is best for our students. 

Over the past three years, our schools have made significant progress in areas such as programming, staffing, and curriculum despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. I am proud of the work that the SC and the administration have accomplished together. A few of the most significant programmatic changes that I was pleased to support include expansion of METCO program with 40 more students and six new METCO Coordinators/School Adjustment Counselors, hiring of more counselors to address social/emotional needs, adding a Director of Academic Achievement and an Academic Support Center at RMHS, and reducing tuition for full-day kindergarten as we move toward making it free for all. In 2021, I was a member of the screening committee for a new Superintendent that helped name Dr. Milaschewki a finalist, and at every step I saw that he is an exemplary leader, collaborator, and communicator. 

A few of the impactful curriculum changes that I voted for were Illustrative Math in grades K-6, ARC Core reading curriculum in grades 3-5 this year, with K-2 planned for next year, and Innovation Pathways and Dual Enrollment options at RMHS.

While we have made many improvements, there is still much work to do. Over the next few years, the SC will likely face a new Killam Elementary School building, the elimination of full-day kindergarten tuition, continued focus on increasing rigor at all levels, and ongoing efforts toward ensuring our schools are equitable and offer a sense of belonging for every student. I am optimistic about the conversations and ideas being explored for the future. 

Whether you are voting early starting March 27th, or heading to the polls on April 4th, I hope you will please vote for me for a second 3-year term on the School Committee. 

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