Emily Murphy Kaur, Brattleboro Town School Board

BRATTLEBORO — I ask your support in my campaign for a one-year term on the Brattleboro School Board. With the merger remaining unconfirmed, we sit at the crossroads of an uncertain future, of which my background in teaching, district level policymaking, and grant writing can be uniquely utilized to advocate in support of our community.

Having started my career as a public school teacher of students with significant disabilities, I've had a lot of experience working with teachers, school directors, and superintendents, and in building communities that are inclusive and safe places for all students to grow and learn.

At the district level, I worked to ensure that teachers and the community have a voice in the broader decision-making process. To transition into this new role, I went to Teachers College, where I became well-versed in conducting research studies, analyzing statistical trends, and engaging in strategic planning. I then pivoted my career to focus on policymaking and research.

Since then, my education work has centered on helping school districts build collaborative cultures that effectively integrate educators and community members into the policy-making process. Having worked with more than one-third of the districts in Massachusetts, as well as three of largest cities in New England - Boston, Providence, and Springfield - to facilitate better governance, I was commissioned to write a book, Improving Education Together, illustrating how a culture of collaborative policymaking can be built and used to improve student outcomes.

Now, as a 33-year-old community stakeholder in Brattleboro, where I own a small business - I wish to be directly involved in local policymaking. Brattleboro will either be rethinking its strategy as a town school district or merging with the surrounding towns to form a unified district. I'm ready to advocate for the community in an official capacity, ensuring that students and families have an authentic way of having their voices heard and integrated into the decision-making process in 2019 and beyond.

Today, we stand with two clear areas in need of more discussion: equity, and the challenges associated with our decreasing student population.

Conversations around how best to attract young families to the area are integral if we want to reverse long-term trends. Working with regional partners on a plan to showcase our diversity, community, and wonderful school system, while at the same time building economic and social supports, is key.

Families in town are experiencing more and more economic insecurity, resulting in students who increasingly need support outside of traditional academics. If elected, I will advocate grant making and collaboration, great ways to diversify services within tightening budgets.

With a strong curiosity to challenge the status quo in support of innovation, a collaborative spirit that helps to get things done, and a keen ability to work with uncertain circumstances towards success, I'm seeking your support at this pivotal point in our school district's evolution.

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