Barbara Cray running for SVRSU board

Thu, 05/18/2023 - 8:45am


    Occupation: Attorney, mediator, filmmaker

    Education: B.A. Wellesley College, J.D. Hastings College of the Law

    Political History (Board, Committees, other): In that the school board position is not a political position, I feel that I should not provide political history at this time.

    Clubs/Organizations: I do volunteer work for Restorative Justice Project of Maine as a facilitator and serve on the steering committee for the Restorative Justice Maine/Lincoln County Community Hub Project; I am a volunteer with the Maine Women’s Lobby and League of Women Voters of Maine; I have served on the Westport Community Association board; I am a graduate of Emerge Maine; I am a member of the Maine Film Association and have competed in various film competitions; I have filmed, written, produced and directed various film projects that appear on public broadcasting stations; I am a member of Tapestry Singers of Newcastle; I am a mediator through the CADRES program for the district court in Wiscasset (Lincoln County); I have served on school committees and was head of the P.T.A. for my son’s school district.

    Considering the office you are running for, what do you feel are the three most pressing issues (350 words or less): Westport Island is a school choice town. It is important to ensure that the town’s students have the best educational experiences possible, and that their needs are met such that their school years are satisfying and successful, allowing them to reach for the goals they choose. This involves prioritizing school choice and enabling, within state requirements, students and parents to learn of and select the school that will most likely meet the needs of the child. Each student is unique; their learning styles and capacities can be better accommodated in different settings, and finding that best setting is to the advantage of all in the community of learning. The best educational experience also involves bringing innovative programs to the schools to enable learning and personal development. There programs can be academic, involve social and emotional learning, and bring creativity through art and music. In my work with my son’s school district, I brought two anti-bullying programs to the school district that were successfully implemented. I am highly trained in restorative justice, and these programs can bring community based resources to resolve and prevent conflict. And as a creative person, I cannot discount the value to education and student growth of art, music and other creative programs. Earnest, open and respectful communication between students, teachers, parents and administrators is essential to building the bridges that connect these parts of the educational community. In my work with my school district I created programs to increase positive communication between parents, teachers and administrators. And I brought in programs to involve the greater community in supporting the schools and students. The educational community that works to educate our students is dependent on property tax payments made by part of the broader community consisting of homeowners who pay property taxes.  I am a homeowner on Westport Island. And with my work experience in finance, I understand the economic factors that go into educating our children, and the importance of balancing the needs of our students and parents with the concerns of homeowners, and to be transparent in the process.

    Any other thoughts on why you are running or what you can bring to the office? (150 words or less): I have a lifelong interest and commitment to the well-being and education of students. I am the mother of an adult son, and during his school years I was actively involved in the school system, volunteering in many capacities. As an attorney and mediator, I have the financial experience, research and writing ability, and communication skills, to participate with strength, empathy and understanding as an effective voice on the school board. In my volunteer work in restorative justice, I have worked successfully with kids, their families, and persons in the community, including school communities. I believe that I have the experience, training, knowledge, passion, and creativity to ably serve Westport Island on the school board.