Micaela Demeter: Candidate for School Board, Ward 4
I’m pleased to announce my candidacy for the Dover School Board in Ward 4. A community is only as strong as its citizens, and schools are the gateway to success for our youngest generation. For the past 14 years, I have been a homeowner, business owner, public school parent and volunteer in our growing city. My family and I have established deep roots in this community we love. I am an active member of my church, and I served for two years as the Secretary of the Garrison Elementary School PTA. I also support at-risk youth as an Educational Surrogate through the state’s Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) agency. Whenever possible, I use my skills and time to invest in our students and their educational success, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to serve Dover in this new role.
School Board members make crucial decisions requiring research and a thorough understanding of how things are currently working (or not working) in the schools. Dover community members deserve to be confident in the decision-makers they have elected, but at times, residents feel their voices are not heard. As a School Board member, I will make wise choices with currently available facts, considering others’ viewpoints and staying flexible when new information calls for reconsideration. Residents should be able to trust their elected leaders to be responsible stewards of city funds, as the school budget affects us all. As a homeowner, business owner and taxpayer, I understand the need for prudent fiscal balance. I believe a well-informed perspective leads to thoughtful decision-making, which is critical for the Dover school district to meet the unique needs of its more than 4,200 learners.
Remote learning taught us the true value of in person schooling. Masks, vaccinations and social distancing offer us a fact-based, data-driven pathway to keeping our students learning safely in the building this year. The School Board and all district employees have done an impressive job working flexibly to adapt to each pandemic hurdle and follow the science. Universal masking has resulted in low COVID cases and a stable school experience thus far - let’s keep it that way!
I am not alone in believing the social-emotional and mental health of our students must be nurtured proactively, using existing resources to provide a web of support where everyone in our community contributes. I support policy and funding that prioritizes effective help for students in crisis. Our students desperately need and deserve this level of care during a time when mental health needs are so prevalent. In my employment at the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Head Start public health programs, I supported families who experienced food or housing insecurity. My position on the School Board will allow me to work closely with City Council members to recognize and address these common barriers to learning.
My two children have received a Dover public education for the past 6 years. As the parent of a student in the special education department, I understand the complexities of working with the school to design education solutions that empower and support unique learners. My current enrollment in the NH Leadership Series through UNH’s Institute on Disability will equip me to be an even stronger disability advocate for Dover’s special-needs students. I am so impressed with Bellamy Academy and the elementary-level Constellations programs that offer a pathway to success for differently abled learners. This type of innovation sets our city’s schools apart and deserves to be recognized and supported.
My time spent building relationships with teachers and administrators has given me a window into their classroom successes and challenges. Teachers are the backbone of a successful education experience. When faculty are supported, respected and heard, our students have the best opportunity to receive a high-quality education. I will work to ensure our district prioritizes hiring and retaining qualified educators who are committed to giving their best to our students. Board members must work together harmoniously to enhance and enrich the classroom experience, for this is where education happens.
As a parent and experienced education advocate, I want to talk about how we fund, support and staff our schools. Prioritizing and funding education requires a balanced, well-researched, collaborative approach. I am dedicated and willing to put in the work to help Dover’s schools thrive both now and in the long run. I hope my history of educational advocacy, commitment and knowledge earns your vote this November 2. For more information, I welcome emails at firstname.lastname@example.org or visitors to my Facebook page: facebook.com/MicaelaforSchoolBoard.