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Candidate Profile: Christine Chesbrough

The Carnation’s candidate Q&A series continues with the third resident running for School Committee. See other profiles as well as letters from and about candidates here.

All candidates running in Tewksbury were invited to respond, and we appreciate those who took the time to help the Carnation inform voters.

Name: Christine Chesbrough Seat sought: School Committee

1: Why do you want to serve on the School Committee?

I want to serve on the school committee because I feel I can make a difference. I want our children to have the best education possible. I want to find a way to keep our teachers. I want to make sure every child is safe and feels safe in school.  Our community is divided over school issues. I want to find a way to bring us all together.

2. Give us a brief bio: Where you grew up, family, interests.

I grew up in Andover on the Tewksbury line. I have lived in Tewksbury with my husband for 26 years. We have 2 children. Our daughter is a junior at a top business school in the US which we feel was the result of her great education in Tewksbury. Our son attends Tewksbury Memorial High School. I like to read, do crafts, and photography. I also love Halloween and spend a lot of my time working on my outdoor decorating. 

3. What is your education?

I graduated from Andover High School and attended Northern Essex Community College. I was an early childhood teacher before I transitioned to my current role. I participate in continuing education through my employer regarding state and federal policies and procedures for our industry. 

4. What is your “day job,” and how do your past or current professional experiences prepare you for service on the School Committee? 

I have worked for a major insurance company as a claims analyst in the payment, integrity, banking & appeals department. I have been with the company for 32 years. I save consumers and companies millions of dollars per year. I work with people all around the globe. I work from home and have some flexibility to attend meetings or events that are required of a school committee member. 

5. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish in the next three years? What is your platform? (feel free to include a link to your website or Facebook page)

I look forward to learning more about the Tewksbury Public Schools and understanding the needs of all. As a parent I have had the benefit of the student side but as a businessperson I look forward to digging into the budget. I hope to work with the administration but be a strong voice for the community. I hope we can all work together as a community and strive for excellence for our children. 

My website is www.christine4sc.com

6. How do you define your budget priorities if tough decisions have to be made? 

You have to access the data and take the consideration of all public comments. Decisions need to be for the benefit of the most people possible at any given time. We also need to be creative and find ways to stop wasteful spending.

7. Describe an activity, group or committee you’ve been involved with in town and what you accomplished as part of that team. 

 I was involved in Girl Scouts for 13 years. I was on the Baldwin Girl Scouts Service Team which met in preparation of the service unit meetings for all leaders of Girl Scout Troops in Tewksbury and Wilmington. I was a cookie booth coordinator where I scheduled booth sales, held trainings, provided information, shared ideas and answered questions to assist leaders and cookie moms with their booth sales. I was also a troop leader for 13 years, taking my daughter from Daisies to Ambassador Girl Scouts. I planned and ran events such as Halloween Dances, Bingo, Roller Skating, Ice Skating, First Aid, Holidays Around the World, Christmas Ornament Decorating, and Cupcake Wars. With my leadership skills, I was able to teach my troop to run and plan some of these events on their own. I also volunteered at other organizers’ events and helped plan them, such as Scavenger Hunt, Cupcake Decorating, Scrapbooking, Girl Scout Sunday, Candy & Nut sorting and the Leader Appreciation Dinner. I participated in many town events such as Harvest Festival, National Night Out, Safe Trick or Treat, 911 Ceremony, and the Memorial Day Parades. 

8. We know that Covid will be an ongoing challenge. What are three additional, non-Covid-related issues you see in our schools, and how will you address them? 

The three additional non-Covid-related issues I see in our schools are communication, safety, and trust & respect.

  • I will listen to all ideas to make positive changes
  • I will examine the policies and update them to reflect fairness and equality
  • I will work as a community team player 
  • I will be respectful to all
  • I will demonstrate honesty, fairness and ensure transparency
  • I will encourage others to advocate their needs and the needs of their child/the student in a respectful way.

9. What are your thoughts on how contract negotiations have played out in Tewksbury? Are you in favor of making future negotiations open and transparent from the outset, or do you prefer a confidential process?

There should be transparency and negotiations should not be done behind closed doors.  All factors need to be considered. 

10. In regard to Covid, what is your response to parents who want Tewksbury to defy DESE/State mandates on masking. How would that play out, and are you open to spending School Department funds on an attorney to defend your position?

I do not think it would be fair of me to make a decision without seeing all the facts.  I would take the advice of DESE due to fines that would cost the district money. We need to take into consideration all those that would be affected. Our schools need to be safe for everyone.

11. A bill to ban Native American mascots across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently in committee. Should this bill be signed into law, will you commit to complying in a timely manner? Why or why not?  

If the bill is passed by law then we would have to comply in a timely manner to avoid violations.

When I grew up in Andover we had a Warrior Indian for our mascot. To my class it represented the power of a warrior. However, times have changed and it makes sense to examine the issue and involve the students in naming a new mascot for the schools. Tewksbury is one of the last districts to address this issue in Massachusetts, so we should look at how other towns and regional districts have approached this.

12. What experiences, education and personal qualities would you prioritize in our new  Superintendent?

The new superintendent would need some kind of education working with children. I think they should have the understanding and the right and wrong way of supporting and de-escalating situations. They need to be able to work with everyone. He or she should be adverse in multiple situations and have very good communication.  

13. What would you say to residents to encourage them to vote for you?

 I am a hard worker and always get the job done. I am very organized and always willing to listen to others.  I have volunteered in many areas of our town. I am a leader. I have led many groups and have lots of leadership experience. I have experience bringing people together. 

Donna Gill covers Senior Center and COA news for the Carnation.

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