To Kim Sousa, perception is everything. And how the School Committee is perceived can be improved by better transparency, she said.
"To me, I don't think that enough of our town's parents actually know enough about what the School Committee does," she said. "I'd like to communicate more on a regular basis with the public through many different avenues - the paper, websites, or whatever."
She said that more visits by the School Committee to its schools would help with communication, as well.
"Communication is key, and I don't think we do enough of it," she said. "And that includes, also, the stuff like the transitions at the high school."
Sousa said she chose to run for the three year School Committee seat to become more involved. She said she first became very interested in the committee after the teacher's contract negotiations a few years ago. She feels that her experience could provide the board with a unique perspective.
"Some of my skills could add value to some of the challenges facing the schools," she said.
While she said that she has had a wonderful experience with the schools, her only concern is with the high school, saying she's interested in "getting a little bit more involved and clear with what's going on there."
On Full-Day Kindergarten: "I can't come out and say it's something that'd be on my agenda to change. For me, it doesn't make sense. Do I think it should be looked at? Yes - but paying for full-day kindergarten isn't a revenue generator for us. The money that's spent on full-day kindergarten runs the program for us. It's a matter of looking at the budget, and determining if this is something important enough in the community. If so, we would need to allocate the sustainability of that, and it'd have to come out of somewhere else."
On Special Education Department: "It's an area that I want to dive into more, but when you read the report, I think that a lot of it came down to communication. That's where we had the most of our partially implemented tags. A lot of it was in documentation and following up with parents, and parent notification. Clearly, with the citations, we need to make things tighter. That's what I'd focus on. For me, the report was an opportunity to see where we needed to improve."
Name: Kim Sousa
Address: 4 Montclair Ave., Andover
Running for: Three-year School Committee seat
Children: Farrah, 11; Taylor, 8
Marital Status: Husband Jay
Profession: Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Sanborn, Head & Associates, a leading environmental and geotechnical design engineering firm
Past political/community involvement: High Plain Elementary PTO; Andover Housing Board of Trustees; The Andona Society of Andover.