I was not raised in a community-active family. My folks are immigrants from Quebec and both learning the English language during my youth as I grew up in Connecticut, we were not a community involved family.
When I grew up, moved to Keene, NH and decided to raise a family, I began to see that the community issues most affecting me were issues that I could very easily get intimately involved with on the local level. I began to get involved in my community to make a difference, and because I could see that my voice was going to be heard.
The community I live in was interested in researching the feasibility of withdrawing from a cooperative school district. Our children being of school age would be impacted if our town were to withdraw. The out come could be very positive, which is what I decided my focus would be.
After one year studying the feasibility of the town of Sullivan withdrawing from Monadnock Regional School District, our feasibility study presented to the select board of Sullivan it's findings and recommendations, to withdraw from the cooperative school district would allow our town to elect where we wanted to send our students, our town members could vote with direct impact on the budget items presented to them by the school board where before we had less than 1/2% of a vote, and our students would have a shorter commute to/from school each day- allowing them more time and opportunities to be involved in after school activities and to meet with teachers to make up work.
Our town was interested in these results and voted in strong support of the withdrawal. We would have to form our own school district (Sullivan School District), and we would manage our own business (SAU 96). We needed a majority vote from the total votes of all other towns involved in the cooperative district.
The votes passed, not by much but Sullivan was allowed to leave the Monadnock School District and start it's own district. Alas we could select a new elementary school option for our children in town (Nelson Elementary School) and the older grades would then attend Keene Middle School and Keene High School.
What success it has been, as we are now in our 3rd year as an independent school district. Being involved in such a huge change for our community, and continuing to be involved as chair of the school board has been very rewarding. I've met great, pro education folks and the community support we continue to receive has been positive. Most importantly, the children all love their new schools and are thriving every day!!
REALTOR for 15 years
Monadnock Region, NH
Stephanie Jacques Kleine
BHG The Masiello Group