ARLINGTON – Incumbent school board member Ursula Ghirardo is being challenged by longtime teacher Judy Fay in the Nov. 6 election.
Fay said it’s time for a teacher to be on the board, while Ghirardo said her experience makes her the better candidate.
Following on their responses to the newspaper’s questionnaire.
Arlington School District, Position 3
Name: Ursula Ghirardo
Experience: Eight years Arlington school board; BSE Chemical Engineering, Stanford; Had jobs as a research and technical service engineer, business manager and plant expansion project lead and substitute teacher of geometry and calculus. I bring skills in strategic planning, project management, budgeting, data analysis, problem solving, decision making, communications and team building. A 20-year Arlington resident, I have attended and been a presenter at three National School Board Association Conferences. For the Arlington School District, I have been on the Strategic Planning Committee, Advisory Council for Education, and the Facilities Planning Committee. I also have been Seymour Country Estates HOA president and treasurer. I have been a math teacher in Arlington, and have previous experience in middle and high school music and drama programs.
How do you differ from your opponent? In Arlington we have a four pronged approach to educating, preparing and inspiring each student to attain graduation and future success. We focus strategically on “Student Learning & Achievement”, a “Safe and Caring Environment”, “Resource Stewardship”, and “Parent and Community Partnerships”. These four goals guide our work and serve as a filter for the many complex decisions made daily at every level. As a board director I seek to make decisions that are in the best interest of the entire school district and the community. This entails carefully considering our district-wide goals and the public funds made available to us to maximize the efficacy of our academic programs, human resources, facilities and assets. I always try to balance the impact of short-term decisions with the board’s imperative of providing long-term vision and budget oversight.
Why should people vote for you? The last eight years have provided me an invaluable hands-on education in the complex interplay of local, state and federal education policy, laws, mandates and funding. Becoming a fully effective school board director takes time. I believe my experience in the role sets me apart. I have a passionate commitment to education and am a strong advocate of responsible stewardship of our public funds. I have been engaged with the local community, particularly the school district, since 1997 and look forward to another four years should the community choose to support my efforts.
Name: Judy Fay
Experience: Elementary school teacher in Arlington School District for 30 years. Master’s degree in Curriculum Development. Collaborated with a teaching partner to create a three-year rotation of thematic- and project-based learning instruction for 6-9 year olds. Taught swimming lessons in Arlington for nine years. Currently volunteering in my grandchildren’s classrooms, performing, “little plays with little people”. I have been an education activist all my life; studying Piaget and Montessori in college, lobbying our legislature in Olympia, negotiating on the bargaining team, and researching and implementing best teacher practices. How do you differ from your opponent? Our differences lie in our experiential background. My opponent is from a business world, I am from the world of public school educators; my father, sister, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, both other grandparents – also teachers.
Why should people vote for you rather than your opponent? As a teacher, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience about historical and current ways and approaches to educate children. I understand the importance of the arts, sports, goal setting, individualized self-paced learning, and the power of writing and math. Our multi-age learning program was chosen by the ASD school board to be presented at the National School Board Association Conference in 2003. As a grandparent volunteering in my grandchildren’s classrooms, I know how important participation is from family, teachers and community. Bryant has been my home for the past 41 years. My husband and I raised our two children here, both graduates of Arlington High School.