Margaret Feeney (R)

Stamford Board of Education

Republican,
US Head of Innovation for a local investment bank. Advisory Board member of Rutgers University’s Big Data Program, Board member of Stamford Innovation Week and Chair of the Board for Innovate Stamford.
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For me, evaluating a student's access to technology is item number one. This means looking at three things:

1) Particularly at the high school level, can we support a one-to-one student to device ratio? What is stopping us from doing so?
2) Do we have enough extra-curricular activities that expose students to various types of technologies?
3) How are we ensuring we are giving our students what they need to find a fulfilling career in technology?

The solution starts with making sure these priorities fully align with what the teachers and administrators believe are our most pressing technology issues. Second, we would need to identify and outline the gaps, and create a road map to fill those gaps. That requires a coordinated effort between the Board, students, teachers, administrators, etc. This is not an easy task and requires a multi-year effort.
The greatest strength of Stamford Public Schools is the passion the students, teachers, parents and other citizens have for the well-being of our students and Stamford in general. I've seen this over and over again and continue to be awed and inspired.

The greatest challenge, however, is channeling that energy to make tough decisions when the time comes. This includes prioritizing certain issues over others, changing the way we function as a Board, and putting the long-term interests of our students over and above what seems easy and popular in the moment. At the Board level this means changing how we listen and absorb the biggest issues of the day, and changing how we make decisions.
In relation to other city Boards, the Board of Ed should be a partner working together to achieve once mission: putting the tax payer/student/citizen first with sustainability in mind. Every decision must align to that objective versus any type of alternative agenda. Proactive communication among all is key.

In relation to city government, the Board of Ed must act with the same mission again: put the tax payer/student/citizen first with sustainability in mind. If this ever puts the Board of Ed at odds with any organization (city government or otherwise) the Board of Ed must continue to uphold their mission because it is their job to do so. That said, that strategy becomes a lot easier when the right people are gathered around the table.

In relation to tax payers, the Board of Ed must again must always put them first, but in doing so the Board of Ed must find the right balance of being a public servant (who is there to be the voice of his or her constituents), and using his or her unique experiences and skill sets to make the best long-term decisions for the tax payer. This requires trust from tax payers and hence puts an immense amount of responsibility in the hands of Board members. When voting, citizens must ensure they choose candidates that deserve that trust.