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March 07. 2014 6:35PM

Candidate surveys for Hooksett School Board

School board candidates, three for three years:

Mike Berry
Mike BerryBackground: I currently work as an outside sales representative covering most of New England from my home office. My wife, Stacie, is a real estate agent. I have three children. My oldest daughter is a freshman at Trinity High School. My middle daughter is a seventh-grader at Cawley Middle School. My son is in second grade at Underhill. I am currently on the executive board for Maine Parks and Recreation, and the Board of HYAA basketball. I have and continue to coach in our community for HYAA in baseball, soccer and basketball at various levels for the past 10 years. I am a team player with a history of working with others in a productive manner. In sales, to be successful you need to have excellent listening skills, and be an effective problem-solver. You need to be able to learn as you go, and adapt.

Reason for running: I am running because I feel the state of the board is in trouble. I could either sit back and feel frustrated, or enter the race and try to make a positive impact for Hooksett. I have two kids still in the K-8 program, and want to make sure I do everything possible so they are prepared for the next level of education. There has been a lot of time wasted at the meetings with back and forth antics, and a lack of respect for each other. I believe our School Board needs to restore its credibility and stability for the community and the children of Hooksett. We need a group of individuals that can work together as a team to focus on education.

Views on Pinkerton contract: I support the Pinkerton contract because the relationship we once had with Manchester is tarnished. Pinkerton is the only other school that can handle Hooksett’s student body. I believe our town needs to have an anchor school that values a higher level of education, as we do in the Hooksett community. I have lived through the process of asking a 13-year-old to choose and apply to many different high schools. The process was somewhat comparable to a senior in high school applying to colleges. It was stressful for both my daughter and our family. A large majority of this year’s eighth-grade class has chosen Pinkerton when given a choice.

Amy Boilard
AmyBoilardBackground: A 16-year resident of Hooksett, married with three children (two oldest graduated from Central in 2010 and 2013). Both boys chose the Navy for their career and we couldn’t be prouder. We have a daughter in seventh grade at Cawley Middle School. I am an office manager for a CPA. My previous work experience includes 15 years in educational publishing. My clients were top publishers in the K-12 industry. This experience gives me an insight into the way educational products are developed. It is the combination of both careers that gives me a unique perspective of educational product and budgets. Recently, I became a member of the Hooksett High School Assessment Committee. I am looking forward to gathering information related to the schools our high school students attend. Current and past volunteer positions include treasurer of Manchester Community Rowing, Central Crew Club treasurer, CHS Music Department fundraiser and assistant coach of HYAA boys and girls basketball and softball.

Reason for running: My goal in running for School Board is to help restore the trust and professionalism the people of Hooksett deserve and expect from their elected members. The chaos that has ensued over the past few years needs to be reversed. We need a group of people that bring a variety of experiences to the table. My experience in sales, management, budgets and scheduling will be an added value. I do my research and take information from others to form a valid decision. My personal beliefs will be checked at the door. Hooksett is very fortunate to have a wonderful K-8 school system and I am confident the high school situation will level out over the next few years.

Views on Pinkerton contract: I support all of the students from Hooksett, however, I do not support a long-term contract with Pinkerton. I will be voting “no” to Question 3. The sitting School Board spent much time, energy and resources to exit a long-term contract with Manchester and to jump into a new 10-year contract with a school we have so little experience with is a rushed decision. Hopefully, the voters of Hooksett will agree and trust that the new School Board will work together to resolve the Hooksett high school issue.

Trisha Korkosz
Trisha KorkoszBackground: I have lived in Hooksett for eight years, I moved to Hooksett in May 2006 and I am SAU 15 educated. I attended Candia schools from 1972 to 1981. I am a single mom with twin 12-year-old sons. I am currently in enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University for master’s of education, specializing in elementary and special education. I will have my degree in the fall of 2015. I have been a member of the Hooksett School Board for the last three years. I have been volunteering in the Hooksett School District for over seven years, which began in 2007. I have served in many roles within the Hooksett PTA and am currently a member of the Hooksett PTO. Before my children became school aged, I held a number of positions within the Queen City Mothers of Twins. I was an instrumental team player in passing the New Hampshire Twin Bill, which allows parental input into the placement of multiples within a classroom.

Reason for running: My reason for running is my sons have benefited immensely from the education they have received in Hooksett, and I feel serving on the Hooksett School Board is a great way to give back to a community that has given my sons and I so much educationally. This reason is the same as it was three years ago. I hope to continue forward progress in our educational programs and maintain being on the cutting edge of educational progress in our state. The business of the Hooksett School Board is policy setting and quasi judicial when necessary. I am hopeful with a board of seven that we will focus on creating a premier educational environment for our students, and the professionals who help guide our students’ academic progress. It is important that the professionals who guide them feel valued and appreciated for the hard work they do on behalf of our district.

Views on the Pinkerton contract: I support the contract with Pinkerton. I believe it is the only school that can house all of our students. I believe that we, the Hooksett School Board, with our negotiation team, negotiated the best contract we could with Pinkerton Academy. I believe that is what we are elected to do, the best we can for Hooksett and Hooksett students.Ultimately, it will be the decision of the Hooksett citizens. I did not make this decision to my support of Hooksett students attending Pinkerton Academy quickly. I am an alumni of Central High School ,and initially that is why I choose to move to Hooksett. However, Manchester finds itself with a tax cap and inability to meet state standards. I believe here in Hooksett we provide our students a very high quality education and they deserve to have that continue until they graduate from high school.

Jason Hyde
Jason HydeBackground: I have lived in Hooksett for 10 years. During those 10 years I have served as a town councilor, a Budget Committee member, Cub Master for Pack 292 and emcee for Hooksett Old Home Day. I have been married to my wonderful wife, Carrie, for 16 years and we are currently raising six children ranging from 2- to 17-years-old. I have worked for Comcast for 16 years in several different positions, including technician, supervisor of technicians and Tech Ops coach.

Reason for running: I believe that Hooksett deserves better than what it has been getting from the current board. The current board cannot seem to put their personal feelings for each other aside and behave like honorable adults for more than five minutes. They make kneejerk and often irrational decisions based solely on emotion instead of facts and research. They break their own rules whenever it suits them. The current chairman abuses her power when you disagree with her, but is perfectly willing to throw the rules out the window when you agree with her. They use “social media” to spread rumors and innuendo while sowing the seeds of discord and have the audacity to complain when people they disagree with dare to question their motives. I am running for School Board because I have the experience and vision required to move our board forward. I believe we need to introduce real competition into our public school system and I believe that we have a golden opportunity to do that now. If we vote for a 10-year contract we will squander that opportunity. If Article 3 fails, we will need people on the board so we can move forward with a new plan. If Article 3 passes, we will need objective people to hold Pinkerton accountable.

Views on Pinkerton contract: I do not support any restrictive long-term contracts with any receiving districts. I believe we have the opportunity right now to change the way we have been doing things for decades to a more modern approach that would allow true choice for our parents and students. It is going to take some work and some time to make those changes, but if we sign onto another 10-year contract, then the opportunity to do the right thing for all our students will be squandered.

James A. Sullivan
James A. SullivanBackground: Lived 47 years in Hooksett and family has been here since 1918. I’m single and employment includes manager at Puritan Backroom restaurant; J. Hancock Insurance, sixth to 12-grade at Nashua High; special education aid, longterm sub; sixth-grade and eighth-grade student teacher. Keene State College graduate, interned in Washington. Town councilor for last 8.5 years, and member of Hooksett Historical Society, Hooksett Lions Club. Previously on School Board for 12 years; Robie’s Country Store Preservation for eight years; and Recycling Committee for 10 years. Also served on Budget Committee, town and school building committees, 175th Celebration Committee, Men’s Club and Hooksett Entertainers, 2010 Citizen of Year, and 2010 MDA NH Achievement Award.

Reason for running: The situation on the board has been tenuous in the past two years as a result of well-meaning school boards, lack of experience, inability to adhere to rules and failure to work as a team in a professional and civil way. Their incapacity to fully engage the public in addressing not only the high school issue and their lack of attention on the K-8 aspect of education must be improved. My experience in education, and proven community service has provided positive results through collaboration with my fellow board members and administration. Hooksett has a lot to offer, but it’s necessary to have stability and experience on the board that can bring our town together and get our School Board back on the right track of working together without personalities deflecting from the ultimate goal of providing sound and quality education to our children.

Views on Pinkerton contract: As a member of the board, it will be my responsibility to work with my fellow members to support the wishes of the community in regards to the high school. If it succeeds, it will be the role of the board to ensure that the aspects of the contract are adhered to, that the transition is handled smoothly and that we also assist those students who have chosen other high schools. Citizens need to make an educated choice and I promise to give 100 percent and full dedication to ensure that their wishes are followed to the fullest. I have a three-point approach – one if contract is approved, one if it fails and one to renew efforts to plan for a Hooksett high.

Jack Sweeney
Jack SweeneyBackground: I have been married 20 years to Lisa. I am a territory manager for a global software company. We have four children: Jessica, 18; Nicole, 13: Ryan, 11; and Sean, 8. I bring local board-level experience as a former president of the Hooksett Hurricanes Pop Warner Football and Cheer program. As president of this board, I was required to work with a board of 10 other citizens as we worked together to advance the opportunities and competitive goals of the football and cheer programs. This experience helped me develop my ability to work with different people with different viewpoints and agendas.

Reason for running: I am running because I feel the current board has lost all semblance of credibility. The five open School Board openings need to be filled by common sense adults who can work together, through their disagreements, to advance the education opportunities of the children of Hooksett. There is very little being done by the current board that advances education, and much being done to create gotcha moments, argue lost votes, create confusion in the public, and further embarrass the town. I am running because I will help restore order, common sense, credibility and the ability to work together to progress education in Hooksett.

Views on the Pinkerton contract: While it is nice that we have short-term agreements with Pembroke, Londonderry and Bow, these agreements only allow about 68 students to attend, and that number can change at the sole discretion of those towns. There is no other school that meets our educational requirements and can take all of the students except for Pinkerton. Couple that with the fact it is a fantastic school with vast resources, and we will have board representation that increases as our enrollment does, and it is clear that Pinkerton is a great opportunity for our town. It is my feeling that the vast majority of parents in the town realize the great opportunity Pinkerton offers and will vote as such on Election Day. Offering unlimited choice, while great in theory, will not work when some schools limit the number of kids they can take.
 
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School board candidates, one for two years:

Todd Lizotte
Todd LizotteBackground: I am an engineer, inventor and entrepreneur for a multi-national corporation from Japan as the U.S. director of emerging technology and manage a research facility in Londonderry. Our two sons are within the Hooksett school system. Brent is in eighth grade and Andrew is in fourth grade. I have coached HYAA soccer, Little League baseball (still do) and served on the Budget Committee (2 yrs), Town Council (3 yrs) and various other volunteer organizations. I have the honor to serve biennially as a consultant to the United Nations Secretary General’s Office on matters dealing with reducing violence in sub-Sahara Africa; I co-chair an international conference on applied laser optics with a colleague from South Africa. I have a history of finding solutions, working with all types of organizations, of different cultures, value systems and still being creative enough to find ways to influence and persuade courses of action based on earnest data analysis and on building mutual trust.

Reason for running: I am running because I believe the current board has declined to a point where trust is non-existent and that lack of trust is slowly permeating into the citizens of the town of Hooksett. I believe we need to place on this board a group of individuals who can reverse this eroding trust as soon as possible. We need to regain that trust on the board and the public, so that it can create effective policies which are accepted by the public. I am also running because I have the ability to express ideas verbally and to listen and consider other ideas of differing perspectives. I have a dedication to accountability and my strong logic and data savvy mindset, can embrace and monitor data, even when the information is negative, and use it to drive continuous improvement on projects.

Views on Pinkerton contract: The simple answer is yes. I believe the community needs to accept the basic tenets that this is not about choice, but about a mutual belief that; 1. Students deserve a quality public education; 2. Students deserve access to the same opportunities equally; 3. That access to public education should be affordable; and 4. That the Value Proposition is upheld; that the value of taxes spent will equal the value of educational services received. When we think of public education, we all need to reconcile the idea of choice against the fact that 75 percent of taxpayers pay 80 percent of the cost of educating our kids. This is about making a decision for the good of the community, instead of the individual; we need to see the opportunity of Pinkerton from the quality of opportunity for all students; not just educationally, but in terms of stability, security and continuity past a year or two and the reduction of stress that comes with unifying a class of freshman that have come through the ranks of our school system.

Yvonne Preston
Yvonne PrestonBackground: My husband, Brian, and I moved to Hooksett in 1997 to be near his parents who have lived here since 1992, and to raise our family. For the last seven years I have worked for a pharmaceutical company as a diabetes sales specialist. We have three children; our 17-year-old daughter is currently in her junior year at Bow High School. Our middle daughter is a seventh-grade student at Cawley Middle School and our youngest is a fourth-grade student at Hooksett Memorial School. Our children have truly benefitted from the wonderful teachers and staff within the Hooksett school community and have also had wonderful positive experiences within various town sports teams.

Reason for running: I am running for School Board because I have a strong commitment to education and believe I can make a positive contribution. As a wife, mother, taxpayer and homeowner I understand that the school district contributes to making our town a desirable place to live. I understand fully that as a School Board member I will represent all of the residents of Hooksett, including those without children. I will be fiscally responsible and bring a tremendous work ethic, positivity, and a collaborative, sensible approach. I believe that these attributes that I will bring to the School Board will help to set a new path forward that will be productive and respected by the community we serve.

Views on Pinkerton contract: I support the Pinkerton contract as I feel it provides the most stability and the greatest opportunity for our high school students. Pinkerton Academy provides a wide array of academic opportunities, including programs like the on-campus CTE Program, Running Start college credit, and Summer Credit Advancement and Recovery, just to name a few. Fiscally responsible, Pinkerton Academy also provides a stable tuition model with 12 of the last 13 years issuing refunds to partner school districts. I believe the goal of the Hooksett School District is to make the best use of taxpayer funds while providing a quality education for all students. For these reasons and others, I support a ’Yes’ vote on Warrant Article 3, the Pinkerton Academy contract.
 
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School board candidates, one for one year:

Phil Denbow
Phil DenbowBackground: Delbert Philip Denbow Jr. is my full name – I prefer Phil over Delbert for obvious reasons. Who knows another Delbert? I served my country for six years in the Navy. I was a nuclear engineer on an aircraft carrier. I am currently a director of risk management for a large re-insurer and have worked at that same company for almost 25 years. My wife, Lynn, and I have been married for almost 28 years. I moved to Hooksett in 1989. My two children spent their K-8 years in Hooksett. My daughter, Christina, graduated fifth in her class from Central in 2012 and is now a sophomore on the dean’s list at Middlebury College in Vermont. My son, Zach, is a freshman at Pinkerton Academy and an honor student.

Reason for running: I decided to run to continue to work on transitioning us back to where we need to be as a board and as a community. We need to implement our high school plan/solution and put that to bed. I am a proponent of the Pinkerton agreement. Uncertainty and unlimited school choice is not a plan. Having an anchor school that provides an abundance of options and opportunities for all, a school that consistently exceeds state standards, and one that can accept all Hooksett students is a plan. Without a plan, our property values will continue to suffer, new families will not move to Hooksett, and parents and students will continue to have needless anxiety in their lives. I am forever hopeful that people will not be close-minded, that they take the time to educate themselves on the facts of Article 3, and open the door to all the opportunities that Pinkerton can provide. I have been working to educate folks about the warrant the best I can within the confines of this board. We have done absolutely nothing with K-8 for the last two years. I would like to place some much needed focus there. Even though we do a good job here in Hooksett, there is always room for improvement.

Views on the Pinkerton contract: Yes, I am a proponent of the Pinkerton agreement. Uncertainty and unlimited school choice is not a plan. Having an anchor school that provides an abundance of options and opportunities for all, a school that consistently exceeds state standards, and one that can accept all Hooksett students is a plan. Without a plan, our property values will continue to suffer, new families will not move to Hooksett, and parents and students will continue to have needless anxiety in their lives.

Joanne McHugh
Background: I have been a Hooksett resident for the past 39 years and have been actively volunteering in the Hooksett community during most of those years. My husband and I are parents to four boys who went through K-8 in Hooksett and high school at Manchester Central. Two of my grandchildren are currently students in the Hooksett schools. My background is accounting. I returned to college to get my degree once my children were all in school. Past town service includes 10 years as Underhill School PTO treasurer and programs developer; 21 years on the Hooksett School Board; two years on the Hooksett Budget Committee; three years on the Hooksett Police Commission; six years on the Hooksett Planning Board; Hooksett CIP Committee for three years and Master Plan Committee member in 2004. I was also instrumental in obtaining for the Hooksett School District land from Manchester Sand & Gravel for future use.

Reason for running: I believe that the School Board has lost it focus. From the vantage point of a spectator, it appears to be very contentious and there is a lack of decorum at the meetings. It is imperative that the board get back to meaningfully discussing and resolving the important issues surrounding the education of our children and the cost associated with that education as it affects the taxpayer. School Board members do more than vote on the issues and make policy. They set the tone and model the behavior for the entire district.  Community engagement matters and is an important factor in order to obtain a commitment from the public for education. Bringing the community into the conversation enables a broad range of ideas to come forward and an ownership in finding the best solution for the Hooksett students.



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