Candidate profile: Patricia Spofford

Unaffiliated

*Editor’s note: Spofford was endorsed by the Prospect Democratic Town Committee.

Prospect

Board of Education

Patricia Spofford

Age: 41

Occupation: Operations Manager Verve Professional Services

Past political posts: None

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Salem State University

What should be the educational priorities of the school district?

“The educational priorities of the Region 16 school district should revolve around making sure our students are college and workforce ready. This would include technology, critical thinking skills, reasoning skills, and a positive can do attitude. The students I have encountered in work study/internships are struggling in the workplace. They have not been taught to think for themselves, they are scared to make decisions and are waiting to be told what to do. As a region we need to find ways to encourage our students to ask questions, make decisions, and learn from their mistakes.”

How do you plan to approach the next budget cycle?

“I plan to approach the 2012-13 Region 16 budget cycle as a learning opportunity. Since this will be my first experience with a budget of over $36 million my plan is to listen, learn, and ask lots of questions. It will be important to solicit ideas and communicate with the taxpayers on what they think should stay in the budget and what items they think should be cut. The taxpayer should make sure that their voice is heard during this process, and I would like to help them do that by being there representative on the BOE.”

What are your qualifications for this position?

“In 2003, I attended a class given by Waterbury Hospital called the Parent Leadership Training Institute. This class taught parents how to become advocating leaders in their communities.  A few years after that, I along with a group of caring parents formed the group Beacon Falls-Prospect Parent Power. Our goal was to help Region 16 secure land for a new elementary school in Prospect which passed referendum in 2009. I would like to formally represent Prospect on the BOE to make sure that we are getting the best for our students, and taxpayers. “

What do you feel is the most important issue affecting students today? And how would you address it?

“The most important issue affecting our students today is learning 21st century skills.  This includes teaching critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written communication, accessing and analyzing information, and lastly curiosity and imagination. These skills are crucial for success in the workplace and on the college campus. Region 16 needs to continue the work they are already doing on the above topics and continue to explore innovative ways of introducing these skills to our students. I would like to assist the board in seeking out new curriculum, and enrichment programs that ultimately will help all of our students be successful in the global workplace.”