July 22, 2024

The Recorder – My Turn: ‘I keenly feel the importance of public education’

The Recorder – My Turn: ‘I keenly feel the importance of public education’

Hi! I’m Elizabeth DeNeeve, and I’m running for Greenfield School Committee on Nov. 2.

As you may have heard, I’m a bit of an outsider: I moved to Greenfield from California with my partner and daughter at the height of the pandemic.

And I immediately fell in love with the city. From an outsider’s perspective, Greenfield doesn’t know how wonderful it is.

When we arrived, our first and most important step was to enroll our child at the elementary school. To our dismay, we found very quickly that phone calls were not returned, emails were not answered. I began to wonder if the school even existed.

This began my journey into the active world of Greenfield parents on Facebook. They pointed me to all the right websites, helped me get enrolled, shared frustrations and acquainted me with the School Committee.

I tuned in to every School Committee meeting and very quickly learned that something felt wrong. Public comments were cut off. Important information was not on the agenda and therefore not discussed. Parents were not mentioned.

I learned that the School Committee election was an opportunity to get involved, and I jumped at the chance. I want to be part of a School Committee that sees and listens to the public, helps facilitate transparency, respects the opinions of families, and actively works to create a diverse and equitable student community.

I am running as a slate with Glenn Johnson-Mussad and Kathryn Martini because they share these priorities.

I have been a Girl Scout leader for five years and a small business owner for twenty. In both these endeavors I have had to operate within a budget, be accepting of criticism, flexible in moments of adversity, and willing to explore new avenues for financial growth. These are skills I can bring to the table.

Many residents have asked me why I don’t choice out of the district. I feel a deep civic pride being a citizen of Greenfield and I keenly feel the importance of public education. It is through the public school system that we can begin to create true equality in our communities. Having a place where students from all backgrounds study and grow together is the kind of environment that will erase class divides and bring people together. It is a long term investment.

I planned this move for many years with my husband and moving from far away is hard. You really have two choices: Become a ghost stuck between two places or pour all your love and energy into making your new town a home. That’s why I am running for School Committee. I don’t plan to be a ghost.

I hope you’ll vote for me, Glenn, and Kathryn on Nov.2. I look forward to serving the parents, students, and community members of Greenfield and to making our public schools a home for all who enter.

Elizabeth DeNeeve is a candidate for the Greenfield School Committee.