Editor’s note: The Easton Courier asked candidates to submit a profile/bio and statement discussing three top issues facing Easton and how the candidate will help address them. Karen O’Brien, Democratic incumbent on the Region 9 Board of Education, submitted the following response.
Profile and Statement
I am currently a member of the Region 9 Board of Education and I have served as the Secretary for the past two years.
I am running again for the Region 9 Board of Education because I have always been an advocate for excellence in education; and I have worked hard toward that goal for the 25 years that I have lived in Easton. During my time on the board I have consistently advocated for rigorous academic standards; such as increasing the AP options and expanding our math and science curriculum. I feel that Joel Barlow High School has the potential to significantly improve our performance in our DRG, while at the same time prioritizing the well-being of our children. Additionally, we should aim to make their high school experience fun and engaging. I want our students to enjoy their four years at JBHS and to develop a true love of learning.
Having been a member of the school board for the last four years, we have dealt with some very difficult issues as well as significant staff changes. I have always worked collaboratively with my fellow board members and the administration. I fully understand the importance of listening to and respecting all points of view.
However, it’s important that we are forward thinking in making improvements, while supporting our teachers and staff, and that we don’t get bogged down in politicizing our schools.
Additionally, I am the co-founder of the Easton Learning Foundation and I have been a working board member for over 20 years. I have worked with school administrators, teachers and community members to fund many innovative programs for all the schools in Easton and at Joel Barlow High School.
I am also a board member of the Easton Garden Club, and I am delighted that there are many areas where both my passion for gardening and education coincide, (such as the creation of the new outdoor classroom/garden at SSES which was funded by ELF and supported by the expertise of the Garden Club).
Both of my children are graduates of our excellent public schools, and I appreciate the value that excellence brings to our children’s lives as well as maintaining our property values.
I hope to continue to bring a balanced and moderate yet forward-thinking approach to the Region 9 Board of Education.