Shrewsbury candidate profiles: Sanam Zaer – School Committee

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SHREWSBURY – Shrewsbury is gearing up for its 2021 municipal elections on May 4. As voters get set to head to the polls, the Community Advocate has zeroed in on contested races for prominent bodies like Board of Selectmen and School Committee.

The Community Advocate reached out to candidates who filed paperwork to appear on their town’s ballot and asked them to submit a personal statement as well as answers to three specific questions.

See those biographies and read extended questions and answers from Shrewsbury School Committee Candidate Sanam Zaer here…

And see profiles of other candidates…

PERSONAL BIO

I live here in Shrewsbury with my husband and three children. I am running for School Committee because I have always been passionate about education. I have a Master’s degree in education, classroom experience, and have been very active in our schools as a PTO member, School Council representative, and as a parent representative on multiple committees.  As an educator, a local advocate, and as the parent of children with varying needs, I offer the School Committee a unique perspective and a direct connection to diverse communities across Shrewsbury.

QUESTIONS

What do you see as the most important issue(s) facing the Shrewsbury Public Schools today?

The most important issues facing our schools right now are the education budget crisis, the mental health of our students, and a need for increased diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Mental health and DEI are current priorities in our district, but both require targeted efforts and additional investments which are limited by our education budget crisis. Teachers and education leaders play a vital role in the lives of our children, even more so this year. It is unjust that they took pay freezes this year just to offset a budget shortfall. We owe it not just to them but also to our community at large to pass the Proposition 2.5 override on May 4th and move towards long term financial stability for Shrewsbury.

COVID-19 has uniquely impacted school systems and members of the school community. How would you approach the ongoing questions and decisions any school committee member will have to make as the vaccine rollout and school reopening process continues?

The pandemic is impacting all of us differently and exacerbating existing inequities. We need to acknowledge this as a community, and we need to resolve these inequities directly. Some children have been thriving with private tutoring and extra curricular activities, others have just been trying to survive, and everything in between. I believe both our reopening process and learning loss initiatives should begin with the most vulnerable children in the district and build up from that point. As far as vaccine rollout, I stand by the consensus of the scientific community and will continue to educate myself and stay informed as this process continues.

Is there anything else you want voters to know about you as a candidate?

Advocating for all children in our community, but particularly the most vulnerable among them, has always been a priority of mine. I am entering this race as a potential asset to our School Committee. Education as we know it is changing, and I believe my background in education, personal experiences, and community connections will be helpful in ongoing and future collaboration with district leaders and local families. I welcome you to reach out any time with questions or just to have a conversation about our schools!