Candidate for Dudley-Charlton Regional School Committee
Kenneth J. Laferriere, aged 34, is a hospital relations coordinator with New England Donor Services, and he is hoping voters will elect him to help coordinate policy for the Dudley-Charlton Regional School Committee.
The Citizen Chronicle: What prior experience do you have that makes you qualified to serve?
Kenny Laferriere: I have the unique experience of being a student of our schools and a Shepherd Hill graduate. This provides a perspective that is valuable to the school committee. Being able to understand the education I received provides valuable insight when making decisions for the future. Being an alum of our district gives me great pride because I know I received a high quality education. I want to serve our district so the children of Dudley and Charlton will continue to receive the education they so deserve. Additionally, I possess the critical thinking skills necessary to find creative ways to continue to improve our schools, staying within budget and always putting the students first.
The Citizen Chronicle: What do you think makes a good School Committee member?
Kenny Laferriere: A person that has the ability to work well with a group of people towards a common purpose and be able to share a point of view all the while listening to each other as part of the process. Even if we as a community are “satisfied” with where our education system is, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to look for ways to improve. Quality Improvement should always be a part of the process to provide an outstanding education here in Dudley and Charlton
The Citizen Chronicle: What do you see the role of the School Committee being?
Kenny Laferriere: The role of the School Committee is to provide direction to the administration, set policy and pass a budget, on behalf of the people of Dudley and Charlton. Members of the school committee also have a responsibility to manage the funds from the taxpayers wisely and ensure the focus always continues to be what is best for the students.
The Citizen Chronicle: What are the main issues in the school district that you’d like to address?
Kenny Laferriere: The number one priority will be plans for finding a replacement superintendent that is highly qualified for our community. Additionally, I’d like to work with fellow committee members and our State Representatives to ensure that we get 100% reimbursement from the state for regional transportation, as originally promised to schools that regionalized. I’d also like to continue the working relationships between the school committee and both towns’ Boards of Selectman and Finance Committees. It is essential that the lines of communication remain intact so we can all work together on what is best for our students and community. I pride myself in being someone who works to bring people together, find common ground and do it in a manner that is respectful, direct and mission focused.
The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the reputation of the school district and its leadership?
Kenny Laferriere: I am very passionate and proud of our schools. The entire faculty and staff are completely invested in our students. We have great people working in our schools and I’m proud to know all of our children will benefit from the positive culture that is DCRSD. Our district is well known and people from other communities seek to live in Dudley and Charlton — because of our amazing school system! This is definitely something we all should be proud of!
The Citizen Chronicle: Superintendent of Schools Gregg Desto is stepping down and leaving the district. What sort of characteristics and traits will you be looking for in his successor?
Kenny Laferriere: I will be looking for a person that has a focus on the students and puts their needs as the number one priority. Additionally, it will be important to find someone who has a good business sense to ensure regulations are being met, budgets adhered to and students have the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in the world.
The Citizen Chronicle: Should in-house candidates be given preference in the search for the next superintendent?
Kenny Laferriere: I believe that an applicant who is also an internal candidate should be given extra consideration, but only if all other requirements put forth by regulation and the school committee are met. I do feel strongly that an internal candidate would embody the “culture” of our district, which would be one of the characteristics that would allow for success in leading the administration to continued success.
The Citizen Chronicle: The district is receiving a financial boost after both Charlton and Dudley passed Proposition 2 1/2 overrides. What was your stance on the override vote, and why?
Kenny Laferriere: My stance on the override is that it was imperative that it passed for the continued investment in our students. I acknowledge that tax increases are never something to rely on, but, it was important that this override passed so our district will be able to provide the high quality educational needs and remain competitive. That being said, I also believe that both the school committee and administration need to continue to think creatively regarding funding and budgeting to ensure taxpayer dollars are allocated wisely. Work needs to continue with the State to revise the funding formulas so some of the pressure is removed from the individual towns budgets.
The Citizen Chronicle: What is the school district’s greatest asset?
Kenny Laferriere: Our students. The students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow and it is imperative we continue to invest in them — now and in the future.
The Citizen Chronicle: What is the school district’s greatest problem?
Kenny Laferriere: Funding. It always amazes me how much our school administration has done through the years to ensure our students get what they need and deserve. Even when difficult decisions needed to be made, the kids have always been the focus. Let’s continue to work together to “advance the knowledge and well being of our children and our community.