Erica Spencer


My name is Erica Spencer and I am running for Manchester-Essex School Committee.

I’ve lived in Manchester for over 13 years and my three sons (currently, 7th, 9th, and 11th grade) have attended our public schools since kindergarten.

Campaigning and self-promotion are well outside of my comfort zone, but I am, and always have been, an advocate for the things I value most, and education is at the top of that list.

I grew up in a tiny town in Vermont and attended Woodstock Union High School, a regional public high school similar in size and reputation to MERSD.  After graduating from Middlebury College in 1995, I launched my career at a “Big Six” public accounting firm, where I spent several years auditing large companies and earning my CPA.  I attended Boston College Law School from 1998-2001 and I’ve been a practicing attorney ever since specializing in commercial litigation and internal investigations.  

The skills I've acquired over the course of my career—specifically, financial analysis, negotiation strategy, problem resolution, and consensus-building—are critical to understanding and resolving the short- and long-term challenges faced by the School Committee today.  I’ve spent most of my career advocating for others; now I’m ready to leverage my advocacy skills on behalf of one of our greatest community resources, our public schools.

Supporting education has been a lifelong priority: I volunteered at an inner-city school for several years post-college, worked within the juvenile justice system while in law school, and helped found my sons' preschool in our Boston neighborhood as a young parent.  Naturally, when my husband and I decided to leave Boston over a decade ago, finding the right school district was our central motivation.  Ultimately, Manchester won us over.  We loved that our kids could walk to school and sports, that we could be part of the school community, and that the District was known for excellence. Singing Beach sealed the deal.

From the moment my eldest started kindergarten, I’ve been actively involved in our school system: I’ve co-chaired a successful school auction, served multiple terms on the School Council (Memorial and Middle School), co-chaired Memorial graduation events, participated in multiple school task forces and chaperoned far more frequently than my sons would have liked.  In addition to three sons in the Middle and High School, I have two nephews in kindergarten and second grade at Memorial.  

Through these personal connections to our schools, I've gleaned valuable insights—insights that have often been inspiring, but in recent times, also disheartening.  It’s been a difficult few years, (to say the least) and I'm grateful for the efforts of so many who worked tirelessly under stressful and fluid circumstances.  But I’m also troubled by the growing sense of apathy and discontent surrounding our schools.  The number of dissatisfied families—many of whom are searching for alternatives to our public schools— feels higher than ever before.

Today, thanks to unanticipated COVID challenges and longstanding budgetary woes, MERSD’s situation is particularly perilous.  When my family moved here over a decade ago, we had a thriving K-6 language program and sports fields that were safe for play.

Today, that is no longer the case.  

This year’s school budget includes meaningful cuts to critical programs that will affect most kids in our community.  The K-6 language program—which enriched my sons’ experience at Memorial, elevated their high school language readiness (important for college preparation), and instilled a global perspective that now informs their worldview—has been eliminated. Separately, the high turnover and loss of math teachers at MERHS this year alone is staggering.  Many classes, from geometry to pre-calculus, have had as many as three different teachers over the course of this year, at least one of which was an online platform.  

How can we effectively “prepare students for the diverse challenges ahead,” while eliminating key teachers and cutting language programs?

I recognize that these cuts were made in good faith with limited options on the table.  My goal, if elected, will be to use my background in finance and law to do everything I can to ensure that MERSD provides the rigorous and robust programming for which this District has long been known while maintaining fiscal responsibility.  Of this, I am certain: strong schools are not only good for students and families but likewise critical for the community at large.

I would appreciate your vote on May 17 and commit that I will work tirelessly to serve our community!