Theresa Whitman


My name is Theresa Whitman, and I am running for re-election as an Essex representative to the Manchester-Essex Regional School District (MERSD) school committee.  

I lived in Essex during kindergarten and my high school years, then returned to Essex with my husband, Mark, in 2008. We have two children, both students in MERSD schools, and love our life on the marsh.  I was elected to the school committee in the spring of 2020 just as the pandemic hit.  Before that, I served in several positions on the Essex Elementary School (EES) Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), and also served on the EES School Council.  

I am known as a resource and as someone who is willing to serve wherever I’m needed.  This has meant opportunities as varied as running the EES PTO online auction, helping out with the scarecrow fundraiser for Friends of Council on Aging, collecting hundreds of pounds of candy to distribute to our downtown neighbors, teaming up with others to bring back a beloved Santa-by-boat tradition, and, yes, serving on the MERSD School Committee, including as chairperson this year. 

Simply put, I am running for re-election because the stakes are high right now and the committee has had considerable turnover in recent years.  With serious revenue concerns, large capital projects, new administrators in key roles, and implementing a ten-year strategic plan all in play, I believe our students, the district in general, and our communities more broadly will benefit from increased consistency and stability.  

Fresh faces and new ideas are not only welcome, but critical for the health of the district; however, there is value in balance, and right now, every person serving on the committee is in our first term.  We need to balance that freshness with experience to carry forward the considerable work already underway.  The best chance for success for everyone to have their needs met -- students, families, teachers, administrators, town partners, taxpayers -- will come not only from new ideas, but also from experienced perspective.  This is why I am running for a second term. 

If re-elected, there are a few specific things I would like to accomplish.  Some of them I had hoped to bring forth when I ran in 2020, and some I have learned the importance of since; refining communication procedures, improving health and wellness education, building relationships of trust with key stakeholders, and making space for all to ask their questions come to mind. However, experience tells me that what I personally wish to bring forth may not be where my time and energy are spent, and that’s okay.  What I do know is that if re-elected, I will continue to ask and to answer hard questions, withhold judgment on a vote until I have heard all sides, keep offering “front porch meetings” to hear concerns, and balance heartfelt advocacy for students and families with the constraints of town finances. I will continue on as I always have in this role and in others: being a resource, doing whatever is needful, and serving with integrity.  

My hope is that this earns your respect and your vote.  Thank you for your consideration. 

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