Michelle Boleski is running for a 2 -year seat on the Hartford School Board. Her name will appear on the ballot at Town Meeting on March 7. Boleski is a former teacher who taught elementary art in public schools for ten years, 5 of those years in Hartford where she oversaw two classrooms in two schools, working with over 400 students a week.
She was president of the Fayston PTO, secretary for the Hartford Education Association and currently volunteers for local animal rescues, fostering and transporting puppies and dogs. She was awarded Vermont art educator of the year in 2005 when she was an art teacher in the Mad River Valley.
“I am running for school board because I want to serve my community,” said Boleski, who has lived in Hartford for 8 years.
“When I first came to work at Hartford School district we had a staff breakfast at the beginning of the school year. When it came time to have all the employees stand who had grown up and come back to work in Hartford, so many staff stood up, it was memorable moment. Even though I did not grow up here, I felt welcomed by the school community first and then the Hartford community later. I realized that I had found a wonderful place to call home. I am committed to this community,” Boleski said.
She is a currently the owner of Petals, a small business serving Vermont and New England. She designs florals and décor for mainly destination weddings and special events and has donated her work to a variety of charitable organizations and events in town, throughout Vermont and including the Make a Wish foundation.
“I believe all students in this community have a right to be educated. To provide every student with the education they deserve, the school board needs to have vision for the future. We are a diverse and wonderful town with unique villages. To support that vision the board needs to listen, understand, respect and be educated about the members of the community we serve,” Boleski said.
“As a property owner, I am concerned about the rising cost of education in the state of Vermont. I think that concern needs to be balanced with the needs of educating our students. I feel we must put the needs of students first. To make decisions about educating our students and navigate the changes that lie ahead, it is important to have someone on the board, who was a certified educator and understands how children learn. It is just as important to understand how teachers teach, what they teach, what it feels like to be in a classroom, how important it is to support the people who support students and to understand what educators do. I did not know how many hours’ educators put in until I worked in a school. While taking courses to be certified as an art teacher in the state of Vermont, I substitute taught. I worked in the kitchen, preschool, the office, special education, the gym, as a paraeducator and in every grade in many different elementary schools,” she added.
Boleski noted that there are many changes in education proposed for the future in Vermont and nationally. “It will be important that the board understand those changes and to anticipate how those changes will affect the district,” she said.
“I would like the school board to create a study on projected school population and create a 5- year plan that can include statistics on projected student growth. I would like to see the board proactive and work with the town and to include community members to have input on future construction projects and upgrades. I would like to see the model followed, that made the Town Hall project a success,” she said.