July 13, 2024

Question and Answer with Alicia MacManus, Candidate for School Committee

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Tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you lived in Seekonk?

I grew up here. I love Seekonk. I went to Aitken (when first and second grade were in the old Annex building) and the Middle School. After college I lived in Orlando, Nashville and most recently Eugene, Oregon. I moved back to Seekonk in 2022 with my husband and two kids. My daughter started kindergarten this year and I think the transition was easier for me because I knew she was in such good hands at Aitken.

What inspired you to run for School Committee?

Having a child enter the school system was obviously a catalyst. I wanted to be more involved. I was watching school committee meetings online and felt like it was time to get off the sidelines. Also, when I moved back I was surprised and a little disheartened by the negativity that feels prevalent in our town. Granted, I think most of it is contained to social media – but social media is powerful and it’s easy to feel bogged down by it. I am hoping to be a positive force and I’ll work to create a culture of collaboration and teamwork.

What specific skills and/or experiences do you have that sets you apart as a candidate for the School Committee?

I’m a family law attorney and I specialize in divorce and custody cases. (My job is never boring.) So I’m well versed in analyzing complex situations, identifying key issues and coming up with effective strategies. And while the job requires analytical thinking, there is also a very human side to what I do. I see the school committee role as quite similar. The school committee deals with issues like budgetary constraints, curriculum and policies. These can all feel abstract but it’s important to remember that the outcomes have a substantial impact on our community members.
Also, I love the challenge of working with people who have a different viewpoint than me. I think if people are open minded we can actually learn from each other and get more accomplished for our students and our schools.

If you are elected, what do you hope to accomplish as a School Committee member?

I’d like to see the School Committee commit to proactive planning for the future. I think the current situation with the HVAC system in Hurley Middle School is a great example. We are literally patching up holes as they appear with no comprehensive plan in place to address the underlying issue. And to be clear, I don’t fault the current school committee for putting this on the back burner in favor of the Aitken expansion. We needed more room for our kids. However, the current situation is draining financial resources and disrupting the students. Also, proactive planning is essential for the projected increase in student enrollment that is coming down the pipeline (no pun intended).

What is your favorite Seekonk memory?

At the dedication of the 1998 Aitken expansion I was the 6th grade student speaker. I remember my Mom buying me a sage green pantsuit from the Chadwicks catalogue to wear. I was so proud of my speech and my suit. Seventeen years later I was elected to give the Commencement address at my law school graduation and it felt like a full circle moment. Just so you know, I asked my husband if I should tell everyone at the first Aitken meet-and-greet last summer that I was the student speaker there 25 years ago and he begged me not to. I didn’t. But now look, Andy – I got it in the paper!

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